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J Econ Entomol. 2018 Nov 28. doi: 10.1093/jee/toy363. [Epub ahead of print]

Textured Hive Interiors Increase Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Propolis-Hoarding Behavior.

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Hodges Honey Apiaries, Dunwoody, GA.
Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.


Numerous papers have shown that propolis contributes favorably to worker honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) immune response and colony social immunity. Moreover, resin-foraging specialists are more sensitive than pollen foragers to tactile information in the nest interior, and they respond to these stimuli by collecting more resin. In this study, we show that in-hive propolis deposition is increased, compared with nonmodified controls, with any one of the three methods for increasing textural complexity of hive wall interior surfaces: 1) plastic propolis trap material stapled to wall interior, 2) parallel saw kerfs cut into wall interior, or 3) roughening wall interior with a mechanized wire brush. Pairwise comparisons showed that propolis deposition was not significantly different among the three textural treatments; however, textural treatments interacted with time to show a more consistent benefit from plastic propolis trap material or roughened interior surface over saw kerfs. Although direct health benefits were not measured, this work shows that it is comparatively simple to increase propolis deposition above background levels by increasing textural stimuli in hive interiors.


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