Poster Presentation 24th Annual Lorne Proteomics Symposium 2019

Early detection of honey bee malnutrition and colony collapse (#96)

Clara Castaños Sánchez de la Barquera 1 , Julia Grassl 1 , Mary Boyce 2 , Harvey Millar 1
  1. School of Molecular Science , The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia
  2. Centre for Integrative Metabolomics and Computational Biology, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia

The nutritional status of managed honey bees depends on the attention that beekeepers provide them and their hive management skills. One major issue beekeepers have to deal with, is the early detection of what is termed the "skinny bee syndrome", where bees suffer nutritionally and become so unwell that they cannot recover easily.  At this stage, the colony is unable to continue foraging and support their brood, commonly by the time this is detected it is too late for beekeeper intervention. It is essential for beekeepers to maintain their bee colonies in a healthy nutritional condition for the optimal production of honey and pollination services. The objective of this project is to identify the time point when honey bees are on a nutritional decline and determine the best nutritional management strategies to minimize the risk of productivity loss. Gas Chromatography and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS or LC-MS) analyses have become effective tools in biochemistry and biology to study the metabolism of insect systems and their regulation in disease, genetic and environmental variations. Therefore, GC-MS and LC-MS, metabolomic profiles of the bees at different time points of nutritional starvation and supplemental feeding will be compared to evaluate changes in the bee’s physiology. We are measuring variations in amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates and proteins expression, that will be correlated with hive condition measurements; such as brood quantity (counting brood cells through photos of the frames), bee noise, hive weight and humidity.