Flight performance of actively foraging honey bees is reduced by a common pathogen

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Wells, T., Wolf, S., Nicholls, E., Groll, H., Lim, K. S., Clark, S. J., Swain, J. L., Osborne, J. L. and Haughton, A. J. 2016. Flight performance of actively foraging honey bees is reduced by a common pathogen. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 8 (5), pp. 728-737.

AuthorsWells, T., Wolf, S., Nicholls, E., Groll, H., Lim, K. S., Clark, S. J., Swain, J. L., Osborne, J. L. and Haughton, A. J.
Abstract

Sudden and severe declines in honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony health in the US and Europe have been attributed, in part, to emergent microbial pathogens, however, the mechanisms behind the impact are unclear. Using roundabout flight mills, we measured the flight distance and duration of actively foraging, healthy‐looking honey bees sampled from standard colonies, before quantifying the level of infection by Nosema ceranae and Deformed Wing Virus complex (DWV) for each bee. Neither the presence nor the quantity of N. ceranae were at low, natural levels of infection had any effect on flight distance or duration, but presence of DWV reduced flight distance by two thirds and duration by one half. Quantity of DWV was shown to have a significant, but weakly positive relation with flight distance and duration, however, the low amount of variation that was accounted for suggests further investigation by dose‐response assays is required. We conclude that widespread, naturally occurring levels of infection by DWV weaken the flight ability of honey bees and high levels of within‐colony prevalence are likely to reduce efficiency and increase the cost of resource acquisition. Predictions of implications of pathogens on colony health and function should take account of sublethal effects on flight performance.

Year of Publication2016
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Journal citation8 (5), pp. 728-737
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/1758-2229.12434
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeDelivering Sustainable Systems (SS) [ISPG]
Movement and spatial ecology in agricultural landscapes
Understanding the impact of Nosema infection on the flight patterns of forager honey bees
Impact and mitigation of emergent diseases on major UK insect pollinators [2011-2012]
Impact and mitigation of emergent diseases on major UK insect pollinators [2012-2014]
Publisher's version
Copyright license
CC BY
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Jun 2016
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Jun 2016
PublisherWiley
ISSN1758-2229

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