Towards A New Understanding of Larval Disease in the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
AuthorFloyd, Amy Suzanne
honey bee larvae
in vitro rearing
AdvisorAnderson, Kirk E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEuropean honey bees (Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae)) are beneficial insects that provide essential pollination services for agriculture and ecosystems worldwide. To meet growing agricultural demand, the beekeeping industry now relies on mass colony migration to follow seasonal blooms, both natural and agricultural. Modern commercial beekeeping is faced with a variety of pathogenic and environmental stressors often confounding attempts to understand recent colony loss. European foulbrood (EFB) is a larval disease whose causative agent, Melissococcus plutonius, has received limited attention due to methodological challenges in the field and laboratory. Here we improve the experimental and informational context of larval disease with the end goal of developing an EFB management strategy. We sequenced the bacterial microbiota associated with larval disease transmission, isolated a variety of M. plutonius strains, determined their virulence against larvae in vitro, and explored the potential for probiotic treatment of EFB disease. The larval microbiota was a low diversity environment similar to honey, while worker mouthparts and stored pollen contained significantly greater bacterial diversity. Virulence of M. plutonius varied markedly by strain and inoculant concentration. In the context of EFB infection in vitro, our chosen probiotic strain did not have a significant effect on larval survival. We discuss the importance of positive controls for in vitro studies of larval microbiota and disease.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Entomology and Insect Science