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J Econ Entomol. 2016 Apr;109(2):537-43.

Parasaccharibacter apium, gen. nov., sp. nov., Improves Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Resistance to Nosema.


The honey bee, Apis mellifera L., is host to a variety of microorganisms. The bacterial community that occupies the adult worker gut contains a core group of approximately seven taxa, while the hive environment contains its own distribution of bacteria that is in many ways distinct from the gut. Parasaccharibacter apium, gen. nov., sp. nov., is a hive bacterium found in food stores and in larvae, worker jelly, worker hypopharyngeal glands, and queens. Parasaccharibacter apium increases larval survival under laboratory conditions. To determine if this benefit is extended to colonies in the field, we tested if P. apium 1) survives and reproduces in supplemental pollen patty, 2) is distributed throughout the hive when added to pollen patty, 3) benefits colony health, and 4) increases the ability of bees to resist Nosema. Parasaccharibacter apium survived in supplemental diet and was readily consumed by bees. It was distributed throughout the hive under field conditions, moving from the pollen patty to hive larvae. While P. apium did not significantly increase colony brood production, food stores, or foraging rates, it did increase resistance to Nosema infection. Our data suggest that P. apium may positively impact honey bee health.

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