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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVE NUTRITION FOR HONEY BEE COLONIES TO STIMULATE POPULATION GROWTH, INCREASE QUEEN QUALITY, AND REDUCE THE IMPACT OF VARROA MITES Title: The Effect of Diet on Protein Concentration, Hypopharyngeal Gland Development and Virus Load in Worker Honey ees (Apis mellifera L.)

Authors
item Degrandi-Hoffman, Gloria
item Chen, Yanping
item Huang, Eden
item Huang, Ming -

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 18, 2010
Publication Date: May 20, 2010
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/44015
Citation: Hoffman, G.D., Chen, Y., Huang, E., Huang, M.H. 2010. The effect of diet on protein concentration, hypopharyngeal gland development and virus load in worker honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Journal of Insect Physiology, 56:1184-1191. doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.03.017

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees rely on pollen as a source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. When pollen is not available, beekeepers often feed protein supplements. Determining the mechanisms by which honey bees process pollen vs. protein supplements are important in developing and testing the nutritional value of artificial diets. We measured the effects of diet on protein concentration, hypopharyngeal gland development and virus titers in worker honey bees fed either pollen, a protein supplement (MegaBee), or a protein-free diet of sugar syrup. Workers consumed more pollen than protein supplement, but protein amounts and size of hypopharyngeal gland acini did not differ between the two feeding treatments. Bees fed sugar syrup alone had lower protein concentrations and smaller phpopharyngeal glands compared with the other feeding treatments especially as the bees aged. Deformed wing virus was detected in workers at the start of a trial. Virus concentrations were highest in bees fed sugar syrup and lowest in those fed pollen. Overall results suggest a connection between diet, protein levels and immune response.

Technical Abstract: Elucidating the mechanisms by which honey bees process pollen vs. protein supplements are important in the generation of artificial diets needed to sustain managed honey bees. We measured the effects of diet on protein concentration, hypopharyngeal gland development and virus titers in worker honey bees fed either pollen, a protein supplement (MegaBee), or a protein-free diet of sugar syrup. Workers consumed more pollen than protein supplement, but protein amounts and size of hypopharyngeal glands compared with the other feeding treatments especially as the bees aged. Deformed wing virus was detected in workers at the start of a trial. Virus concentrations were highest in bees fed sugar syrup and lowest in those fed pollen. Overall results suggest a connection between diet, protein levels and immune response.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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