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Al Toufailia, Hasan.pdf (5.73 MB)

Integrated control of honey bee diseases in apiculture

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posted on 2023-06-09, 02:12 authored by Hasan Al Toufailia
The honey bee, Apis mellifera, is important both ecologically and economically. Pests and diseases are arguably the greatest current challenge faced by honey bees and beekeeping. This PhD thesis is focused on honey bee disease control including natural resistance by means of hygienic behaviour. It contains eleven independent experiments, ten on honey bee pests and diseases and their control and resistance, and one on stingless bees. Each is written as a separate chapter, Chapters 4 and 14 of this thesis. Chapter 4: How effective is Apistan® at killing varroa? This shows that Apistan is not very effective at killing varroa, presumably because of resistance. It also shows that a single Apistan treatment resulted in the next treatment being significantly less effective, indicating strong selection for resistance. Chapter 5: Towards integrated control of varroa: comparing application methods and doses of oxalic acid on the mortality of phoretic Varroa destructor mites and their honey bee hosts. This shows that oxalic acid can be highly effective at killing varroa mites under beekeeping conditions in broodless hives in winter. However, varroa mortality is affected by application method and dose. In addition, bee and colony mortality and colony performance are also affected by application method and dose. The results of this chapter shows that sublimation is the best method, in that it gives greater varroa mortality at lower doses, and results in no harm to the colonies. In fact, colonies treated via sublimation had significantly more brood in spring that controls, and lower winter mortality, although this difference was not significant. Chapter 6: Towards integrated control of varroa: varroa mortality from treating broodless winter colonies twice with oxalic acid via sublimation. This shows that two treatments of 2.25 g oxalic acid via sublimation at an interval of 2 weeks in broodless honey bee colonies in winter result in greater varroa mortality than a single treatment, 99.6% vs. 97%. Making a second oxalic acid treatment was not harmful as the performance (frames of brood, queen and colony survival) of the twice-treated colonies over the next 4 months was not significantly different to the once-treated control colonies. Chapter 7: Towards integrated control of varroa: Efficacy of early spring trapping in drone brood. This indicates that trapping in drone brood in spring is probably not sufficiently effective to be able to control varroa populations on its own. It shows that trapping varroa in capped drone cells in early spring is not highly effective at controlling varroa. The first and second test frames of drone foundation removed 44% and 48% of the varroa, respectively. Chapter 8: Towards integrated control of varroa: Monitoring honey bee brood rearing in winter and the proportion of varroa in small patches of sealed cells. This shows that December is the month with the least brood. However, winter reduction in brood rearing varied among years and even in December some colonies still had sealed brood. Although the amounts of sealed brood were low, even a small patch of c. 500-600 sealed cells could contain 14% of the varroa in a colony. This will halve the duration of control provided by an oxalic acid treatment. Chapter 9: Towards integrated control of varroa: effect of variation in hygienic behaviour among honey bee colonies on mite population increase and deformed wing virus incidence. This shows clearly that hygienic behaviour reduces the one-year population growth of varroa in honey bee colonies by more than 50% and reduces the levels of deformed wing virus by more than 1000 times. Chapter 10: Hygienic behaviour saves the lives of honey bee colonies. This shows that hygienic behaviour saves the lives of honey bee colonies with shrivelled wings, a visible symptom of deformed wing virus that is considered a predictor of colony death. Over one year, only 2 of 11 colonies requeened with a non-hygienic queen survived, versus 13 of 15 requeened with a hygienic queen. Chapter 11: Hygienic behaviour by non-hygienic honey bee colonies: all colonies remove dead brood from open cells. This shows that all honey bee colonies are highly hygienic in response to dead or diseased brood in open cells. All larvae killed by freezing with liquid nitrogen and larvae with chalkbrood disease were removed. This was true even for colonies with low levels of removal of dead brood from sealed cells, which would be considered as non-hygienic colonies. Chapter 12: Removal of larvae infected by different strains of chalk brood and other fungi by hygienic and non-hygienic bee colonies. This shows that hygienic and non-hygienic honey bee colonies are highly hygienic in response to diseased larvae killed with different strains of fungus in open cells. Chapter 13: Hygienic behaviour in Brazilian stingless bees. This shows that the three stingless bee species studied (Melipona scutellaris, Scaptotrigona depilis, Tetragonisca angustula) all have high levels of hygienic behaviour, quantified as the removal of freeze-killed brood, in comparison to the honey bee Apis mellifera. In S. depilis there was considerable variation in hygienic behaviour among colonies, and hygienic colonies removed more brood affected by a naturally-occurring disease which we discovered and for which the causative agent remains to be identified. Chapter 14: First record of small hive beetle, Aethina tumida Murray, in South America. This reports the discovery of adult small hive beetles, Aethina tumida, in honey bee, Apis mellifera, hives in an apiary in Brazil, in March 2015. This is the first record for South America of this honey bee pest.


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