Species Shifts in the Honey Bee Microbiome Differ with Age and Hive Role

By Kim Kaplan
July 2, 2018

TUCSON, ARIZONA, July 2, 2018—The makeup of microbial species—the microbiome—in a honey bee queen’s gut changes slowly as she ages, while a worker bee’s microbiome changes much more rapidly, according to a new study published by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Learning the details of the honey bee gut microbiome is offering potential for a whole new set of tools for managing honey bee colonies, explained ARS microbial ecologist Kirk E. Anderson at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona.

“We established the close connection of the makeup of the honey bee microbiome with the physiology of aging and stress. Our results provide a roadmap to improving colony health through improving queen rearing, nutrition and other management practices,” he explained.

 

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