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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Managing Diseases and Pests of Honey Bees to Improve Queen and Colony Health Title: International standardization of cage designs and feeding regimes for honey bee in vitro experiments

Authors
item Huang, Shaokang -
item Csaki, Thamas -
item Double, Vincent -
item Dussaubat, Claudia -
item Evans, Jay
item Gajda, Anna -
item Gregorc, Alex -
item Hamilton, Michele
item Kamler, Martin -
item Lecocq, Antoine -
item Muz, Mustafa -
item Neumann, Peter -
item Ozkirim, Asli -
item Schiesser, Aygun -
item Sohr, Alex
item Tanner, Gina -
item Tozkar, Cansu Ozge -
item Williams, Geoffrey -
item Wu, Lyman
item Zheng, Huoqing -
item Chen, Yanping

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 13, 2013
Publication Date: February 7, 2014
Citation: Huang, S., Csaki, T., Double, V., Dussaubat, C., Evans, J.D., Gajda, A.M., Gregorc, A., Hamilton, M.C., Kamler, M., Lecocq, A., Muz, M.N., Neumann, P., Ozkirim, A., Schiesser, A., Sohr, A.R., Tanner, G., Tozkar, C., Williams, G.R., Wu, L., Zheng, H., Chen, Y. 2014. International standardization of cage designs and feeding regimes for honey bee in vitro experiments. Journal of Economic Entomology. 107(1):54-62.

Interpretive Summary: One key element for maintenance of bees under controlled laboratory experiments is the development of a containment system that mimics field colony conditions as close as possible. During recent decades numerous methods for caging honey bees have emerged. However, these cages which differ in shape and size as well as their building material represent a source of variation in experimental results, necessitating an awareness of standardization of the methods in order to yield reproducible results between laboratories. COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes) is an international research network with partners from over 60 countries that work together to develop internationally recognized methods in honey bee. In the present study, we experimentally evaluated the impact of different cages, developed by scientists from COLOSS network on the physiology and survival of honey bees. We develop an optimized cage system by embracing all benefits of available designs and by optimizing food supplement in the hope of establishing a reference method for standardization of honey bee rearing in hoarding cages. This international collaborative study represents a very critical step towards improvement and development of standard methods in honey bee research.

Technical Abstract: The aim of this study was to improve and standardize cage systems for maintaining adult honey bee workers under in vitro laboratory conditions. To achieve this goal, we experimentally evaluated the impact of different cages, developed by scientists of the international research network COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes), on the physiology and survival of honey bees. We identified three cages that provided higher levels of physiological well-being of honey bees. The bees from cages that exhibited high levels of survivorship had relatively lower titers of DWV, suggesting that DWV is a significant marker reflecting stress level and health status of the host. We also determined that a leaking-and- dripping-proof feeder was an integral part of a cage system and a feeder modified from a 20 ml plastic syringe displayed the best result in providing steady food supply to bees. Finally, we also demonstrated that the addition of protein to the bees’ diet could significantly increase the level of vitellogenin (Vg) gene expression and improve bees’ survival. This international collaborative study represents a critical step towards improvement and development of standard methods in Apis mellifera research and could have important implications for improving care of adult honey bees for future laboratory experiments.

Last Modified: 12/28/2014
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