honey bee; pollination; host specificity; hygienic behaviour; Varroa destructor; colony losses; Apis mellifera; tolerance; host-parasite relationship; colony losses; Apis cerana; Varroa jacobsoni; chemical communication; volatiles
Zheguang Lin, Page Paul, Li Li, Yao Qin, Yin Yin Zhang, Hu Fuliang, Peter Neumann, Huoqing Zheng, Vincent Dietemann (2016), Go East for Better Honey Bee Health: Apis cerana Is Faster at Hygienic Behavior than A. mellifera, in PLoS One
, 11(9), e0162647.
Page Paul, Lin Zheguang, Buawangpong Ninat, Zheng Huoqing, Hu Fuliang, Neumann Peter, Chantawannakul Panuwan, Dietemann Vincent (2016), Social apoptosis in honey bee superorganisms, in Scientific Reports
, 6, 27210.
In a world of global trade, the opportunity for host shifts are numerous given the translocation of many parasitic species. This is especially true for the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, which has been introduced in most suitable habitats throughout the world for the exploitation of its products or for the service it delivers towards crop pollination. Such translocations give us opportunities to study and understand the establishment of new parasite-host relationships, but often have dramatic economic and ecological consequences. Certainly, the most damaging host shift for honeybees is that of the Asian mite, Varroa destructor, which is responsible for a large proportion of the colony losses experienced in the last decades. Despite numerous studies, no sustainable control method against the mite has been developed to this date. This is primarily due to the lack of knowledge of the interactions between the parasite and its original host Apis cerana. As a consequence, our understanding of the host specificity of Varroa spp. and of tolerance to the parasite by the honeybees is very restricted. With this project, our goals are 1) to identify the mechanisms determining host specificity of Varroa spp. mites, and 2) to better understand the tolerance mechanisms of the host against Varroa spp. In particular, we will investigate the link between high individual susceptibility to infestation and colony tolerance. This latter aspect constitutes a conceptual change in our perception of tolerance towards mite infestations. The results will not only be significant for ecologists and evolutionary biologists interested in host/parasite relationships, but might also have an impact on food security and pollination services in natural ecosystems.