Project

Back to overview

Long live the colony: understanding host specificity and tolerance in the honeybee / Varroa spp. system

English title Long live the colony: understanding host specificity and tolerance in the honeybee / Varroa spp. system
Applicant Dietemann Vincent
Number 147363
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Nutztiere & Milchwirtschaft (ALP)
Institution of higher education Research Institutes Agroscope - AGS
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.04.2013 - 30.04.2016
Approved amount 343'960.00
Show all

All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Ecology
Molecular Biology
Animal Breeding
Zoology

Keywords (14)

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

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
De par son utilité, l’abeille mellifère européenne a été exportée vers toutes les régions du monde. Lorsque qu’elle a été mise en contact avec son homologue asiatique, leur parasite Varroa destructor, s’est répandu dans les colonies de ce nouvel hôte. Cet acarien figure parmi les principaux responsables des pertes de colonies recensées actuellement. De tels changements d’hôte, aux conséquences dramatiques, donnent cependant la possibilité d'étudier l’évolution des relations hôte-parasite.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

 La relation entre le parasite et son hôte original, l’abeille asiatique, a été peu étudiée. Notre objectif est de combler cette lacune pour identifier les mécanismes qui permettent au parasite d’utiliser un nouvel hôte ou non et de mieux comprendre comment s’établit un équilibre durable entre parasite et hôte, qui garantit la survie de ce dernier. En particulier, nous étudierons le lien entre la susceptibilité des individus à l'infestation et la tolérance au niveau de la colonie. Cet aspect constitue un changement conceptuel dans la perception de la tolérance des parasites par leur hôte.

 Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

 Notre projet générera des résultats importants non seulement pour les écologistes et les biologistes évolutifs qui s’intéressent aux relations hôte-parasite, mais pourrait également avoir un impact sur l’apiculture et la manière de traiter les colonies contre Varroa destructor ou encore de sélectionner des comportements de tolérance au parasite chez l’abeille européenne. Sur le long terme, nos résultats pourraient contribuer à garantir le service de pollinisation dans les cultures et les écosystèmes naturels et influencer la sécurité alimentaire de façon positive et durable.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 11.04.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Go East for Better Honey Bee Health: Apis cerana Is Faster at Hygienic Behavior than A. mellifera
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.
Social apoptosis in honey bee superorganisms
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.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Department of Biology / Chiang Mai University Thailand (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
College of Animal Sciences / University of Zhejiang China (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Veterinary Public Health Institute seminar, University of Bern, Switzerland Individual talk Social apoptosis in honey bee superorganisms: a defense mechanism against Varroa destructor? 07.06.2016 Berne, Switzerland Page Paul;
Social Life & Evolutionary Genetics, DEE, UNIL Individual talk Social apoptosis in honey bee superorganisms: a defense mechanism against Varroa destructor? 27.05.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland Page Paul;
44th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress Talk given at a conference Host-Parasite Specificity in the Varroa-Apis Complex in Asia 15.09.2015 Daejon, Korean Republic (South Korea) Neumann Peter; Page Paul;
15th Congress for the European Society for Evolutionary Biology Poster Host-Parasite Specificity in the Varroa-Apis Complex in Asia 10.08.2015 Lausanne, Switzerland Page Paul;
European Association for Bee Research (EURBEE) Sixth Congress Talk given at a conference Host specificity in the Varroa spp. – Apis cerana system 09.09.2014 Murcia, Spain Page Paul; Dietemann Vincent; Neumann Peter;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Foire du Valais Talk 03.10.2015 Martigny, Switzerland Page Paul;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Weak bees make strong colonies Communiqué de presse German-speaking Switzerland International Western Switzerland 2016

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
141006 Colony losses: the impact of endosymbionts on virulence and transmission of mite-associated honeybee viruses 01.04.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

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.
-