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Sample records for alfalfa leafcutting bees

  1. Fungicide tests on adult alfalfa leafcutting bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Huntzinger, C I; James, R R; Bosch, J; Kemp, W P

    2008-08-01

    Chalkbrood is a serious disease of alfalfa leafcutting bee Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) larvae, causing upward of 20% infection in the field. The causative agent is the fungus Ascosphaera aggregata. This bee is used extensively for alfalfa seed pollination in the United States. Using laboratory bioassays, we previously demonstrated that fungicides can reduce chalkbrood levels in the larvae. Here, we evaluate the toxicity of four fungicides, Benlate, Captan, Orbit, and Rovral, to adult bees by using three different bioassays. In the first test, fungicides were applied to bees' thoraces. In the second test, mimicking foliage residue, a piece of filter paper soaked in fungicide was placed on the bottom of a container of bees. The third test evaluated oral toxicity by incorporating fungicides into a sugar-water solution that was fed to the bees. The filter paper test did not discriminate among the fungicides well, and the oral test resulted in the greatest mortality. Toxicity to males was greater than to females. The use of fungicides for chalkbrood control is a logical choice, but caution should be used in how they are applied in the presence of bees. PMID:18767714

  2. Health status of alfalfa leafcutting bee larvae (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in United States alfalfa seed fields.

    PubMed

    James, R R; Pitts-Singer, T L

    2013-12-01

    We conducted a broad geographic survey in the northwestern United States to quantify production losses in the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata (F.), Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), a solitary pollinator used extensively in alfalfa seed production. Viable larvae were found in only 47.1% of the nest cells collected at the end of the season. Most of the rest of the cells contained pollen balls (typified by a provision but no larva; 16.7%), unknown causes of mortality (15.5%), or larvae killed by chalkbrood (8.0%). Prevalence of pollen balls was correlated positively with bee release rates and negatively with alfalfa stand age. The unknown mortality was correlated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Plant Hardiness Zone, and thus, some of the mortality may be caused by high temperature extremes, although the nesting season degree-days were not correlated with this mortality. Chalkbrood prevalence was correlated with possible nesting-resource or crowding-related factors, such as the number of bees released per hectare and the number of shelters used, but not with nesting board disinfection practices. Vapona is used to control parasitoids when the parent bees are incubated before release, and use of this fumigant was associated with an increase in both chalkbrood and diapausing offspring, although any reason for these correlations are unknown. This survey quantifies the variation in the quality of alfalfa leafcutting bee cocoons produced across much of the U.S. alfalfa seed production area.

  3. Health status of alfalfa leafcutting bee larvae (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in United States alfalfa seed fields.

    PubMed

    James, R R; Pitts-Singer, T L

    2013-12-01

    We conducted a broad geographic survey in the northwestern United States to quantify production losses in the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata (F.), Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), a solitary pollinator used extensively in alfalfa seed production. Viable larvae were found in only 47.1% of the nest cells collected at the end of the season. Most of the rest of the cells contained pollen balls (typified by a provision but no larva; 16.7%), unknown causes of mortality (15.5%), or larvae killed by chalkbrood (8.0%). Prevalence of pollen balls was correlated positively with bee release rates and negatively with alfalfa stand age. The unknown mortality was correlated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Plant Hardiness Zone, and thus, some of the mortality may be caused by high temperature extremes, although the nesting season degree-days were not correlated with this mortality. Chalkbrood prevalence was correlated with possible nesting-resource or crowding-related factors, such as the number of bees released per hectare and the number of shelters used, but not with nesting board disinfection practices. Vapona is used to control parasitoids when the parent bees are incubated before release, and use of this fumigant was associated with an increase in both chalkbrood and diapausing offspring, although any reason for these correlations are unknown. This survey quantifies the variation in the quality of alfalfa leafcutting bee cocoons produced across much of the U.S. alfalfa seed production area. PMID:24128927

  4. Low temperature stress during pupal development and its effects on adult performance in alfalfa leafcutting bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Megachile rotundata, commonly known as the alfalfa leafcutting bee, is a key alternative pollinator. Farmers store pupal M. rotundata over the winter inside a 6°C incubator and then place the pupal bees into incubators at 29°C to initiate adult development. Their goal is to time adult bee emergenc...

  5. Critical PO2 of developing Megachile rotundata, the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee. Juvenile bees develop inside brood cells constructed out of leaf pieces. During development inside the brood cell, pre-pupae may experience hypoxic conditions from both the cavity nesting behavior and brood cell ...

  6. The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata: the world's most intensively managed solitary bee.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L; Cane, James H

    2011-01-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee (ALCB), Megachile rotundata F. (Megachildae), was accidentally introduced into the United States by the 1940s. Nest management of this Eurasian nonsocial pollinator transformed the alfalfa seed industry in North America, tripling seed production. The most common ALCB management practice is the loose cell system, in which cocooned bees are removed from nesting cavities for cleaning and storage. Traits of ALCBs that favored their commercialization include gregarious nesting; use of leaves for lining nests; ready acceptance of affordable, mass-produced nesting materials; alfalfa pollination efficacy; and emergence synchrony with alfalfa bloom. The ALCB became a commercial success because much of its natural history was understood, targeted research was pursued, and producer ingenuity was encouraged. The ALCB presents a model system for commercializing other solitary bees and for advancing new testable hypotheses in diverse biological disciplines. PMID:20809804

  7. Temperature stress affects the expression of immune response genes in the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata) is affected by a fungal disease called chalkbrood. In several species of bees, chalkbrood is more likely to occur in larvae kept at 25-30 C than at 35 C. We found that both high and low temperature stress increased the expression of immune response g...

  8. The genetic components of extended life expectancy in chilled, post-diapause quiescent Alfalfa Leafcutting Bees, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, a solitary bee native to Eurasia, is the world’s most intensively managed solitary bee and has become the primary pollinator for alfalfa seed production. These bees, when commercially managed, are overwintered as diapausing prepupae under static ther...

  9. Variation in alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, reproductive success according to location of nests in U.S. commercial domiciles

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata F., is used extensively to pollinate alfalfa for seed production in western North America. However, it usually is not possible to sustain bee populations in the United States. Variable microenvironments are experienced by developing alfalfa leafcutt...

  10. Flight metabolic rate as an expression of quality in temperature stressed alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee,Megachile rotundata F.(Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)is a solitary species that develops inside a maternally constructed brood cell. Pre-pupal M. rotundata diapause over winter and resume development as ambient temperatures increase. Environmental cues are known to initiate b...

  11. Transcriptional regulation of temperature stress response during development in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Insects can be significantly affected by temperature induced stress. While evidence of the physiological consequences of temperature stress is growing, very little is known about how insects respond at the genetic level to these stressors. The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, an emergin...

  12. Emergence success and sex ratio of commercial alfalfa leafcutting bees from the United States and Canada.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L; James, Rosalind R

    2005-12-01

    Samples of overwintering alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), cells were sent to the laboratory as loose cells or in nesting boards from bee managers in the United States and in Canada. X-radiographs of cells were used for determining cell contents. Cells containing live prepupae were incubated, and the sex of emerging adults was recorded daily. Cells from which no adult emerged were dissected to determine the developmental stage of dead bees and sex of dead pupae or adults. Bee cells incubated in commercial settings and placed in alfalfa fields by the same bee managers described above also were evaluated to determine adult emergence success. The proportion of live bees in wood nesting boards from the United States was much lower than the live proportion in polystyrene nesting boards from Canada and loose cells overwintered in the United States. For laboratory-incubated loose cells, survival and sex ratios of bees from Canadian sources were statistically higher than those of U.S. bees, but the onset and duration of emergence times were similar. Fewer bees survived in the commercial setting than in the laboratory. Prepupal mortality was significantly higher than pupal or adult mortality, but there was no significant difference between the sexes in the likelihood of survival during incubation. This study supports the commonly held belief that alfalfa leafcutting bees raised in Canada and then sold to the United States represent a more viable source of bees than most bees produced in the United States. PMID:16539094

  13. Variation in alfalfa leafcutting bee (hymenoptera: megachilidae) reproductive success according to location of nests in United States commercial domiciles.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Low, medium, and high stocking densities of Megachile rotundata, the alfalfa leafcutting bee, were released over four years in three research plots of Utah alfalfa planted at seed-production rates. A low number of bees (46-79% of released) survived the incubation and field emergence processes, and ...

  14. Chalkbrood transmission in the alfalfa leafcutting bee: the impact of disinfecting bee cocoons in loose cell management systems.

    PubMed

    James, R R

    2011-08-01

    Understanding pathogen transmission could illuminate new methods for disease prevention. A case in point is chalkbrood in the alfalfa leafcutting bee [Megachile rotundata (F.)]. Propagation of this solitary bee is severely hampered by chalkbrood, a larval disease caused by Ascosphaera aggregata (Ascomycota). Alfalfa leafcutting bees nest in existing cavities in wood or hollow reeds and overwinter as larvae. In the early summer, emerging adults frequently must chew through dead, diseased siblings that block their exit, becoming contaminated with chalkbrood spores in the process. When alfalfa leafcutting bees are used as a commercial pollinator, the cocoons are removed from nesting boards to reduce chalkbrood transmission, but the disease is still common. To determine if these removed cocoons (called loose cells) are an important source of disease transmission, they were disinfected with a fungicide before bees were incubated, and released in the field. Chalkbrood prevalence among the progeny of the treated bees was reduced up to 50% in one field trial, but not significantly when tested in an on-farm trial. Thus, substantial disease transmission still occurred when the loose cells were disinfected, and even when clean nesting materials were used. In conclusion, pathogen transmission must still be occurring from another source that has yet to be identified. Another possible source of transmission could arise from bees that emerge midsummer in populations with a high percent of multivoltinism, but dirty nesting boards and feral bees also may be minor sources of transmission. PMID:22251678

  15. Changes in respiratory structure and function during post-diapause development in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Megachile rotundata, the alfalfa leafcutting bee, is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee. M. rotundata develop from eggs laid inside brood cells constructed from leaf pieces and placed in series in an existing cavity. Due to the cavity nesting behavior of M. rotundata, developing bees may experience hyp...

  16. Laboratory Bioassays to Evaluate Fungicides for Chalkbrood Control in Larvae of the Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee, Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Chalkbrood, a fungal disease caused by Ascosphaera aggregata, is a major mortality factor in populations of the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata) used in commercial alfalfa seed production. Four formulated fungicides, Benlate®, Captan®, Orbit™, and Rovral®, were tested in the laboratory...

  17. Genes related to immunity, as expressed in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, during pathogen challenge.

    PubMed

    Xu, J; James, R

    2009-11-01

    Virtually nothing is known about disease resistance in solitary bees, so expressed sequence tag (EST) databases were developed to search for immune response genes in the alfalfa leafcutting bee. We identified 104 putative immunity-related genes from both healthy and pathogen-challenged bee larvae, and 12 more genes using PCR amplification. The genes identified coded for proteins with a wide variety of innate immune response functions, including pathogen recognition, phagocytosis, the prophenoloxidase cascade, melanization, coagulation and several signalling pathways. Some immune response genes were highly conserved with honey bee genes, and more distantly related to other insects. The data presented provides the first analysis of immune function in a solitary bee and provides a foundation for the further analysis of gene expression patterns in bees. PMID:19863668

  18. Extended hypoxia in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, increases survival but causes sub-lethal effects

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Many insects are tolerant of hypoxic conditions, but it is unknown whether survival under hypoxia comes at any cost to long-term health. The alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is a solitary cavity-nesting bee. Because juvenile M. rotundata develop in brood cells inside cavities, they may...

  19. The effect of post-diapause development on respiratory function in the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Megachile rotundata, the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee. M. rotundata develop inside brood cells constructed from leaf pieces and sealed with the female’s saliva. During development, M. rotundata may experience hypoxic conditions from the cavity in which they reside; oxy...

  20. Effects of the Insect Growth Regulator, Novaluron on Immature Alfalfa Leafcutting Bees, Megachile rotundata

    PubMed Central

    Hodgson, Erin W.; Pitts-Singer, Theresa L.; Barbour, James D.

    2011-01-01

    Alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata F. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), are the most common pollinators of alfalfa in the Pacific Northwest. Reports from users of M. rotundata in Idaho, Utah and Colorado have indicated exceptionally poor bee return from fields treated with novaluron to control Lygus spp. Our goal was to evaluate novaluron toxicity to immature M. rotundata using two different possible mechanisms of exposure. One goal was to assess immature mortality via treating nectar-pollen provisions and adults with novaluron. Immature M. rotundata mortality in all novaluron provision dosing treatments was significantly higher than the water or blank controls, providing evidence that novaluron is toxic to progeny in nest cells. The mean cumulative frequency showed that more eggs and 1st–2nd instars died compared to older instars. Female M. rotundata nested similarly in field cages during the field cage experiment; however, there was greater immature mortality in cages where females were fed sugar-water + novaluron compared to sugar-water only. Although females provided adequate provisions, there was a low percentage of egg hatch and larval development when females ingested novaluron before mating and nesting. Novaluron was also present in egg provision of bees collecting resources from novaluron-sprayed plants. At least 84% of progeny died when the females were allowed to mate and nest 24 hours after a novaluron application. Novaluron could be contributing to poor bee return in alfalfa grown for seed. Timely insecticide applications to suppress Lygus spp. is an important consideration to improve ongoing bee health. PMID:21539417

  1. Effects of the insect growth regulator, novaluron on immature alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Hodgson, Erin W; Pitts-Singer, Theresa L; Barbour, James D

    2011-01-01

    Alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata F. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), are the most common pollinators of alfalfa in the Pacific Northwest. Reports from users of M. rotundata in Idaho, Utah and Colorado have indicated exceptionally poor bee return from fields treated with novaluron to control Lygus spp. Our goal was to evaluate novaluron toxicity to immature M. rotundata using two different possible mechanisms of exposure. One goal was to assess immature mortality via treating nectar-pollen provisions and adults with novaluron. Immature M. rotundata mortality in all novaluron provision dosing treatments was significantly higher than the water or blank controls, providing evidence that novaluron is toxic to progeny in nest cells. The mean cumulative frequency showed that more eggs and 1st-2nd instars died compared to older instars. Female M. rotundata nested similarly in field cages during the field cage experiment; however, there was greater immature mortality in cages where females were fed sugar-water + novaluron compared to sugar-water only. Although females provided adequate provisions, there was a low percentage of egg hatch and larval development when females ingested novaluron before mating and nesting. Novaluron was also present in egg provision of bees collecting resources from novaluron-sprayed plants. At least 84% of progeny died when the females were allowed to mate and nest 24 hours after a novaluron application. Novaluron could be contributing to poor bee return in alfalfa grown for seed. Timely insecticide applications to suppress Lygus spp. is an important consideration to improve ongoing bee health. PMID:21539417

  2. Thermoperiodism Synchronizes Emergence in the Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Yocum, George D; Rinehart, Joseph P; Yocum, Ian S; Kemp, William P; Greenlee, Kendra J

    2016-02-01

    Alfalfa seed production in the northwestern United States and western Canada is heavily dependent upon the pollinating services of Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). M. rotundata females nest in cavities either naturally occurring or in artificial nesting blocks. Because of the physical nature of the nest, M. rotundata brood may have limited to no exposure to photoperiodic cues in order to regulate important circadian functions. Therefore, various thermoperiod regimes were used to characterize the possible role of thermoperiodism in synchronizing M. rotundata adult emergence. Adult emergence was monitored using a microprocessor-controlled event logger. Incubating bees under constant 29°C and darkness resulted in an arhythmic adult emergence pattern. Exposing developing M. rotundata to a thermoperiod synchronized emergence to the beginning of the thermophase and decreased the total number of days required for all adults to emerge. The amplitude of the thermoperiod regulated the timing of peak emergence in relationship to the increase in temperature. A thermoperiod amplitude of only 2°C was sufficient to synchronize peak adult emergence to take place during the rise in temperature. Increasing the amplitude of the thermoperiod to 4 or 8°C caused a positively correlated shift in peak emergence to later in the thermophase. Brood stored under constant 29°C and darkness for different durations (May or June early in the growing season or July or August late in the growing season) or under a fluctuating thermal regime (base temperature of 6°C and daily 1-h pulse of 20°C until September or November) maintained their capacity for entraining emergence timing by thermoperiodism. PMID:26385932

  3. Thermoperiodism synchronizes emergence in the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa seed production in the northwestern United States and western Canada is heavily dependent upon the pollinating services of M. rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Megachile rotundata females nest in cavities either naturally occurring or in artificial nesting blocks. Because of the ph...

  4. Intended release and actual retention of alfalfa leafcutting bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) for pollination in commercial alfalfa seed fields.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2013-04-01

    Low, medium, and high stocking densities (15,000; 30,000; and 45,000-50,000 bees per acre, respectively) of Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), the alfalfa leafcutting bee, were released over 4 yr in three research plots of Utah alfalfa, Medicago sativa L. (Fabaceae), planted at seed-production rates. A low percentage of bees (46-79% of released) survived the incubation and field-emergence processes; of those bees, the number of females that established at the nesting sites was 25-100%. Of the three field sites, one site consistently retained more females and produced more completed nests than the other sites, all of which usually had poor female establishment and progeny production. In addition, floral resources were depleted over time, but many flowers remained unvisited over the season. Nest production decreased over time, as numbers of flowers and female bees declined. Significant positive relationships were found between the intended stocking densities and 1) the number of females that actually survived incubation and field emergence and 2) the number of females that established nests. The number of females that established nests was positively affected by the number of females that survived to emerge in the field. The percentage of females that established was not significantly affected by the intended number of released bees, countering a prediction that the release of fewer bees would allow more females to establish nests and achieve high reproductive success. For growers, it may be more frugal to use modest numbers of M. rotundata for pollination, because many of the bees at medium and high stocking densities do not nest in grower-provided bee boards.

  5. Intended release and actual retention of alfalfa leafcutting bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) for pollination in commercial alfalfa seed fields.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2013-04-01

    Low, medium, and high stocking densities (15,000; 30,000; and 45,000-50,000 bees per acre, respectively) of Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), the alfalfa leafcutting bee, were released over 4 yr in three research plots of Utah alfalfa, Medicago sativa L. (Fabaceae), planted at seed-production rates. A low percentage of bees (46-79% of released) survived the incubation and field-emergence processes; of those bees, the number of females that established at the nesting sites was 25-100%. Of the three field sites, one site consistently retained more females and produced more completed nests than the other sites, all of which usually had poor female establishment and progeny production. In addition, floral resources were depleted over time, but many flowers remained unvisited over the season. Nest production decreased over time, as numbers of flowers and female bees declined. Significant positive relationships were found between the intended stocking densities and 1) the number of females that actually survived incubation and field emergence and 2) the number of females that established nests. The number of females that established nests was positively affected by the number of females that survived to emerge in the field. The percentage of females that established was not significantly affected by the intended number of released bees, countering a prediction that the release of fewer bees would allow more females to establish nests and achieve high reproductive success. For growers, it may be more frugal to use modest numbers of M. rotundata for pollination, because many of the bees at medium and high stocking densities do not nest in grower-provided bee boards. PMID:23786042

  6. Impact of disinfecting nesting boards on chalkbrood control in the alfalfa leafcutting bee.

    PubMed

    James, R R

    2005-08-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee that has been managed in large numbers to pollinate alfalfa, Medicago spp., seed crops since the 1960s. Propagation of these bees from 1 yr to the next has been seriously hampered by chalkbrood, a larval disease caused by the fungus Ascosphaera aggregata Skou. In the United States, attempts to control the disease have been fairly unsuccessful, but include removing nests from the nesting boards and then disinfecting the boards with heat treatments or a fumigant. The problem is that many boards are made of polystyrene (so heat cannot be used), and very few fumigants are registered for this use. In this study, ozone was tested as a fumigant and compared with heat treatments and methyl bromide fumigation. Ozone was found to be inadequate for killing A. aggregata spores and for reducing chalkbrood levels in the field. Methyl bromide and heat treatments did greatly reduce spore viability in the boards, but did not reduce chalkbrood levels in the field. Surprisingly, larvae in new nesting boards (boards free of contamination) and chalkbrood infection levels were similar to those from nests in contaminated, used boards. Disinfecting nesting boards may be necessary for controlling chalkbrood, but the results reported here indicate that it is not sufficient in and of itself. Some other source of spores was present in the field that was greater than the effect of contamination from the boards, but the source still needs to be determined. PMID:16156558

  7. Alfalfa leafcutting bee population dynamics, flower availability, and pollination rates in two Oregon alfalfa fields.

    PubMed

    Bosch, Jordi; Kemp, William P

    2005-08-01

    Since the 1970s, it has become increasingly difficult for U.S. alfalfa seed producers to maintain Megachile rotundata (F.) populations used for alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., pollination. In 1998, we monitored M. rotundata population dynamics and foraging behavior, as well as alfalfa bloom and pollination rates in two fields in eastern Oregon. Despite marked differences in bee management, establishment was very similar in the two fields (approximately 0.5 females per nesting cavity) and lagged peak bloom by approximately 2 wk. Pollination rates increased from 0-10% in the first 3 wk to 80-90% in week 4-5. By then, M. rotundata females had difficulty finding untripped (nonpollinated) flowers and visited large numbers of already tripped or not fully matured flowers. M. rotundata progeny mortality was very high (54-78%). Estimated seed yields were similar in both fields. We contend similar seed yields, and improved bee production, could be accomplished with smaller bee populations, better timed with alfalfa bloom. PMID:16156556

  8. Effect of temperature on post-wintering development and total lipid content of alfalfa leafcutting bees.

    PubMed

    O'Neill, Kevin M; O'Neill, Ruth P; Kemp, William P; Delphia, Casey M

    2011-08-01

    Temperature plays an important role in effective management of the alfalfa leafcutting bee [Megachile rotundata (F.); Megachilidae], the major commercial pollinator of seed alfalfa [Medicago sativa (L.); Fabaceae] in North America. To improve our understanding of threshold and optimum rearing temperatures of M. rotundata, we examined the effect of temperature on postwintering development by using a greater number of temperature treatments than applied in previous studies (19 versus eight or fewer) and analytical tools formulated to model nonlinear relationships between temperature and insect development rates. We also tested the hypothesis that rearing temperature influences adult body lipid content at emergence, which could affect adult survival, establishment and performance as a pollinator, and reproductive success. We found that the Lactin-2 and Briere-2 models provided the best fits to data and gave reasonable estimates of lower (16-18°C) and upper (36-39°C) developmental thresholds and optimum (33-34°C) rearing temperatures for maximizing development rate. Bees successfully emerged over a broad range of temperatures (22-35°C), but variation in development rate among individuals reared at the same temperature was lowest at 31-33°C. The optimum rearing temperature to maximize the proportion of body lipids in adults was 27-29°C. Our results are discussed in relation to previous findings and speak to the difficulties in designing practical rearing guidelines that simultaneously maximize development rate, survival, and adult condition, while synchronizing adult emergence with alfalfa bloom. PMID:22251693

  9. Effects of three-dimensional and color patterns on nest location and progeny mortality in alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Guédot, Christelle; Bosch, Jordi; James, Rosalind R; Kemp, William P

    2006-06-01

    ABSTRACT In alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., seed production where high bee densities are released, alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), females may enter several nesting holes before locating their nests. Such levels of "wrong hole" visits lead to an increase in the time spent by females locating their own nests, thereby decreasing alfalfa pollination efficiency and possibly healthy brood production. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of different nesting board configurations in commercial alfalfa leafcutting bee shelters (separating nesting boards, applying a three-dimensional pattern to the boards, applying a color contrast pattern, or applying a combination of three-dimensional and color contrast patterns) on nest location performance, on the incidence of chalkbrood disease, and on the incidence of broodless provisions. Separating the nesting boards inside shelters improved the ability of females to locate their nests. An increase in nest location performance also occurred in boards with the three-dimensional pattern and the combined three-dimensional and color contrast pattern, compared with the uniform board (a standard configuration currently used commercially). The percentage of provisioned cells that were broodless was not statistically different between treatments, but the percentage of larvae infected with chalkbrood decreased by half in the three-dimensional board design, compared with the uniform board. PMID:16813291

  10. Effects of extended prepupal storage duration on adult flight physiology of the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Bennett, Meghan M; Petersen, Kelsey; Yocum, George; Rinehart, Joseph; Kemp, William; Greenlee, Kendra J

    2013-06-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee and is the primary pollinator for alfalfa seed production. Bee management practices include cold storage during the prepupal stage. Fluctuating thermal regimes during cold storage increases survival of cold storage and allows a doubling of the cold storage period with no decrease in survival. However, survival, characterized as successful adult emergence, is not qualitative. In this study, we determined whether extended storage affects adult bee respiration or flight physiology. We overwintered bees for a single winter (current management protocol) or for 12 mo longer (extended storage). We used resting and tethered flight metabolic rates and resting critical PO2 (the oxygen partial pressure below which metabolism can no longer be sustained) as indices of adult bee quality. We found no significant differences in body mass, resting or flight metabolic rates, or critical PO2 between the two groups. Together these data indicate that extended storage of M. rotundata produces bees of similar respiratory capacity and flight ability. These findings could increase the use of M. rotundata as an alternative pollinator, allowing for extended storage to time adult emergence with early blooming crops.

  11. Effects of extended prepupal storage duration on adult flight physiology of the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Bennett, Meghan M; Petersen, Kelsey; Yocum, George; Rinehart, Joseph; Kemp, William; Greenlee, Kendra J

    2013-06-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee and is the primary pollinator for alfalfa seed production. Bee management practices include cold storage during the prepupal stage. Fluctuating thermal regimes during cold storage increases survival of cold storage and allows a doubling of the cold storage period with no decrease in survival. However, survival, characterized as successful adult emergence, is not qualitative. In this study, we determined whether extended storage affects adult bee respiration or flight physiology. We overwintered bees for a single winter (current management protocol) or for 12 mo longer (extended storage). We used resting and tethered flight metabolic rates and resting critical PO2 (the oxygen partial pressure below which metabolism can no longer be sustained) as indices of adult bee quality. We found no significant differences in body mass, resting or flight metabolic rates, or critical PO2 between the two groups. Together these data indicate that extended storage of M. rotundata produces bees of similar respiratory capacity and flight ability. These findings could increase the use of M. rotundata as an alternative pollinator, allowing for extended storage to time adult emergence with early blooming crops. PMID:23865171

  12. Laboratory bioassays to evaluate fungicides for chalkbrood control in larvae of the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Huntzinger, C I; James, R R; Bosch, J; Kemp, W P

    2008-06-01

    Chalkbrood, a fungal disease in bees, is caused by several species of Ascosphaera. A. aggregata is a major mortality factor in populations of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) used in commercial alfalfa seed production. Four formulated fungicides, Benlate 50 WP, Captan, Orbit, and Rovral 50 WP were tested in the laboratory for efficacy against hyphal growth of A. aggregata cultures. The same fungicides, with the addition of Rovral 4 F, were tested for their effects on incidence of chalkbrood disease, and toxicity to M. rotundata larvae. Benlate, Rovral 50 WP, and Rovral 4 F reduced incidence of chalkbrood with minimal mortality on larval bees. Benlate and Rovral 50 WP also reduced hyphal growth. Orbit was effective in reducing hyphal growth, but it did not reduce incidence of chalkbrood and was toxic to bee larvae. Captan was not effective in reducing hyphal growth or chalkbrood incidence, and it was toxic to bee larvae. Fungicides that reduce incidence of chalkbrood and larval mortality in this laboratory study are candidates for further study for chalkbrood control. PMID:18613563

  13. Variation in alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) reproductive success according to location of nests in United States commercial domiciles.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2013-04-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata F., is used extensively to pollinate alfalfa for seed production in western North America. However, it usually is not possible to sustain bee populations in the United States. In the managed pollination system, variable microenvironments are experienced by developing M. rotundata during the nesting season that may influence bee reproductive success. In this study, bee cells were produced in a small alfalfa field and collected from domiciles according to nesting boards and different portions of boards. Examination of cells showed that the production of live overwintering prepupae, diseased larvae, other dead eggs and larvae, and cells attacked by natural enemies varied according to board orientations and positions, and portions of the boards. Northeast-facing board samples were significantly heavier and had more pollen balls and chalkbrood compared with southwest-facing boards. Lower boards in stacks had significantly more chalkbrood than upper boards. Outer portions of boards had significantly more live prepupae and less chalkbrood than middle and inner portions, and outer and middle portions had less summer-emerging bees. These results suggest that reproductive success could be altered by changing the orientation of boards within domiciles or changing the designs of domiciles. To accurately assess the quality of bee populations managed in the commercial loose cell system, a sample of bees should be taken from a pooled sample from all boards in each domicile. Each domicile sample should then be evaluated according to its proportional contribution to the whole field's progeny production (e.g., by weight or volume).

  14. Variation in alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) reproductive success according to location of nests in United States commercial domiciles.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2013-04-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata F., is used extensively to pollinate alfalfa for seed production in western North America. However, it usually is not possible to sustain bee populations in the United States. In the managed pollination system, variable microenvironments are experienced by developing M. rotundata during the nesting season that may influence bee reproductive success. In this study, bee cells were produced in a small alfalfa field and collected from domiciles according to nesting boards and different portions of boards. Examination of cells showed that the production of live overwintering prepupae, diseased larvae, other dead eggs and larvae, and cells attacked by natural enemies varied according to board orientations and positions, and portions of the boards. Northeast-facing board samples were significantly heavier and had more pollen balls and chalkbrood compared with southwest-facing boards. Lower boards in stacks had significantly more chalkbrood than upper boards. Outer portions of boards had significantly more live prepupae and less chalkbrood than middle and inner portions, and outer and middle portions had less summer-emerging bees. These results suggest that reproductive success could be altered by changing the orientation of boards within domiciles or changing the designs of domiciles. To accurately assess the quality of bee populations managed in the commercial loose cell system, a sample of bees should be taken from a pooled sample from all boards in each domicile. Each domicile sample should then be evaluated according to its proportional contribution to the whole field's progeny production (e.g., by weight or volume). PMID:23786038

  15. Extended hypoxia in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, increases survival but causes sub-lethal effects.

    PubMed

    Abdelrahman, H; Rinehart, J P; Yocum, G D; Greenlee, K J; Helm, B R; Kemp, W P; Schulz, C H; Bowsher, J H

    2014-05-01

    Many insects are tolerant of hypoxic conditions, but survival may come at a cost to long-term health. The alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, Megachile rotundata, develops in brood cells inside natural cavities, and may be exposed to hypoxic conditions for extended periods of time. Whether M. rotundata is tolerant of hypoxia, and whether exposure results in sub-lethal effects, has never been investigated. Overwintering M. rotundata prepupae were exposed to 10%, 13%, 17%, 21% and 24% O2 for 11 months. Once adults emerged, five indicators of quality - emergence weight, body size, feeding activity, flight performance, and adult longevity, - were measured to determine whether adult bees that survived past exposure to hypoxia were competent pollinators. M. rotundata prepupae are tolerant of hypoxic condition and have higher survival rates in hypoxia, than in normoxia. Under hypoxia, adult emergence rates did not decrease over the 11 months of the experiment. In contrast, bees reared in normoxia had decreased emergence rates by 8 months, and were dead by 11 months. M. rotundata prepupae exposed to extended hypoxic conditions had similar emergence weight, head width, and cross-thorax distance compared to bees reared in standard 21% oxygen. Despite no significant morphological differences, hypoxia-exposed bees had lower feeding rates and shorter adult lifespans. Hypoxia may play a role in post-diapause physiology of M. rotundata, with prepupae showing better survival under hypoxic conditions. Extended exposure to hypoxia, while not fatal, causes sub-lethal effects in feeding rates and longevity in the adults, indicating that hypoxia tolerance comes at a cost. PMID:24662466

  16. Changes in respiratory structure and function during post-diapause development in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Owings, Austin A; Yocum, George D; Rinehart, Joseph P; Kemp, William P; Greenlee, Kendra J

    2014-07-01

    Megachile rotundata, the alfalfa leafcutting bee, is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee. M. rotundata develop from eggs laid inside brood cells constructed from leaf pieces and placed in series in an existing cavity. Due to the cavity nesting behavior of M. rotundata, developing bees may experience hypoxic conditions. The brood cell itself and the position of cell inside the cavity may impact the rates of oxygen diffusion creating hypoxic conditions for developing animals. We hypothesized that bees would be adapted to living in hypoxia and predicted that they would be highly tolerant of hypoxic conditions. To test the hypothesis, we measured critical PO2 (Pcrit) in pupal M. rotundata of varying ages. Defined as the atmospheric O2 level below which metabolic rate cannot be sustained, Pcrit is a measure of an animal's respiratory capacity. Using flow through respirometry, we measured CO2 emission rates of developing bees exposed to 21, 10, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0 kPa PO2 and statistically determined Pcrit. Mean Pcrit was 4 kPa PO2 and ranged from 0 to 10 kPa PO2, similar to those of other insects. Pcrit was positively correlated with age, indicating that as pupae aged, they were less tolerant of hypoxia. To determine if there were developmental changes in tracheal structure that accounted for the increase in Pcrit, we used synchrotron X-ray imaging and measured the diameter of several tracheae in the head and abdomen of developing bees. Analyses of tracheal diameters showed that tracheae increased in size as animals aged, but the magnitude of the increase varied depending on which trachea was measured. Tracheal diameters increased as pupae molted and decreased as they neared adult emergence, possibly accounting for the decrease in hypoxia tolerance. Little is known about respiratory structures during metamorphosis in bees, and this study provides the first description of tracheal system structure and function in developing M. rotundata. Studies such as this are important

  17. Use of RAPD analyses to estimate population genetic parameters in the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Lu, R; Rank, G H

    1996-08-01

    RAPD analyses were performed on five geographically isolated populations of Megachile rotundata. We used haploid males of the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee, M. rotundata, to overcome the limitation of the dominance of RAPD markers in the determination of population genetic parameters. Sixteen primers gave rise to 130 polymorphic and 31 monomorphic bands. The unbiased estimators calculated in this study include within- and between-population heterozygosity, nucleotide divergence, and genetic distance. The genetic diversity (H = 0.32-0.35) was found to be about 10 times that of previous estimates (H = 0.033) based on allozyme data. Contrary to the data obtained at the protein level, our results suggest that Hymenoptera do not have a lower level of genetic variability at the DNA level compared with other insect species. Regardless of the different assumptions underlying the calculation of heterozygosity, divergence, and genetic distance, all five populations showed a parallel interrelationship for the three parameters. We conclude that RAPD markers are a convenient tool to estimate population genetic variation in haploid M. rotundata and that with an adequate sample size the technique is applicable to the evaluation of divergence in diploid populations. Key words : Megachile rotundata, RAPD, heterozygosity, genetic distance, nucleotide divergence. PMID:18469925

  18. Use of RAPD analysis for in situ identification of Ascosphaera aggregata and Ascosphaera larvis in larval cadavers of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Lu, R; Goerzen, D W; Rank, G H

    1996-07-01

    Chalkbrood of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is caused by the fungus Ascosphaera aggregata. We used random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis for the in situ identification of A. aggregata and a related species, Ascosphaera larvis, in larval cadavers of M. rotundata. A simple DNA extraction method was developed to preferentially isolate DNA from fungal spores on the cadaver surface, or from ascocysts beneath the cuticle. Similar banding patterns were obtained in A. aggregata-infected larval cadavers from different sources and geographic areas. The RAPD banding pattern of cadavers infected with A. aggregata differed from that of healthy leafcutting bee prepupae. RAPD analyses of cadavers infected with A. aggregata and A. larvis resulted in similar banding profiles as those obtained from corresponding pure fungal cultures of the two species. This suggests that the RAPD bands of infected cadavers were amplified from fungal DNA, rather than from other DNA associated with the leafcutting bee cadaver. The banding patterns of "sporulating" and "non-sporulating" chalkbrood cadavers exhibited no differences; this provides the first definitive evidence that both forms of the disease result from infection with A. aggregata. PMID:8683161

  19. Low temperature stress during pupal development and its effects on adult performance in alfalfa leafcutting bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Megachile rotundata develop in brood cells constructed in cavities by adult females. Pre-pupal bees diapause over winter and resume development as temperatures (Ta) increase in spring. While many insects are tolerant of suboptimal Ta in their overwintering stages, insects that initiate active develo...

  20. Temperature stress affects the expression of immune response genes in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Xu, J; James, Rosalind R

    2012-04-01

    Environmental stresses are thought to be associated with increases in disease suceptibility, attributable to evolutionary trade-offs between the energy demands required to deal with stress vs pathogens. We compared the effects of temperature stress and pathogen exposure on the immune response of a solitary bee, Megachile rotundata. Using an oligonucleotide microarray with 125 genes (375 probes), we determined that both high and low temperatures increased the expression of immune response genes in M. rotundata and reduced levels of a disease called chalkbrood. In the absence of the pathogen, trypsin-like serine and pathogen recognition proteases were most highly expressed at the lowest rearing temperature (20°C), while immune response signalling pathways and melanization were highly expressed at the warmest temperature tested (35°C). In pathogen-exposed bees, immune response genes tended to be most highly expressed at moderate temperatures, where we also saw the greatest infection levels. Temperature stress appears to have activated immunity before the pathogen elicited a response from the host, and this early activity prevented infection under stressful conditions. In this insect, the trade-off in energetic costs associated with stress and infection may be partially avoided by the use of conserved responses that reduce the effects of both. PMID:22356318

  1. The effects of extended diapause duration on the metabolic rate and critical PO2 of the leafcutting bee, Megachilee rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The Alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata F. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), is a solitary, cavity-nesting bee. Most individuals enter diapause at the end of summer and overwinter as prepupae. However, some individuals avoid diapause and complete their life cycle in the summer. Furthermore, s...

  2. DNA barcoding to identify leaf preference of leafcutting bees

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Leafcutting bees (Megachile: Megachilidae) cut leaves from various trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses to partition and encase brood cells in hollow plant stems, decaying logs or in the ground. The identification of preferred plant species via morphological characters of the leaf fragments is challenging and direct observation of bees cutting leaves from certain plant species are difficult. As such, data are poor on leaf preference of leafcutting bees. In this study, I use DNA barcoding of the rcbL and ITS2 regions to identify and compare leaf preference of three Megachile bee species widespread in Toronto, Canada. Nests were opened and one leaf piece from one cell per nest of the native M. pugnata Say (N=45 leaf pieces), and the introduced M. rotundata Fabricius (N=64) and M. centuncularis (L.) (N=65) were analysed. From 174 individual DNA sequences, 54 plant species were identified. Preference by M. rotundata was most diverse (36 leaf species, H′=3.08, phylogenetic diversity (pd)=2.97), followed by M. centuncularis (23 species, H′=2.38, pd=1.51) then M. pugnata (18 species, H′=1.87, pd=1.22). Cluster analysis revealed significant overlap in leaf choice of M. rotundata and M. centuncularis. There was no significant preference for native leaves, and only M. centuncularis showed preference for leaves of woody plants over perennials. Interestingly, antimicrobial properties were present in all but six plants collected; all these were exotic plants and none were collected by the native bee, M. pugnata. These missing details in interpreting what bees need offers valuable information for conservation by accounting for necessary (and potentially limiting) nesting materials. PMID:27069650

  3. DNA barcoding to identify leaf preference of leafcutting bees.

    PubMed

    MacIvor, J Scott

    2016-03-01

    Leafcutting bees (Megachile: Megachilidae) cut leaves from various trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses to partition and encase brood cells in hollow plant stems, decaying logs or in the ground. The identification of preferred plant species via morphological characters of the leaf fragments is challenging and direct observation of bees cutting leaves from certain plant species are difficult. As such, data are poor on leaf preference of leafcutting bees. In this study, I use DNA barcoding of the rcbL and ITS2 regions to identify and compare leaf preference of three Megachile bee species widespread in Toronto, Canada. Nests were opened and one leaf piece from one cell per nest of the native M. pugnata Say (N=45 leaf pieces), and the introduced M. rotundata Fabricius (N=64) and M. centuncularis (L.) (N=65) were analysed. From 174 individual DNA sequences, 54 plant species were identified. Preference by M. rotundata was most diverse (36 leaf species, H'=3.08, phylogenetic diversity (pd)=2.97), followed by M. centuncularis (23 species, H'=2.38, pd=1.51) then M. pugnata (18 species, H'=1.87, pd=1.22). Cluster analysis revealed significant overlap in leaf choice of M. rotundata and M. centuncularis. There was no significant preference for native leaves, and only M. centuncularis showed preference for leaves of woody plants over perennials. Interestingly, antimicrobial properties were present in all but six plants collected; all these were exotic plants and none were collected by the native bee, M. pugnata. These missing details in interpreting what bees need offers valuable information for conservation by accounting for necessary (and potentially limiting) nesting materials. PMID:27069650

  4. Pollinating bees (Hymenoptera: Apiformes) of U.S. alfalfa compared for rates of pod and seed set.

    PubMed

    Cane, James H

    2002-02-01

    Alfalfa (=lucerne) flowers require visiting bees to trip the sexual column, thereby providing pollination and subsequent pod and seed set. Previous studies have compared the pollination values of different bee species solely by the speed with which they handle flowers and the proportion of visited flowers tripped. In this greenhouse study, five species of bees, including the three commercially managed U.S alfalfa pollinators, are likewise compared for their floral tripping frequencies. These bee species are also compared for the pod set and mature seed that results from their single visits to virgin flowers. Regardless of the identity of the pollinating bee, tripped flowers had the same probabilities of pod set and seed set. Thus, differences in the single-visit pollination efficiencies of the various bee species are entirely attributable to the proportion of visited flowers that they trip. Females of the alkali bee, Nomia melanderi Cockerell, and the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata F, tripped 81 and 78% of visited flowers, respectively. Males of these species are significantly less effective (61 and 51%, respectively), but still significantly superior to the honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (22% of visited flowers tripped). These relationships are supported by field data for tripping frequencies. One candidate pollinator, Osmia sanrafaelae Parker, shows promise (44% tripped), but not the congeneric O. aglaia Sandhouse (13% tripped). PMID:11942760

  5. From silkworms to bees: Diseases of beneficial insects

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The diseases of the silkworm (Bombyx mori) and managed bees, including the honey bee (Apis mellifera), bumbles bees (Bombus spp.), the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata), and mason bees (Osmia spp.) are reviewed, with diagnostic descriptions and a summary of control methods for production...

  6. Effects of fungicide and adjuvant sprays on nesting behavior in two managed solitary bees, Osmia lignaria and Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The lethal and sublethal effects of two widely used fungicides and one adjuvant spreader were assessed in cage studies in California on blue orchard bees, Osmia lignaria, and in cage studies in Utah on alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata. The fungicides tested were Rovral® 4F (iprodione) ...

  7. Implications of season and management protocol on the landscape of gene regulation during diapause development in the Alfalfa Leaf Cutting Bee

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    : The alfalfa leaf cutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the world’s most intensively managed solitary bee for commercial pollination. It is the primary pollinator of seed alfalfa, a valuable crop for dairy cow feed. Overwintering bees emerge in the spring during alfalfa bloom to mate an...

  8. Aerobic microorganisms associated with alfalfa leafcutter bees (megachile rotundata).

    PubMed

    Inglis, G D; Sigler, L; Goette, M S

    1993-09-01

    Characterization of microorganisms associated with alfalfa leaf-cutter bee (Megachile rotundata) nectar, pollen, provisions, larval guts, and frass (excreta) in Alberta demonstrated a varied aerobic microflora. Yeasts were isolated frequently from nectar, pollen, and provisions but rarely from guts or frass. The most prevalent yeast taxa were: Candida bombicola, Cryptococcus albidus, Metschnikowia reukaufii, and Rhodotorula glutinis. Although few filamentous fungi were found in nectar, they were frequently isolated from pollen and provisions; the predominant taxa were Alternaria alternata, Cladosporium cladosporioides, C. herbarum, Epicoccum nigrum, and Penicillium chrysogenum. Bacteria, including species of Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Micrococcus, and the actinomycete Streptomyces, also were prevalent in provisions and/or on pollen. In general, the diversity of microorganisms isolated from alimentary canals and frass was lower than from nectar, pollen, and provisions. Bacillus firmus, B. licheniformis, B. megaterium, B. pumilus, and Streptomyces spp. were the most frequently isolated bacteria, whereas Trichosporonoides megachiliensis was the most common filamentous fungus isolated from larval guts and/or frass. These taxa may be part of the resident microflora of the alimentary canal. Populations of bacteria and filamentous fungi, but not yeasts, were larger from Ascosphaera aggregata-infected larvae than from healthy larvae. However, with the exception of Aspergillus niger and T. megachiliensis in frass from healthy larvae, no taxon of filamentous fungi was conspicuously present or absent in infected larvae, healthy larvae, or their frass. PMID:24190009

  9. Foraging range of honey bees, Apis mellifera, in alfalfa seed production fields

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A study was conducted in 2006 and 2007 designed to examine the foraging range of honey bees, Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in a 15.2 km2 area dominated by a 128.9 ha glyphosate-resistant Roundup Ready® alfalfa seed production field and several non-Roundup Ready seed production fields (totalin...

  10. Alfalfa

    MedlinePlus

    Alfalfa is an herb. People use the leaves, sprouts, and seeds to make medicine. Alfalfa is used for kidney conditions, bladder and prostate ... Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugarAlfalfa might lower blood sugar. Using alfalfa along with other ...

  11. Correlations between environmental factors and wild bee behavior on alfalfa (Medicago sativa) in northwestern China.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaojuan; Liu, Hongping; Li, Xiaoxia; Song, Yu; Chen, Li; Jin, Liang

    2009-10-01

    To discover the effect of environmental factors on pollinator visitation to flowering Medicago sativa, several field experiments were designed to examine the diurnal movement patterns of wild bee species in the Hexi Corridor of northwestern China. Our study results showed that Megachile abluta, M. spissula, and Xylocopa valga showed unimodal diurnal foraging behavior, whereas Andrena parvula and Anthophora melanognatha showed bimodal diurnal foraging behavior. Correlation analysis indicated that diurnal foraging activities of pollinators were significantly correlated with environmental factors. Correlations of foraging activities versus environmental factors for M. abluta, M. spissula, and X. valga best fit a linear model, whereas those of A. parvula and A. melanognatha best fit a parallel quadratic model. Results of this study indicated that solitary wild bees such as M. abluta, M. spissula, X. valga, A. parvula, and A. melanognatha are potential alfalfa pollinators in the Hexi Corridor. An understanding of the environmental factors that affect the behaviors of different wild bees foraging in alfalfa are basic to the utilization of solitary wild bees in a practical way for increased, or more consistent, pollination of alfalfa for seed production. PMID:19825303

  12. Sexual Harassment by Males Reduces Female Fecundity in the Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee (Megachile rotundata)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Under sexual conflict, males evolve traits to increase their mating and reproductive success that impose costs on females. Females evolve counter-adaptations to resist males and reduce those costs. Female resistance may instead serve as a mechanism for mate choice if the male-imposed costs are outwe...

  13. Effects of residual novaluron on reproduction in alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata F. (Megachilidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Knowledge of lethal and sublethal pesticide effects on pollinators allows for prudent decision-making in cropping systems that require pollination. The chitin synthesis inhibitor novaluron is used to control certain coleopteran, lepidopteran, hemipteran, and dipteran pests. Although novaluron is c...

  14. Comparative toxicity and hazards of pesticides to Apis and non-Apis bees. A chemometrical study.

    PubMed

    Devillers, J; Decourtye, A; Budzinskid, H; Pham-Delègue, M H; Cluzeau, S; Maurin, G

    2003-01-01

    The adverse effects of 158 pesticides to the Honey bee (Apis mellifera), the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata) and the alkali bee (Nomia melanderi) were compared by means of various linear and non-linear multivariate analyses. A comparison exercise including the bumble bee (Bombus spp.) was also performed from a more restricted set of 32 pesticides. While no difference of sensitivity was found between A. mellifera and Bombus spp., M. rotundata appeared the most susceptible to pesticides followed by N. melanderi. PMID:14758982

  15. p-Nitrophenylacetate hydrolysis by honey bee esterases: kinetics and inhibition.

    PubMed

    Spoonamore, J E; Frohlich, D R; Wells, M A

    1993-03-01

    1. The kinetics and inhibition of p-nitrophenylacetate hydrolysis by cytosolic esterases of 1-day old female honey bees, Apis mellifera L., were studied. 2. The calculated values obtained were Km = 2.27 x 10(-5)M and Vmax = 2.48 x 10(-8) mol/s per mg protein. 3. The inhibition mechanisms examined for four organophosphorus insecticides were highly competitive in nature and based on competitive inhibition coefficients the order of toxicity was naled > dichlorvos > cis-mevinphos = trans-mevinphos. 4. Comparisons are made with the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (Fab). PMID:8498090

  16. Selfing rate in an alfalfa seed production field pollinated with leafcutter bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Self-pollination or “selfing” in autotetraploid alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) (2n = 4x = 32) leads to severe inbreeding depression. Investigating selfing in alfalfa seed production may allow mitigation strategy development against potential negative impacts of selfing on varietal performance. Using m...

  17. The kinetics and inhibition of p-nitrophenylacetate-hydrolysing esterases in a solitary bee, Megachile rotundata (Fab.).

    PubMed

    Frohlich, D R; Boeker, E A; Brindley, W A

    1990-05-01

    1. The kinetics and inhibition of p-nitrophenylacetate hydrolysis by cytosolic esterases of female alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata (Fab.) was examined. 2. For p-nitrophenylacetate, the Km = 1.24 x 10(-4) M and Vmax = 2.29 x 10(-9) mol/s per mg protein. 3. Regarding four organophosphate insecticides, the mechanism of inhibition in all cases was mixed (competitive and uncompetitive) and, based on inhibition constants, the order of toxicity was naled greater than paraoxon greater than trichlorfon greater than oxydemeton methyl. 4. Comparisons are made to the honey bee, Apis mellifera. PMID:2349807

  18. Resource Effects on Solitary Bee Reproduction in a Managed Crop Pollination System.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2015-08-01

    Population density may affect solitary bee maternal resource allocation. The number of Megachile rotundata (F.), alfalfa leafcutting bee, females released for seed production of Medicago sativa L., alfalfa, may limit flower availability for nest provisioning. In turn, pollinator abundance also may affect crop yield. The M. sativa pollination system presents an opportunity to test for effects of density dependence and maternal manipulation on M. rotundata reproduction. A multiyear study was performed on M. sativa fields upon which M. rotundata densities were altered to induce low, medium, and high density situations. Numbers of adult bees and open flowers were recorded weekly; bee reproduction variables were collected once. Fields varied in plant performance for each site and year, and the intended bee densities were not realized. Therefore, the variable density index (DI) was derived to describe the number of female bees per area of flowers over the study period. As DI increased, percentages of pollinated flowers, established females, and healthy brood significantly increased, and the number of pollinated flowers per female and of dead or diseased brood significantly decreased. Sex ratio was significantly more female biased as DI increased. Overwintered offspring weights were similar regardless of DI, but significantly differed by year for both sexes, and for males also by field and year × field interaction. Overall, resource limitation was not found in this field study. Other density-dependent factors may have induced a bee dispersal response soon after bees were released in the fields that circumvented the need for, or impact of, maternal manipulation.

  19. Long-term storage of Ascosphaera aggregata and Ascosphaera apis, pathogens of the leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata) and the honey bee (Apis mellifera).

    PubMed

    Jensen, A B; James, R R; Eilenberg, J

    2009-06-01

    Survival rates of Ascosphaera aggregata and Ascosphaera apis over the course of a year were tested using different storage treatments. For spores, the storage methods tested were freeze-drying and ultra-low temperatures, and for hyphae, freeze-drying, agar slants, and two methods of ultra-low temperatures. Spores of A. aggregata and A. apis stored well at -80 degrees C and after freeze-drying. A. aggregata hyphae did not store well under any of the methods tested while A. apis hyphae survived well using cryopreservation. Spores produced from cryopreserved A. apis hyphae were infective. Long-term storage of these two important fungal bee diseases is thus possible. PMID:19332075

  20. Interrupted incubation and short-term storage of the alfalfa pollinator Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae): a potential tool for synchronizing bees with bloom.

    PubMed

    Yocum, George D; Rinehart, Joseph P; West, Mark; Kemp, William P

    2010-04-01

    A useful technique for synchronizing pollinators with the alfalfa, Medicago savita L. (Fabaceae), bloom is to interrupt the late spring incubation of developing bee pupae and pharate adults of Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) with short-term low-temperature storage. However, low-temperature exposure can be stressful depending on the temperature, duration of exposure, and the developmental stage exposed. To evaluate the effect of low-temperature storage after development had already been initiated by exposure to 29 degrees C, three developmental stages (eye pigment pupae, body pigment pupae, and pharate adults ready to emerge) were exposed to 6, 12, or 18 degrees C for durations up to 28 d. The effect of delaying the termination of overwintering storage (6 degrees C) from April to July ("April bees" and "July bees," respectively) also was examined. The following observations were made: (1) All developmental stages of the April bees and July bees examined can be stored without harmful effects, as measured by percentage of survival, for 14 d at 12 degrees C and above. (2) Postponing the termination of overwintering storage at 6 degrees C from April until July significantly decreased the mean number of days to 95% adult emergence in the July ready-to-emerge bees across the three temperatures tested. (3) The increase of overwintering duration also caused a decrease in the postemergence longevity of the ready-to-emerge adults stored at 6 degrees C for 14 d. (4) Of the three storage temperatures examined, 18 degrees C seems to be the optimal storage temperature for short-term storage of developing bees because of their slow but continuing development without increased mortality either during storage or after emergence. PMID:20429433

  1. Key molecular processes of the diapause to post-diapause quiescence transition in the alfalfa leafcutting bee Megachile rotundata identified by comparative transcriptome analysis

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Insect diapause (dormancy) synchronizes an insect’s life cycle to seasonal changes in the abiotic and biotic resources required for development and reproduction. Transcription analysis of Megachile rotundata diapause termination identified 399 post-diapause upregulated and 144 post-diapause down-reg...

  2. Resource Effects on Solitary Bee Reproduction in a Managed Crop Pollination System.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2015-08-01

    Population density may affect solitary bee maternal resource allocation. The number of Megachile rotundata (F.), alfalfa leafcutting bee, females released for seed production of Medicago sativa L., alfalfa, may limit flower availability for nest provisioning. In turn, pollinator abundance also may affect crop yield. The M. sativa pollination system presents an opportunity to test for effects of density dependence and maternal manipulation on M. rotundata reproduction. A multiyear study was performed on M. sativa fields upon which M. rotundata densities were altered to induce low, medium, and high density situations. Numbers of adult bees and open flowers were recorded weekly; bee reproduction variables were collected once. Fields varied in plant performance for each site and year, and the intended bee densities were not realized. Therefore, the variable density index (DI) was derived to describe the number of female bees per area of flowers over the study period. As DI increased, percentages of pollinated flowers, established females, and healthy brood significantly increased, and the number of pollinated flowers per female and of dead or diseased brood significantly decreased. Sex ratio was significantly more female biased as DI increased. Overwintered offspring weights were similar regardless of DI, but significantly differed by year for both sexes, and for males also by field and year × field interaction. Overall, resource limitation was not found in this field study. Other density-dependent factors may have induced a bee dispersal response soon after bees were released in the fields that circumvented the need for, or impact of, maternal manipulation. PMID:26314057

  3. Effects of the insecticide phosmet on solitary bee foraging and nesting in orchards of Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

    PubMed

    Alston, Diane G; Tepedino, Vincent J; Bradley, Brosi A; Toler, Trent R; Griswold, Terry L; Messinger, Susanna M

    2007-08-01

    Capitol Reef National Park, in southcentral Utah, contains 22 small orchards planted with antique fruit varieties by Mormon pioneers beginning over a century ago. The orchards continue to be managed in a pick-and-pay program, which includes spraying with phosmet to suppress codling moth (Cydia pomonella L.). The park is also home to a rich diversity of flowering plants, many of which are rare, bee-pollinated, and have populations within 1 km of the orchards. Over 3 yr, we studied the short-term effects of phosmet spraying on bee populations: (1) foraging on plants within the orchard understory and adjacent to it; and (2) nesting in, and at several distances from, the orchards. We recorded a rich bee fauna (47 taxa) in the orchards and on plants nearby. In 2 yr (2002 and 2004), we found no difference in the number of native bee visits to several species of plants flowering in and near to orchards immediately before and 1 d after spraying. Conversely, our nesting studies using the semidomesticated alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), showed strong significant declines in the number of adult males, nesting females, and progeny production subsequent to spraying at distances up to 160 m from sprayed orchards where the bees were presumably foraging. We showed that M. rotundata is negatively affected by phosmet spraying and suggest that caution should be exercised in its use in areas where bees are apt to forage. PMID:17716471

  4. Effects of the insecticide phosmet on solitary bee foraging and nesting in orchards of Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

    PubMed

    Alston, Diane G; Tepedino, Vincent J; Bradley, Brosi A; Toler, Trent R; Griswold, Terry L; Messinger, Susanna M

    2007-08-01

    Capitol Reef National Park, in southcentral Utah, contains 22 small orchards planted with antique fruit varieties by Mormon pioneers beginning over a century ago. The orchards continue to be managed in a pick-and-pay program, which includes spraying with phosmet to suppress codling moth (Cydia pomonella L.). The park is also home to a rich diversity of flowering plants, many of which are rare, bee-pollinated, and have populations within 1 km of the orchards. Over 3 yr, we studied the short-term effects of phosmet spraying on bee populations: (1) foraging on plants within the orchard understory and adjacent to it; and (2) nesting in, and at several distances from, the orchards. We recorded a rich bee fauna (47 taxa) in the orchards and on plants nearby. In 2 yr (2002 and 2004), we found no difference in the number of native bee visits to several species of plants flowering in and near to orchards immediately before and 1 d after spraying. Conversely, our nesting studies using the semidomesticated alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), showed strong significant declines in the number of adult males, nesting females, and progeny production subsequent to spraying at distances up to 160 m from sprayed orchards where the bees were presumably foraging. We showed that M. rotundata is negatively affected by phosmet spraying and suggest that caution should be exercised in its use in areas where bees are apt to forage.

  5. Bee

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bee, Claire Preston, is a book written generally for the layperson, but may be of interest to those working in entomology. This review seeks to help entomologists who may have interest in the subject to decide whether or not to invest time into reading the book. The review is generally positive an...

  6. Quadrat method for assessing the population abundance of a commercially managed native soil-nesting bee, Nomia melanderi (Hymenoptera: Halictidae), in proximity to alfalfa seed production in the western United States.

    PubMed

    Vinchesi, A C; Walsh, D B

    2014-08-01

    Alkali bees, Nomia melanderi Cockerell, are solitary, gregarious, soil-nesting bees native to the western United States that are commercially managed in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington State to provide pollination service on alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., produced as a seed crop. In 2010 and 2011, we compared two techniques for estimating N. melanderi abundance in commercially managed bee beds. The first technique involved quantifying the abundance of emergence holes in 24 0.5-m2 quadrats on the surface of 13 bee beds during the peak period of N. melanderi foraging activity in July of both years. When we counted emergence holes, we marked a subset of eight quadrats per bee bed with plastic tabs. Subsequently, in late October of the same year, 0.014-m3 soil cores were collected in close proximity to the plastic tabs. The soil cores were teased apart in the laboratory and the absolute abundance of overwintering prepupae was quantified per core. Simple regression was highly significant between the means of emergence holes within the 0.5-m2 soil surface quadrats and the means of the counts from the 0.014-m3 soil cores. Using mean emergence hole counts, mean prepupae counts from the soil cores, and the surface area of the bee beds, we were able to calculate the estimated abundance of N. melanderi in each bee bed. We conclude that the nondestructive quadrat method of sampling N. melanderi abundance in commercially managed beds is robust compared with the destructive, labor-intensive, absolute soil core method.

  7. Exposure to Suboptimal Temperatures during Metamorphosis Reveals a Critical Developmental Window in the Solitary Bee, Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Bennett, Meghan M; Cook, Keeley M; Rinehart, Joseph P; Yocum, George D; Kemp, William P; Greenlee, Kendra J

    2015-01-01

    Metamorphosis is an important developmental stage for holometabolous insects, during which adult morphology and physiology are established. Proper development relies on optimal body temperatures, and natural ambient temperature (Ta) fluctuations, especially in spring or in northern latitudes, could result in interruptions to development. It is unclear how low-Ta exposure may affect insects that are actively developing. To understand how suboptimal Ta may affect metamorphosing insects, we used the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (Fabricius), a solitary, cavity-nesting bee that spends its juvenile and pupal stages within a brood cell. We characterized suites of physiological traits, rather than just using a singular parameter to determine effects of sublethal Ta stress. Metamorphosing M. rotundata were exposed to either constant or fluctuating low-Ta stress and compared to control bees allowed to develop normally. All bees survived and emerged as adults, but the constant low-Ta-stressed bees were affected most severely. Male constant low-Ta-stressed bees had decreased flight performance (lower metabolic rate, shorter flight bouts, decreased wing length), suggesting that the stress altered muscular or neurological development. Constant low-Ta-stressed bees also had altered activity levels, providing more support for the hypothesis that low-Ta stress causes long-term neurological defects. Exposure to fluctuating low Ta also delayed development time for both sexes; males had decreased adult life span, and both sexes had shortened wings. Together, these results provide evidence for a critical developmental window during metamorphosis and suggest that there may be severe implications for bees in the wild that are exposed to low-Ta stressors. PMID:26658248

  8. Effects of Fungicide and Adjuvant Sprays on Nesting Behavior in Two Managed Solitary Bees, Osmia lignaria and Megachile rotundata

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    There is a growing body of empirical evidence showing that wild and managed bees are negatively impacted by various pesticides that are applied in agroecosystems around the world. The lethal and sublethal effects of two widely used fungicides and one adjuvant were assessed in cage studies in California on blue orchard bees, Osmia lignaria, and in cage studies in Utah on alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata. The fungicides tested were Rovral 4F (iprodione) and Pristine (mixture of pyraclostrobin + boscalid), and the adjuvant tested was N-90, a non-ionic wetting agent (90% polyethoxylated nonylphenol) added to certain tank mixtures of fungicides to improve the distribution and contact of sprays to plants. In separate trials, we erected screened cages and released 20 paint-marked females plus 30–50 males per cage to document the behavior of nesting bees under treated and control conditions. For all females in each cage, we recorded pollen-collecting trip times, nest substrate-collecting trip times (i.e., mud for O. lignaria and cut leaf pieces for M. rotundata), cell production rate, and the number of attempts each female made to enter her own or to enter other nest entrances upon returning from a foraging trip. No lethal effects of treatments were observed on adults, nor were there effects on time spent foraging for pollen and nest substrates and on cell production rate. However, Rovral 4F, Pristine, and N-90 disrupted the nest recognition abilities of O. lignaria females. Pristine, N-90, and Pristine + N-90 disrupted nest recognition ability of M. rotundata females. Electroantennogram responses of antennae of O. lignaria females maintained in the laboratory did not differ significantly between the fungicide-exposed and control bees. Our results provide the first empirical evidence that two commonly used fungicides and a non-ionic adjuvant can disrupt nest recognition in two managed solitary bee species. PMID:26274401

  9. Effects of Fungicide and Adjuvant Sprays on Nesting Behavior in Two Managed Solitary Bees, Osmia lignaria and Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Artz, Derek R; Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2015-01-01

    There is a growing body of empirical evidence showing that wild and managed bees are negatively impacted by various pesticides that are applied in agroecosystems around the world. The lethal and sublethal effects of two widely used fungicides and one adjuvant were assessed in cage studies in California on blue orchard bees, Osmia lignaria, and in cage studies in Utah on alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata. The fungicides tested were Rovral 4F (iprodione) and Pristine (mixture of pyraclostrobin + boscalid), and the adjuvant tested was N-90, a non-ionic wetting agent (90% polyethoxylated nonylphenol) added to certain tank mixtures of fungicides to improve the distribution and contact of sprays to plants. In separate trials, we erected screened cages and released 20 paint-marked females plus 30-50 males per cage to document the behavior of nesting bees under treated and control conditions. For all females in each cage, we recorded pollen-collecting trip times, nest substrate-collecting trip times (i.e., mud for O. lignaria and cut leaf pieces for M. rotundata), cell production rate, and the number of attempts each female made to enter her own or to enter other nest entrances upon returning from a foraging trip. No lethal effects of treatments were observed on adults, nor were there effects on time spent foraging for pollen and nest substrates and on cell production rate. However, Rovral 4F, Pristine, and N-90 disrupted the nest recognition abilities of O. lignaria females. Pristine, N-90, and Pristine + N-90 disrupted nest recognition ability of M. rotundata females. Electroantennogram responses of antennae of O. lignaria females maintained in the laboratory did not differ significantly between the fungicide-exposed and control bees. Our results provide the first empirical evidence that two commonly used fungicides and a non-ionic adjuvant can disrupt nest recognition in two managed solitary bee species. PMID:26274401

  10. Modeling feral alfalfa (Medicago sativa subsp. sativa L.) occurrence using topographical and environmental variables

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Because alfalfa is a perennial species cross pollinated by bees and can establish along roadsides and ruderal areas, there is concern that feral plants can serve as reservoirs and conduits for transgenic genes. The objective of this study was to survey feral alfalfa in alfalfa seed production areas ...

  11. Pollen and seed mediated gene flow in commercial alfalfa seed production fields

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The potential for gene flow has been widely recognized since alfalfa is pollinated by bees. The Western US is a major exporter of alfalfa seed and hay and the organic dairy industry is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors. Because of this, many alfalfa producers are impacted by market sen...

  12. Variations in thermal history lead to dyssynchronous diapause development

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the world’s most intensively managed solitary bee and the primary pollinator for alfalfa seed production. Managed bees are subjected to thermal regimes for overwintering and subsequent adult emergence in time for alfalfa bloom. In nature, first ge...

  13. Characterization of triacylglycerols from overwintering prepupae of the alfalfa pollinator Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Buckner, James S; Kemp, William P; Bosch, Jordi

    2004-09-01

    Alfalfa leafcutting bees, Megachile rotundata (F.), overwinter as prepupae. The internal lipids were extracted from prepupae that had been wintered at 4 degrees C for 7 months. Megachile rotundata prepupae possessed copious quantities of internal lipids (20% of the fresh weight) that were extracted with CHCl3/methanol (2:1). Transmission electron microscopy revealed that lipids were stored within very large intracellular vacuoles. Separation by silica chromatography revealed that 88% of the internal lipids were triacylglycerols. Ester derivatives of fatty acids from triacylglycerol components were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and 15 fatty acid constituents were identified. The majority (76%) of the triacylglycerol fatty acids were unsaturated fatty acids. The major triacylglycerol fatty acid constituent (30%) was the C16 monounsaturated fatty acid, palmitoleic acid (16:1, hexadec-9-enoic acid), with substantial amounts of linolenic acid (18:3, octadec-9,12,15-trienoic acid, 15%), palmitic acid (16:0, hexadecanoic acid, 14%) and oleic acid (18:1, octadec-9-enoic acid, 13%). Palmitoleic acid as the major fatty acid of an insect is an unusual occurrence as well as the presence of the 16-carbon polyunsaturated fatty acids, 16:2 and 16:3. The major intact triacylglycerol components were separated and identified by high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. A complex mixture of approximately 40 triacylglycerol components were identified and major components included palmitoyl palmitoleoyl oleoyl glycerol, palmitoyl palmitoleoyl palmitoleoyl glycerol, myristoyl palmitoleoyl palmitoleoyl glycerol, myristoleoyl palmitoyl palmitoleoyl glycerol, and palmitoyl palmitoleoyl linolenoyl glycerol. The function of these internal lipids and their relevance to winter survival and post-wintering development of M. rotundata is discussed. PMID:15352151

  14. Transcriptional responses to fluctuating thermal regimes underpinning differences in survival in the solitary bee Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Torson, Alex S; Yocum, George D; Rinehart, Joseph P; Kemp, William P; Bowsher, Julia H

    2015-04-01

    The transcriptional responses of insects to long-term, ecologically relevant temperature stress are poorly understood. Long-term exposure to low temperatures, commonly referred to as chilling, can lead to physiological effects collectively known as chill injury. Periodically increasing temperatures during long-term chilling has been shown to increase survival in many insects. However, the transcripts responsible for this increase in survival have never been characterized. Here, we present the first transcriptome-level analysis of increased longevity under fluctuating temperatures during chilling. Overwintering post-diapause quiescent alfalfa leafcutting bees (Megachile rotundata) were exposed to a constant temperature of 6°C, or 6°C with a daily fluctuation to 20°C. RNA was collected at two different time points, before and after mortality rates began to diverge between temperature treatments. Expression analysis identified differentially regulated transcripts between pairwise comparisons of both treatments and time points. Transcripts functioning in ion homeostasis, metabolic pathways and oxidative stress response were up-regulated in individuals exposed to periodic temperature fluctuations during chilling. The differential expression of these transcripts provides support for the hypotheses that fluctuating temperatures protect against chill injury by reducing oxidative stress and returning ion concentrations and metabolic function to more favorable levels. Additionally, exposure to fluctuating temperatures leads to increased expression of transcripts functioning in the immune response and neurogenesis, providing evidence for additional mechanisms associated with increased survival during chilling in M. rotundata. PMID:25657206

  15. Thermal history influences diapause development in the solitary bee Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Yocum, G D; Kemp, W P; Bosch, J; Knoblett, J N

    2006-01-01

    Respiration rate, time to pupation and the expression patterns of selected genes were examined during the diapause to post-diapause transition in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata held at constant 4 degrees C in winter storage. Respiration quotients were at or below 0.7 from December to May and then increased to over 0.8 in June and July. The time required for prepupae to reach the pupal stage following transfer to 29 degrees C decreased from 23 days in December to 10 days in July. HSP70 was expressed at a consistently high level in all the diapausing prepupae stored at 4 degrees C. In contrast, we demonstrated previously that HSP70 expression in diapausing prepupae maintained under field conditions began decreasing after December and was expressed at trace levels in the June samples. Transferring prepupae stored at 4 to 25 degrees C at monthly intervals from December to July induced a significant decrease in HSP70. Levels of HSC70 showed no changes during the transition to post-diapause development in prepupae maintained at 4 degrees C. Transferring the prepupae to 25 degrees C during the April-June time interval elicited an increase in HSC70 expression. HSP90 was expressed at a consistent level in prepupae stored at 4 degrees C but decreased to very low levels after being transferred to 25 degrees C in December-February prepupae: no decrease was noted in the April-July prepupae. Actin was expressed at trace levels in the diapausing prepupae maintained at 4 degrees C and increased slightly in the post-diapausing pupae. Transferring prepupae stored at 4 to 25 degrees C at monthly intervals from December to July induced an increase in actin expression. These results indicate that the level of gene expression for selected genes in diapausing and post-diapause bees is highly influenced by their thermal history. PMID:17049551

  16. Optimizing fluctuating thermal regime storage of developing Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the primary pollinator for alfalfa seed production in North America. Under current management practice developing pupae are incubated at 29ºC until the adults emerge for pollination. If unfavorable spring weather delays peak alfalfa bloom, bee m...

  17. Quantifying the area-wide dispersal patterns of honeybees in commercial alfalfa fields

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A study was conducted to examine the foraging range of honey bees in an agroecosystem dominated by a glyphosate-resistant Roundup Ready® (RR) alfalfa seed production field and several non-RR fields. Honey bee self-marking devices were attached to colonies originating from nine different apiary locat...

  18. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees (Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites-Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution. PMID:19296064

  19. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S.

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees ( Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites—Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution.

  20. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees (Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites-Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution.

  1. Variations in thermal history lead to dissynchronous diapause development

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the world’s most intensively managed solitary bee for commercial pollination. It is the primary pollinator for alfalfa seed production. Managed bees are subjected to thermal regimes for overwintering and subsequent adult emergence in time for al...

  2. Alfalfa witches'-broom

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa witches'-broom was first reported in 1969 in Australia and later in South Africa, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. More recently, specific phytoplasmas associated with alfalfa witches'-broom have been identified from symptomatic plants in the United States (Wisconsin), Italy, Lithuania, Oman, Ira...

  3. Manure on alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Many managers of crop-livestock operations could, or need to, utilize alfalfa fields in their manure management plans. The advantages to manure application on alfalfa need to be considered in the context of some potential concerns – plant damage from manure or wheel traffic, pathogen transmission in...

  4. Review of Roundup Ready Alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Roundup Ready (RR) alfalfa is the first forage species commercially released with a genetically modified trait. While not needed by all farmers who grow alfalfa, RR alfalfa may allow some farmers to more effectively establish alfalfa and control certain weed problems. Gene flow potential in alfalf...

  5. Alfalfa non-feed uses

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Non-feed uses for alfalfa such as biomass energy and phytoremediation could increase alfalfa acreage and improve farm profitability. The new bio-energy alfalfa and production system increased forage yield and ethanol production. New alfalfas with enhanced nitrogen cycling capacities would protect wa...

  6. Use of fluctuating thermal regimes and decreased oxygen during storage improves survival of post-diapause Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the world’s most intensively managed solitary bee. M. rotundata is used primarily for alfalfa seed production in the northwestern United States and western Canada, but also provides pollination services for carrot, hybrid canola, onion, various le...

  7. The Undergraduate ALFALFA Team

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koopmann, Rebecca A.; Higdon, S.; Balonek, T. J.; Haynes, M. P.; Giovanelli, R.

    2010-01-01

    The Undergraduate ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Team is a consortium of 16 institutions engaged in an NSF-sponsored program to promote undergraduate research within the extragalactic ALFALFA HI blind survey project. In the first two years of the program, more than three dozen undergraduate students have been closely involved in ALFALFA science, observing, and data analysis. A total of 34 students have attended the annual undergraduate workshops at Arecibo Observatory, interacting with faculty, their peers, ALFALFA experts, and Arecibo staff in lectures, group activities, tours, and observing runs. Team faculty have supervised 26 summer research projects and 14 academic year (e.g., senior thesis) projects. Students and faculty have traveled to Arecibo Observatory for observing runs and to national meetings to present their results. Eight Team schools have joined to work collaboratively to analyze HI properties of galaxy groups within the ALFALFA volume. (See O'Brien et al., O'Malley et al., and Odekon et al. posters, this meeting.) Students involved in this program are learning how science is accomplished in a large collaboration while contributing to the scientific goals of a major legacy survey. This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-0724918, AST-0725267, and AST-0725380.

  8. Behavioural effects of juvenile hormone and their influence on division of labour in leaf-cutting ant societies.

    PubMed

    Norman, Victoria C; Hughes, William O H

    2016-01-01

    Division of labour in social insects represents a major evolutionary transition, but the physiological mechanisms that regulate this are still little understood. Experimental work with honey bees, and correlational analyses in other social insects, have implicated juvenile hormone (JH) as a regulatory factor, but direct experimental evidence of behavioural effects of JH in social insects is generally lacking. Here, we used experimental manipulation of JH to show that raised JH levels in leaf-cutting ants results in workers becoming more active, phototactic and threat responsive, and engaging in more extranidal activity - behavioural changes that we show are all characteristic of the transition from intranidal work to foraging. These behavioural effects on division of labour suggest that the JH mediation of behaviour occurs across multiple independent evolutions of eusociality, and may be a key endocrine regulator of the division of labour which has produced the remarkable ecological and evolutionary success of social insects. PMID:26739685

  9. Weed Research in Alfalfa Seed Production 2007

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Weed control in alfalfa seed production is important to produce high quality and high yield of alfalfa seed. Herbicides were tested on a commercial field of alfalfa seed in central Washington in 2007. Flumioxzin slightly injured alfalfa when applied at 0.125 and 0.25 lb ai/a. to dormant alfalfa in M...

  10. Bee Pollen

    MedlinePlus

    ... bee venom, honey, or royal jelly. People take bee pollen for nutrition; as an appetite stimulant; to improve stamina and athletic performance; and for premature aging, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), hay fever (allergic ... Bee pollen is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) problems ...

  11. Ascosphaera subglobosa, a new spore cyst fungus from North America associated with the solitary bee Megachile rotundata.

    PubMed

    Wynns, Anja Amtoft; Jensen, Annette Bruun; Eilenberg, Jørgen; James, Rosalind

    2012-01-01

    Ascosphaera subglobosa (Eurotiomycetes: Onygenales) is newly described from the pollen provisions and nesting material of the solitary leaf-cutting bee Megachile rotundata in Canada and the western United States. This new species, related to A. atra and A. duoformis, is distinguished from other Ascosphaera species by its globose to subglobose ascospores, evanescent spore balls and unique nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences (ITS and LSU). PMID:21828215

  12. Increasing Alfalfa Rumen Bypass Protein

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa has one of the highest crude protein contents among forage crops, but is is rapidly and extensively degraded by rumen microorganisms. To examine differential protein digestion, three distinct varieties of alfalfa, grown from single plants, were subjected to fermentation in the rumen of a ca...

  13. Establishing alfalfa in silage corn

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    According to recent agricultural statistics, alfalfa was planted on 0.44 million acres and harvested from 2.2 million acres and silage corn was planted and harvested from 1.0 million acres per year in Wisconsin. Because both crops are often grown in rotation, alfalfa could be interseeded at corn pla...

  14. PCR diagnostic methods for Ascosphaera infections in bees.

    PubMed

    James, R R; Skinner, J S

    2005-10-01

    Fungi in the genus Ascosphaera are the causative agents of chalkbrood, a major disease affecting bee larval viability. Identification of individual Ascosphaera species based on morphological features has been difficult due to a lack of distinguishing characteristics. Most identifications are based on the size and shape of the ascomata, spore balls and conidia. Unfortunately, much overlap occurs in the size of these structures, and some Ascosphaera species will not produce sexual structures in vitro. We report a quick and reliable diagnostic method for identifying Ascosphaera infections in Megachile bees (leafcutting bees) using PCR markers that employ genus-specific primers for Ascosphaera, and species-specific primers for species known to be associated with Megachile spp. Using these methods, species identifications can be performed directly on bees, including asymptomatic individuals. Furthermore, the PCR markers can detect co-infections of multiple Ascosphaera species in a single host. We also identified a marker for Ascosphaera apis, the predominant cause of chalkbrood in Apis mellifera, the honey bee. Our diagnostic methods eliminate the need for culturing samples, and could be used to process a large number of field collected bee larvae. PMID:16214164

  15. Plants use macronutrients accumulated in leaf-cutting ant nests

    PubMed Central

    da S.L Sternberg, Leonel; Pinzon, Maria Camila; Moreira, Marcelo Z; Moutinho, Paulo; Rojas, Enith I; Herre, Edward Allen

    2006-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (Atta spp.) are known for their extensive defoliation in neo-tropical forests and savannahs. Debate about the costs and benefits of their activities has been largely dominated by their detrimental effects on agriculture and agroforestry. However, the large accumulation of nutrients and changes in soil properties near their nests might benefit plants growing near them. Here, we test whether trees use nutrients that accumulate in debris piles near, or refuse chambers within, leaf-cutting ant nests. At two tropical sites (a moist tropical forest site in Panama and a savannah site in Brazil), we fed leaves labelled with the stable isotope 15N to two species of leaf-cutting ants (Atta colombica and Atta laevigata) and traced the stable isotope label in plants surrounding the two nests. Thus, we show that plants in both sites access resources associated with Atta nests. In addition, leaf tissue of trees near the nests labelled with 15N had significantly higher calcium concentrations than those of distal, unlabelled conspecifics. It has been documented that calcium is a limiting macronutrient in tropical forests and savannahs. Atta may thus play an important ecological role through their long-distance transport, redistribution and concentration of critical macronutrients. PMID:17164194

  16. Cogeneration for existing alfalfa processing

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1984-01-01

    This study is designed to look at the application of gas-turbine generator cogeneration to a typical Nebraska alfalfa processing mill. The practicality is examined of installing a combustion turbine generator at a plant site and modifying existing facilities for generating electricity, utilizing the electricity generated, selling excess electricity to the power company and incorporating the turbine exhaust flow as a drying medium for the alfalfa. The results of this study are not conclusive but the findings are summarized.

  17. Improved storage of the pollinator, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the 3rd most common pollinator used for crop pollination in North America and low-temperature storage protocols are a critical component of M. rotundata management. There are four times during the production cycle that bees may need to be subj...

  18. Bee poison

    MedlinePlus

    ... stings contain a substance called venom. Africanized bee colonies are very sensitive to being disturbed. When they ... and blood vessels Severe decrease in blood pressure Collapse * Lungs: Difficulty breathing * Skin Hives * Itching Swelling and ...

  19. Managing the rotation from alfalfa to corn

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa provides many benefits to cropping systems. These benefits occur both during alfalfa production and during the subsequent crops that follow. Some of the common benefits during alfalfa production are increased soil organic matter, decreased soil erosion, and decreased soil nitrate leaching lo...

  20. Bee Stings & Their Consequences.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rupp, Robert M.

    1991-01-01

    Relevant information concerning bee stings is provided. Possible reactions to a bee sting and their symptoms, components of bee venom, diagnosis of hypersensitivity, and bee sting prevention and treatment are topics of discussion. The possibility of bee stings occurring during field trips and the required precautions are discussed. (KR)

  1. Bee Weekend.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beidler, Peter G.

    1987-01-01

    Recounts weekend at a bee farm, an activity for a required Lehigh University freshman English composition course designed to facilitate socialization and exchange of ideas and to provide experiences for students to write about. Uses excerpts from journals of nine students. (NEC)

  2. Alfalfa hay induced primary photosensitization in horses.

    PubMed

    Puschner, B; Chen, X; Read, D; Affolter, V K

    2016-05-01

    Photosensitization, also known as photodermatitis, occurs when phototoxic or photoactive substances accumulate in the skin and interact with sunlight to result in an often severe, crusting, itching or painful dermatitis in unpigmented and/or lightly haired areas of the skin. Primary photosensitization, caused by direct ingestion of photosensitizing agents, has been reported anecdotally in horses after ingestion of alfalfa hay. Between 2004 and 2014, several large outbreaks of primary photosensitization in horses fed primarily alfalfa hay were investigated in California. Alfalfa hay samples were collected and carefully examined for the presence of known photosensitizing plants and pesticide residues but none were identified. Select hay samples were evaluated for unusual fungal infestation and for phototoxicity assay using a specific Candida albicans assay; results were negative. In the 2004 outbreak, a feeding study was conducted with three horses exclusively fed alfalfa hay that was suspected to have caused the outbreak. Two weeks after ingestion of alfalfa hay, two horses developed several lesions in non-pigmented skin characterized as chronic ulcerative and necrotizing dermatitis with superficial vasculitis, which was consistent with photosensitization. In the 2014 outbreak, seven different implicated alfalfa hay samples were analyzed for chlorophyll a and b, and pheophorbide a. These compounds had been suspected to play a role in alfalfa-induced primary photosensitization. The chlorophyll contents ranged from 0.90 to 2.30 mg/g in the alfalfa hay samples, compared to 1.37 and 2.94 mg/g in locally grown alfalfa and orchard grass hay. The pheophorbide a levels ranged from 3.36 to 89.87 µg/g in alfalfa samples compared to 81.39 and 42.33 µg/g in control alfalfa and orchard grass hay samples. These findings eliminate chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and pheophorbide a as possible causes for alfalfa-hay induced primary photosensitization.

  3. Regeneration in Alfalfa Tissue Culture

    PubMed Central

    Skokut, Thomas A.; Manchester, Jill; Schaefer, Jacob

    1985-01-01

    The production of somatic embryos in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L., cv Regen S) is increased 5- to 10-fold by alanine and proline. However, utilization of nitrogen for synthesis of protein from alanine, proline, glutamate, and glycine is not qualitatively different, even though the latter two amino acids do not increase somatic embryo formation. These determinations were made by 15N labeling with detection by nuclear magnetic resonance. Overall metabolism of the nitrogen of proline, alanine, glutamate, and glycine is also similar in two regenerating and nonregenerating genotypes with similar germplasm, except that the levels of free amino acids are consistently higher in the nonregenerating line. In addition, when regeneration is suppressed in either of the two regenerating lines, the level of intracellular free amino acids increases. This increased level of metabolites is the only direct evidence provided by analysis of nitrogen metabolism of differences between the regenerating and nonregenerating states in alfalfa. PMID:16664455

  4. Genetic Engineering of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.).

    PubMed

    Wang, Dan; Khurshid, Muhammad; Sun, Zhan Min; Tang, Yi Xiong; Zhou, Mei Liang; Wu, Yan Min

    2016-01-01

    Alfalfa is excellent perennial legume forage for its extensive ecological adaptability, high nutrition value, palatability and biological nitrogen fixation. It plays a very important role in the agriculture, animal husbandry and ecological construction. It is cultivated in all continents. With the development of modern plant breeding and genetic engineering techniques, a large amount of work has been carried out on alfalfa. Here we summarize the recent research advances in genetic engineering of alfalfa breeding, including transformation, quality improvement, stress resistance and as a bioreactor. The review article can enables us to understand the research method, direction and achievements of genetic engineering technology of Alfalfa.

  5. Modeling Honey Bee Populations.

    PubMed

    Torres, David J; Ricoy, Ulises M; Roybal, Shanae

    2015-01-01

    Eusocial honey bee populations (Apis mellifera) employ an age stratification organization of egg, larvae, pupae, hive bees and foraging bees. Understanding the recent decline in honey bee colonies hinges on understanding the factors that impact each of these different age castes. We first perform an analysis of steady state bee populations given mortality rates within each bee caste and find that the honey bee colony is highly susceptible to hive and pupae mortality rates. Subsequently, we study transient bee population dynamics by building upon the modeling foundation established by Schmickl and Crailsheim and Khoury et al. Our transient model based on differential equations accounts for the effects of pheromones in slowing the maturation of hive bees to foraging bees, the increased mortality of larvae in the absence of sufficient hive bees, and the effects of food scarcity. We also conduct sensitivity studies and show the effects of parameter variations on the colony population.

  6. Modeling Honey Bee Populations

    PubMed Central

    Torres, David J.; Ricoy, Ulises M.; Roybal, Shanae

    2015-01-01

    Eusocial honey bee populations (Apis mellifera) employ an age stratification organization of egg, larvae, pupae, hive bees and foraging bees. Understanding the recent decline in honey bee colonies hinges on understanding the factors that impact each of these different age castes. We first perform an analysis of steady state bee populations given mortality rates within each bee caste and find that the honey bee colony is highly susceptible to hive and pupae mortality rates. Subsequently, we study transient bee population dynamics by building upon the modeling foundation established by Schmickl and Crailsheim and Khoury et al. Our transient model based on differential equations accounts for the effects of pheromones in slowing the maturation of hive bees to foraging bees, the increased mortality of larvae in the absence of sufficient hive bees, and the effects of food scarcity. We also conduct sensitivity studies and show the effects of parameter variations on the colony population. PMID:26148010

  7. Modeling Honey Bee Populations.

    PubMed

    Torres, David J; Ricoy, Ulises M; Roybal, Shanae

    2015-01-01

    Eusocial honey bee populations (Apis mellifera) employ an age stratification organization of egg, larvae, pupae, hive bees and foraging bees. Understanding the recent decline in honey bee colonies hinges on understanding the factors that impact each of these different age castes. We first perform an analysis of steady state bee populations given mortality rates within each bee caste and find that the honey bee colony is highly susceptible to hive and pupae mortality rates. Subsequently, we study transient bee population dynamics by building upon the modeling foundation established by Schmickl and Crailsheim and Khoury et al. Our transient model based on differential equations accounts for the effects of pheromones in slowing the maturation of hive bees to foraging bees, the increased mortality of larvae in the absence of sufficient hive bees, and the effects of food scarcity. We also conduct sensitivity studies and show the effects of parameter variations on the colony population. PMID:26148010

  8. Redesigning alfalfa to reduce protein losses

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa is often referred to as the “Queen of Forages” due to its relatively good digestibility, high protein, and ability to readily fix nitrogen. But there’s a big drawback to alfalfa – much of its protein is lost during the harvest and ensiling process, and more is lost in the rumen of livestock....

  9. Leaf endophyte load and fungal garden development in leaf-cutting ants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Previous work has shown that leaf-cutting ants prefer to cut leaf material that is relatively low in fungal endophyte content. Such a preference suggests that fungal endophytes exact a cost on the ants or on the development of their colonies. We hypothesized that endophytes may play a role in thei...

  10. The Dynamics of Plant Cell-Wall Polysaccharide Decomposition in Leaf-Cutting Ant Fungus Gardens

    PubMed Central

    Harholt, Jesper; Willats, William G. T.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2011-01-01

    The degradation of live plant biomass in fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants is poorly characterised but fundamental for understanding the mutual advantages and efficiency of this obligate nutritional symbiosis. Controversies about the extent to which the garden-symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus degrades cellulose have hampered our understanding of the selection forces that induced large scale herbivory and of the ensuing ecological footprint of these ants. Here we use a recently established technique, based on polysaccharide microarrays probed with antibodies and carbohydrate binding modules, to map the occurrence of cell wall polymers in consecutive sections of the fungus garden of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. We show that pectin, xyloglucan and some xylan epitopes are degraded, whereas more highly substituted xylan and cellulose epitopes remain as residuals in the waste material that the ants remove from their fungus garden. These results demonstrate that biomass entering leaf-cutting ant fungus gardens is only partially utilized and explain why disproportionally large amounts of plant material are needed to sustain colony growth. They also explain why substantial communities of microbial and invertebrate symbionts have evolved associations with the dump material from leaf-cutting ant nests, to exploit decomposition niches that the ant garden-fungus does not utilize. Our approach thus provides detailed insight into the nutritional benefits and shortcomings associated with fungus-farming in ants. PMID:21423735

  11. Bee-Wild about Pollinators!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, Bonnie; Kil, Jenny; Evans, Elaine; Koomen, Michele Hollingsworth

    2014-01-01

    With their sunny stripes and fuzzy bodies, bees are beloved--but unfortunately, they are in trouble. Bee decline, of both wild bees as well as managed bees like honey bees, has been in the news for the last several years. Habitat loss, diseases, pests, and pesticides have made it difficult for bees to survive in many parts of our world (Walsh…

  12. Chemical basis of the synergism and antagonism in microbial communities in the nests of leaf-cutting ants

    PubMed Central

    Schoenian, Ilka; Spiteller, Michael; Ghaste, Manoj; Wirth, Rainer; Herz, Hubert; Spiteller, Dieter

    2011-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants cultivate the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which serves as a major food source. This symbiosis is threatened by microbial pathogens that can severely infect L. gongylophorus. Microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants, mainly Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces, support the ants in defending their fungus gardens against infections by supplying antimicrobial and antifungal compounds. The ecological role of microorganisms in the nests of leaf-cutting ants can only be addressed in detail if their secondary metabolites are known. Here, we use an approach for the rapid identification of established bioactive compounds from microorganisms in ecological contexts by combining phylogenetic data, database searches, and liquid chromatography electrospray ionisation high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-HR-MS) screening. Antimycins A1–A4, valinomycins, and actinomycins were identified in this manner from Streptomyces symbionts of leaf-cutting ants. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging revealed the distribution of valinomycin directly on the integument of Acromyrmex echinatior workers. Valinomycins and actinomycins were also directly identified in samples from the waste of A. echinatior and A. niger leaf-cutting ants, suggesting that the compounds exert their antimicrobial and antifungal potential in the nests of leaf-cutting ants. Strong synergistic effects of the secondary meta-bolites produced by ant-associated Streptomyces were observed in the agar diffusion assay against Escovopsis weberi. Actinomycins strongly inhibit soil bacteria as well as other Streptomyces and Pseudonocardia symbionts. The antifungal antimycins are not only active against pathogenic fungi but also the garden fungus L. gongylophorus itself. In conclusion, secondary metabolites of microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants contribute to shaping the microbial communities within the nests of leaf-cutting ants. PMID:21245311

  13. A fluctuating thermal regime improves long-term survival of quiescent prepupal Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Rinehart, Joseph P; Yocum, George D; Kemp, William P; Greenlee, Kendra J

    2013-06-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee Megachile rotundata (F.) is the primary pollinator for alfalfa seed production. Under standard management conditions, the alfalfa leafcutting bee develops to the diapausing prepupal stage under field conditions, after which they are cold-stored at a static temperature until the following spring, when temperatures are raised and development resumes. We have assessed the effects of a fluctuating thermal regime (FTR) during overwintering cold storage, where bees were exposed to a daily 1 h pulse of 20 degrees C, and compared viability and insect quality to bees stored under a static thermal regime. Our results demonstrate that implementing an FTR protocol dramatically increases the survival of cold-stored alfalfa leafcutting bees, effectively extending their shelf-life into the subsequent growing season. These findings could substantially ameliorate significant obstacles that restrict the more widespread use of this important pollinator, such as the biological constraints that restrict its use in early blooming crops, and yearly fluctuations in bee prices that add significant financial uncertainty to end users. This study also strengthens a growing body of evidence that indicates FTR protocols are superior to static thermal regime protocols for insect cold storage.

  14. A fluctuating thermal regime improves long-term survival of quiescent prepupal Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Rinehart, Joseph P; Yocum, George D; Kemp, William P; Greenlee, Kendra J

    2013-06-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee Megachile rotundata (F.) is the primary pollinator for alfalfa seed production. Under standard management conditions, the alfalfa leafcutting bee develops to the diapausing prepupal stage under field conditions, after which they are cold-stored at a static temperature until the following spring, when temperatures are raised and development resumes. We have assessed the effects of a fluctuating thermal regime (FTR) during overwintering cold storage, where bees were exposed to a daily 1 h pulse of 20 degrees C, and compared viability and insect quality to bees stored under a static thermal regime. Our results demonstrate that implementing an FTR protocol dramatically increases the survival of cold-stored alfalfa leafcutting bees, effectively extending their shelf-life into the subsequent growing season. These findings could substantially ameliorate significant obstacles that restrict the more widespread use of this important pollinator, such as the biological constraints that restrict its use in early blooming crops, and yearly fluctuations in bee prices that add significant financial uncertainty to end users. This study also strengthens a growing body of evidence that indicates FTR protocols are superior to static thermal regime protocols for insect cold storage. PMID:23865170

  15. Prohexadione-calcium responsive alfalfa varieties ensure success of corn-interseeded alfalfa production systems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent USDA-NASS data indicate alfalfa and corn were planted on about 0.8 and 1.9 million hectares per year, respectively, in the Northeast, Great Lakes, Upper Midwest, and Northern Mountain regions the USA. Because both crops are often grown in rotation, alfalfa could be interseeded at corn plantin...

  16. Regulation and specificity of antifungal metapleural gland secretion in leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Yek, Sze Huei; Nash, David R; Jensen, Annette B; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2012-10-22

    Ants have paired metapleural glands (MGs) to produce secretions for prophylactic hygiene. These exocrine glands are particularly well developed in leaf-cutting ants, but whether the ants can actively regulate MG secretion is unknown. In a set of controlled experiments using conidia of five fungi, we show that the ants adjust the amount of MG secretion to the virulence of the fungus with which they are infected. We further applied fixed volumes of MG secretion of ants challenged with constant conidia doses to agar mats of the same fungal species. This showed that inhibition halos were significantly larger for ants challenged with virulent and mild pathogens/weeds than for controls and Escovopsis-challenged ants. We conclude that the MG defence system of leaf-cutting ants has characteristics reminiscent of an additional cuticular immune system, with specific and non-specific components, of which some are constitutive and others induced.

  17. Nest establishment, pollination efficiency, and reproductive success of Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in relation to resource availability in field enclosures.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L; Bosch, Jordi

    2010-02-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (Fabricius), is used to pollinate alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., for seed production in the United States and Canada. It is difficult to reliably sustain commercial M. rotundata populations in the United States because of problems with disease, parasites, predators, and unexplained mortality. One possible explanation for early immature mortality is that, relative to floral availability, superfluous numbers of bees are released in alfalfa fields where resources quickly become limited. Our objective was to determine how M. rotundata density affects bee nesting, pollination efficiency, and reproductive success. Various numbers of bees were released into enclosures on an alfalfa field, but only 10-90% of released female bees established nests. Therefore, a "bee density index" was derived for each enclosure from the number of established females and number of open flowers over time. As the density index increased, significant reductions occurred in the number of pollinated flowers, number of nests, and number of cells produced per bee, as well as the percentage of cells that produced viable prepupae by summer's end and the percentage that produced adult bees. The percentage of cells resulting in early brood mortality (i.e., pollen balls) significantly increased as the density index increased. We conclude that bee nest establishment, pollination efficiency, and reproductive success are compromised when bee densities are high relative to floral resource availability. Open field studies are needed to determine commercial bee densities that result in sustainable bee populations and adequate pollination for profitable alfalfa seed production. PMID:20146851

  18. Symbiotic adaptations in the fungal cultivar of leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    De Fine Licht, Henrik H; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Tunlid, Anders

    2014-12-01

    Centuries of artificial selection have dramatically improved the yield of human agriculture; however, strong directional selection also occurs in natural symbiotic interactions. Fungus-growing attine ants cultivate basidiomycete fungi for food. One cultivar lineage has evolved inflated hyphal tips (gongylidia) that grow in bundles called staphylae, to specifically feed the ants. Here we show extensive regulation and molecular signals of adaptive evolution in gene trancripts associated with gongylidia biosynthesis, morphogenesis and enzymatic plant cell wall degradation in the leaf-cutting ant cultivar Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. Comparative analysis of staphylae growth morphology and transcriptome-wide expressional and nucleotide divergence indicate that gongylidia provide leaf-cutting ants with essential amino acids and plant-degrading enzymes, and that they may have done so for 20-25 million years without much evolutionary change. These molecular traits and signatures of selection imply that staphylae are highly advanced coevolutionary organs that play pivotal roles in the mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal cultivars.

  19. Cash in on N credits when corn follows alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    When alfalfa is killed, some of the accumulated N in the soil and in alfalfa leaves, stems, and roots becomes available to subsequent crops. This increased N supply is known as the “alfalfa N credit,” which is the amount of fertilizer or available manure N a grower can save, resulting in higher net ...

  20. Widespread occurrence of honey bee pathogens in solitary bees.

    PubMed

    Ravoet, Jorgen; De Smet, Lina; Meeus, Ivan; Smagghe, Guy; Wenseleers, Tom; de Graaf, Dirk C

    2014-10-01

    Solitary bees and honey bees from a neighbouring apiary were screened for a broad set of putative pathogens including protists, fungi, spiroplasmas and viruses. Most sampled bees appeared to be infected with multiple parasites. Interestingly, viruses exclusively known from honey bees such as Apis mellifera Filamentous Virus and Varroa destructor Macula-like Virus were also discovered in solitary bees. A microsporidium found in Andrena vaga showed most resemblance to Nosema thomsoni. Our results suggest that bee hives represent a putative source of pathogens for other pollinators. Similarly, solitary bees may act as a reservoir of honey bee pathogens.

  1. The Undergraduate ALFALFA Team: Collaborative Research Projects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cannon, John M.; Koopmann, Rebecca A.; Haynes, Martha P.; Undergraduate ALFALFA Team, ALFALFA Team

    2016-01-01

    The NSF-sponsored Undergraduate ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Team (UAT) has allowed faculty and students from a wide range of public and private colleges and especially those with small astronomy programs to learn how science is accomplished in a large collaboration while contributing to the scientific goals of a legacy radio astronomy survey. The UAT has achieved this through close collaboration with ALFALFA PIs to identify research areas accessible to undergraduates. In this talk we will summarize the main research efforts of the UAT, including multiwavelength followup observations of ALFALFA sources, the UAT Collaborative Groups Project, the Survey of HI in Extremely Low-mass Dwarfs (SHIELD), and the Arecibo Pisces-Perseus Supercluster Survey. This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-0724918/0902211, AST-075267/0903394, AST-0725380, and AST-1211005.

  2. Aspartate Aminotransferase in Alfalfa Root Nodules 1

    PubMed Central

    Farnham, Mark W.; Griffith, Stephen M.; Miller, Susan S.; Vance, Carroll P.

    1990-01-01

    Aspartate aminotransferase (AAT) plays an important role in nitrogen metabolism in all plants and is particularly important in the assimilation of fixed N derived from the legume-Rhizoblum symbiosis. Two isozymes of AAT (AAT-1 and AAT-2) occur in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Antibodies against alfalfa nodule AAT-2 do not recognize AAT-1, and these antibodies were used to study AAT-2 expression in different tissues and genotypes of alfalfa and also in other legume and nonlegume species. Rocket immunoelectrophoresis indicated that nodules of 38-day-old alfalfa plants contained about eight times more AAT-2 than did nodules of 7-day-old plants, confirming the nodule-enhanced nature of this isozyme. AAT-2 was estimated to make up 16, 15, 5, and 8 milligrams per gram of total soluble protein in mature nodules, roots, stems, and leaves, respectively, of effective N2-fixing alfalfa. The concentration of AAT-2 in nodules of ineffective non-N2-fixing alafalfa genotypes was about 70% less than that of effective nodules. Western blots of soluble protein from nodules of nine legume species indicated that a 40-kilodalton polypeptide that reacts strongly with AAT-2 antibodies is conserved in legumes. Nodule AAT-2 immunoprecipitation data suggested that amide- and ureide-type legumes may differ in expression and regulation of the enzyme. In addition, Western blotting and immunoprecipitations of AAT activity demonstrated that antibodies against alfalfa AAT-2 are highly cross-reactive with AAT enzyme protein in leaves of soybean (Glycine max L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and maize (Zea mays L.) and in roots of maize, but not with AAT in soybean and wheat roots. Results from this study indicate that AAT-2 is structurally conserved and localized in similar tissues among diverse species. Images Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 PMID:16667896

  3. Glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa is compositionally equivalent to conventional alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.).

    PubMed

    McCann, Melinda C; Rogan, Glennon J; Fitzpatrick, Sharie; Trujillo, William A; Sorbet, Roy; Hartnell, Gary F; Riodan, Susan G; Nemeth, Margaret A

    2006-09-20

    Glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa (GTA) was developed to withstand over-the-top applications of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup agricultural herbicides. As a part of the safety assessment, GTA (designated J101 x J163) was grown under controlled field conditions at geographically diverse locations within the United States during the 2001 and 2003 field seasons along with control and other conventional alfalfa varieties for compositional assessment. Field trials were conducted using a randomized complete block design with four replication blocks at each site. Alfalfa forage was harvested at the late bud to early bloom stage from each plot at five field sites in 2001 (establishment year) and from four field sites in 2003 (third year of stand). The concentration of proximate constituents, fibers, amino acids, coumestrol, and minerals in the forage was measured. The results showed that the forage from GTA J101 x J163 is compositionally equivalent to forage from the control and conventional alfalfa varieties.

  4. N fixation versus N uptake in alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fertilizer N is the single most expensive input in nearly all crop-production systems and has been implicated in declining groundwater quality due to nitrate contamination. Commercial alfalfas are highly productive in the absence of nitrogen inputs because of the symbiotic association with soil bact...

  5. Rapid phenotyping of alfalfa root system architecture

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Root system architecture (RSA) influences the capacity of an alfalfa plant for symbiotic nitrogen fixation, nutrient uptake and water use efficiency, resistance to frost heaving, winterhardiness, and some pest and pathogen resistance. However, we currently lack a basic understanding of root system d...

  6. One World: Service Bees

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomason, Rhonda

    2009-01-01

    Bees are a vital part of the ecology. People of conscience are a vital part of society. In Nina Frenkel's "One World" poster, the bee is also a metaphor for the role of the individual in a diverse society. This article presents a lesson that uses Frenkel's poster to help early-grades students connect these ideas and explore both the importance of…

  7. Honey bee toxicology.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Reed M

    2015-01-01

    Insecticides are chemicals used to kill insects, so it is unsurprising that many insecticides have the potential to harm honey bees (Apis mellifera). However, bees are exposed to a great variety of other potentially toxic chemicals, including flavonoids and alkaloids that are produced by plants; mycotoxins produced by fungi; antimicrobials and acaricides that are introduced by beekeepers; and fungicides, herbicides, and other environmental contaminants. Although often regarded as uniquely sensitive to toxic compounds, honey bees are adapted to tolerate and even thrive in the presence of toxic compounds that occur naturally in their environment. The harm caused by exposure to a particular concentration of a toxic compound may depend on the level of simultaneous exposure to other compounds, pathogen levels, nutritional status, and a host of other factors. This review takes a holistic view of bee toxicology by taking into account the spectrum of xenobiotics to which bees are exposed. PMID:25341092

  8. Honey bee toxicology.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Reed M

    2015-01-01

    Insecticides are chemicals used to kill insects, so it is unsurprising that many insecticides have the potential to harm honey bees (Apis mellifera). However, bees are exposed to a great variety of other potentially toxic chemicals, including flavonoids and alkaloids that are produced by plants; mycotoxins produced by fungi; antimicrobials and acaricides that are introduced by beekeepers; and fungicides, herbicides, and other environmental contaminants. Although often regarded as uniquely sensitive to toxic compounds, honey bees are adapted to tolerate and even thrive in the presence of toxic compounds that occur naturally in their environment. The harm caused by exposure to a particular concentration of a toxic compound may depend on the level of simultaneous exposure to other compounds, pathogen levels, nutritional status, and a host of other factors. This review takes a holistic view of bee toxicology by taking into account the spectrum of xenobiotics to which bees are exposed.

  9. Edge-induced narrowing of dietary diversity in leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Falcão, P F; Pinto, S R R; Wirth, R; Leal, I R

    2011-06-01

    Much of the ecological alteration faced by human-modified Neotropical forests can be assigned to edge effects, including the proliferation of some voracious herbivores such as leaf-cutting ants. However, the underlying mechanisms/impacts of tropical forest edge on herbivores performance and their foraging behaviour (e.g. dietary diversity) have rarely been investigated. The goal of this study was, therefore, to determine whether and how the annual diet (i.e. species richness, diversity and the relative proportion of pioneer versus non-pioneer species of plant materials) of Atta cephalotes colonies differs in the forest edge versus the interior zone of a large remnant of Atlantic forest in northeastern Brazil. Among the key results was a strong habitat effect on dietary diversity (explaining ca. 40-50% of the variation), which, in edge colonies, decreased approximately by one fourth compared to interior colonies (inverse of Simpson's index: 3.7±0.84 versus 4.99±0.95). There was a predominance of leaf fragments collected from pioneer species in the diet in both habitat (86% in edge and 80.4% in interior). Edge colonies collected proportionally more fragments from pioneer species than colonies located in the forest interior. Our results are the first to demonstrate an edge-mediated relaxation of dietary restrictions in leaf-cutting ants. These findings render robust support to previous evidence indicating the reduction of bottom-up forces as a key factor explaining both edge-induced hyper-abundance and increased herbivory of leaf-cutting ants in human-modified Neotropical landscapes.

  10. [Soil dryness characteristics of alfalfa cropland and optimal growth years of alfalfa on the Loess Plateau of central Gansu, China].

    PubMed

    Luo, Zhu-zhu; Li, Ling-ling; Niu, Yi-ning; Cai, Li-qun; Zhang, Ren-zhi; Xie, Jun-hong

    2015-10-01

    This paper investigated soil moisture in alfalfa (Medicago sativa) cropland with different growth years (1, 3, 8, 12 and 14 years) and discussed the optimum growth years of alfalfa on the Loess Plateau of central Gansu. The results showed that the soil moisture along 0-300 cm soil profile of alfalfa croplands with different growth years was obviously lower than that of the local soil stable moisture. The soil water contents in croplands with alfalfa that had grown for 12 and 14 years were only 9.2% and 7.1% of local soil stable moisture, respectively, which were even lower than the lower limit of alfalfa growth. The average soil dryness indexes along 0-300 cm soil profile in 1, 3, 8, 12 and 14 years alfalfa croplands were 125.4%, 30.5%, 18.4%, -34.2% and -83.3% respectively. The results indicated that soil dryness occurred to varying degrees with different growth years except croplands with alfalfa grown for 1 year. With the increase of growth years of alfalfa, the soil dryness intensity increased and the soil dryness rate decreased. According to the soil moisture and alfalfa productivity results in this study, it could be concluded that the optimum growth years of alfalfa are 8-10 years in semiarid areas of the Loess Plateau.

  11. The ALFALFA HI Absorption Pilot Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macdonald, Erin; Darling, J.; ALFALFA Team

    2009-01-01

    We present the results of a pilot project to search for HI 21 cm absorption in the Arecibo Legacy Fast Arecibo L-Band Feed Array (ALFALFA) Survey. This project is the first to conduct a "blind" wide-area search for HI absorption in the local universe. The search covered 517.0 deg2 spanning 10.9h < α < 14.95h and +7.7o < δ < +16.3o. The ALFALFA survey covers -650 km s-1 < cz < 17,500 km s-1, for a Δz = 0.054 along each line of sight (11% of the cz span is lost to radio frequency interference and Galactic HI emission). There are 243 sources toward which all damped Lyα systems (N(HI) > 2x1020 cm-2) could be detected, and 3282 sources toward which N(HI) > 2x1021 cm-2 columns could be detected (assuming 100 K spin temperature, 30 km s-1 line width, and unity filling factor). We performed Green Bank Telescope follow-up observations of 13 possible absorption lines and the 250 strong sources (> 220 mJy) in our survey region. One previously known intrinsic HI absorption line in UGC 6081 was re-detected, but no additional lines were identified in the survey region. Nevertheless, this pilot project demonstrates the value and feasibility of large-area absorption line searches commensal with emission line surveys. An absorption line search of the entire 7000 deg2 ALFALFA Survey is a worthwhile undertaking, not only to identify HI absorption systems in the local universe, but to measure the fraction of HI gas not accounted for by emission line surveys. ALFALFA is a legacy survey at the Arecibo Observatory supported by NAIC and NSF.

  12. Trade-offs in group living: transmission and disease resistance in leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, William O H; Eilenberg, Jørgen; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2002-01-01

    Sociality can be associated with significant costs due to the increased risk of disease transmission. However, in some organisms the costs may be offset by benefits due to improvements in defences against parasites. To examine this possible trade-off between infection risk and disease resistance, we used Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants and the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae as the model system. Ants exposed to the parasite were found to have substantially improved survival when they were kept with nest-mates, while the cost of being in a group in terms of increased disease transmission was very low. The efficiency of transmission is described by the transmission parameter, which decreased with increasing host density showing that transmission rates are inversely density dependent. Both grooming and antibiotic secretions appeared to be important in resistance against the parasite, with the defences of small workers being particularly effective. The results indicate that leaf-cutting ant colonies may have much greater resistance to disease than would be predicted from the high densities of host individuals within them. Unlike most organisms, group living in these ants may actually be associated with a net benefit in terms of disease dynamics. PMID:12350269

  13. Leaf-cutting ants: an unexpected microenvironment holding human opportunistic black fungi.

    PubMed

    Duarte, A P M; Attili-Angelis, D; Baron, N C; Forti, L C; Pagnocca, F C

    2014-09-01

    Fungus-growing ants of the genus Atta are known for their leaf-cutting habit, a lifestyle they have maintained since their 50-million-year-old co-evolution with a mutualistic fungus, cultivated as food. Recent studies have highlighted that, in addition to the mutualistic fungus, nests of ants harbor a great diversity of microbial communities. Such microorganisms include the dematiaceous fungi, which are characterized by their melanized cell walls. In order to contribute to the knowledge of fungal ecology, as well as opportunistic strains that may be dispersed by these social insects, we isolated and identified fungi carried by gynes of Atta capiguara and Atta laevigata, collected from colonies located in Fazenda Santana, Botucatu (São Paulo, Brazil). The isolation was carried out using the oil flotation technique, which is suitable for the growth of black fungi. Inoculated plates were incubated at 25 and 35 °C until black cultures were visible (20-45 days). Isolates were identified based on microscopic and molecular characteristics. Some isolated genera were: Cladophialophora, Cladosporium, Exophiala, Ochroconis, Phaeococcomyces, Phialophora and Penidiella. Hyaline species were also found. The results obtained from this work showed that leaf-cutting gynes may contribute to the dispersal of opportunistic dematiaceous fungi. It is suggested that more attention should be paid to this still unexplored subject. PMID:24969946

  14. Leucoagaricus gongylophorus uses leaf-cutting ants to vector proteolytic enzymes towards new plant substrate.

    PubMed

    Kooij, Pepijn W; Rogowska-Wrzesinska, Adelina; Hoffmann, Daniel; Roepstorff, Peter; Boomsma, Jacobus J; Schiøtt, Morten

    2014-05-01

    The mutualism between leaf-cutting ants and their fungal symbionts revolves around processing and inoculation of fresh leaf pulp in underground fungus gardens, mediated by ant fecal fluid deposited on the newly added plant substrate. As herbivorous feeding often implies that growth is nitrogen limited, we cloned and sequenced six fungal proteases found in the fecal fluid of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior and identified them as two metalloendoproteases, two serine proteases and two aspartic proteases. The metalloendoproteases and serine proteases showed significant activity in fecal fluid at pH values of 5-7, but the aspartic proteases were inactive across a pH range of 3-10. Protease activity disappeared when the ants were kept on a sugar water diet without fungus. Relative to normal mycelium, both metalloendoproteases, both serine proteases and one aspartic protease were upregulated in the gongylidia, specialized hyphal tips whose only known function is to provide food to the ants. These combined results indicate that the enzymes are derived from the ingested fungal tissues. We infer that the five proteases are likely to accelerate protein extraction from plant cells in the leaf pulp that the ants add to the fungus garden, but regulatory functions such as activation of proenzymes are also possible, particularly for the aspartic proteases that were present but without showing activity. The proteases had high sequence similarities to proteolytic enzymes of phytopathogenic fungi, consistent with previous indications of convergent evolution of decomposition enzymes in attine ant fungal symbionts and phytopathogenic fungi.

  15. A Buzzing Bee.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Donovan, Edward P.; Barnes, Eb

    1996-01-01

    Presents an activity enabling students of grades four to nine to construct a "Buzzing Bee" model using simple materials. Provides students with the opportunity to explore the concepts of sound and the Doppler effect. (MKR)

  16. Residues of five pesticides in field-treated alfalfa seeds and alfalfa sprouts.

    PubMed

    Archer, T E; Gauer, W O

    1985-08-01

    Residues of five different pesticides applied to alfalfa seed crops were determined in the harvested seeds and in sprouts grown from these seeds. Although seeds are usually used for future production of alfalfa plants, some of these seeds may be sprouted for human food consumption. The pesticides studied--aldicarb (Temik), chlorothalonil (Bravo), chlorpyrifos (Lorsban), methamidophos (Monitor) and propargite (Comite)--were applied at a normal usage rate and at two to three times that rate. Residues on the seeds and sprouts, if any, were insignificant at rates of application.

  17. Magnetic effect on dancing bees

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindauer, M.; Martin, H.

    1972-01-01

    Bee sensitivity to the earth's magnetic field is studied. Data cover sensitivity range and the use of magnetoreception for orientation purposes. Experimental results indicate bee orientation is aided by gravity fields when the magnetic field is compensated.

  18. Satellite images reveal patterns in crop rotations with alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Crops that follow alfalfa in rotation usually benefit from: i) reduced nitrogen (N) requirement from fertilizer or manure; ii) increased yield potential than when following other crops; and iii) reduced weed, insect, and disease pressure. Although benefits of alfalfa in crop rotations often depend o...

  19. Persistence and diversity of rhizobial bacteria nodulating alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Most alfalfa seed is treated with an inoculant consisting of several strains of the nitrogen fixing bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti to enhance nodulation of seedlings. One strategy for increasing alfalfa forage yields, particularly in less fertile sites, is selection and use of highly competitive a...

  20. Drying and Quality Characteristics of Different Components of Alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This study investigated the effect of air temperature (100' 200 ' ) and velocity (0. 15' 0. 45 m/s) on drying characteristics and quality of different alfalfa components. The chopped alfalfa components, including stems, crushed stems, crushed stems with attached leaves, and leaves were used for the ...

  1. Improvements in alfalfa subspecies falcata germplasms and their hybrid performance

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Autotetraploid yellowed flowered alfalfa (falcata) is distinct from purple flowered alfalfa. Collected wild falcata germplasm has poor agronomic performance. Pre-breeding efforts to improve falcata germplasm have occurred over the years, resulting in varieties or germplasms such as: WISFAL, AC Yell...

  2. Broadening the U.S. alfalfa germplasm base

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Over 4000 alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) plant introductions (PIs) exist in the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). NAAIC has discussed/proposed pre-breeding efforts to utilize this germplasm for creating pre-commercial alfalfa germplasm. Funding constraints have been one impediment to th...

  3. Predicting fertilizer nitrogen response in corn following alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Correct prediction and application of alfalfa nitrogen (N) credits to first-year corn can reduce fertilizer N costs for growers, reduce over-application of N, and reduce the potential for water contamination. For decades, researchers have found that first-year corn following alfalfa often requires n...

  4. Opportunities exist to improve alfalfa and manure nitrogen crediting in corn following alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A survey of Minnesota growers was conducted to determine adoption of extension N rate guidelines for fertilizer and manure for first- and second-year corn (Zea mays L.) following alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) (AC and ACC, respectively) during 2009 to 2011. There were 421 and 273 valid responses for A...

  5. Opportunities exist to improve alfalfa and manure nitrogen crediting in corn following alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A survey was conducted in 2012 to evaluate the acceptance of fertilizer and manure N extension N rate guidelines for corn (Zea mays L.) grown as the first (AC) and second (ACC) crop following alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) during 2009 to 2011 in Minnesota. There were 421 valid responses for AC and 273...

  6. Alfalfa variety development. Minnesota Agripower Project, Task II research report

    SciTech Connect

    Lamb, J.F.S.; Samac, D.A.; Sheaffer, C.C.

    1997-10-30

    This report briefly summarizes preliminary results from crossbreeding alfalfa to develop desirable characteristics for a dedicated biomass feed stock. The varieties development is part of a larger project which includes preparation and gasification of the alfalfa stems for energy production, and use of the co-product alfalfa leaves in livestock feed. The desired alfalfa traits include winter hardiness, resistance to major pathogens, resistance to foliar disease complexes, many thick, tall, solid, non-lodging stems with high lignin content, delayed flowering, and high quality leaves retained through harvest. Currently no alfalfa varieties meet these criteria. Three crosses were made using old European varieties, with thick stems, and modern resistant varieties. The crossbreeds showed some resistance to diseases, but increased resistance is needed to maximize leaf and steam yield. 1 tab.

  7. Bee Line BR-1 Racer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1926-01-01

    Bee Line BR-1 Racer: The Bee Line BR-1 was a racing aircraft used to compete in the 1922 Pulitzer Air Race. The aircraft and its sister ship, the Bee Line BR-2, came to Langley and the NACA in 1926. The BR-1 is shown in the NACA hangar at Langley Field in early 1926.

  8. Occurrence of transgenic feral alfalfa (Medicago sativa subsp. sativa L.) in alfalfa seed production areas in the United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Genetically-engineered glyphosate-resistant alfalfa (Medicago sativa subsp. sativa) was commercialized in 2011. The potential risk of transgene dispersal into the environment is not clearly understood for alfalfa, a perennial crop that is cross-pollinated by insects. We gathered data on feral and tr...

  9. Challenges and opportunities for improved N management in corn following alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    With some exceptions, the alfalfa nitrogen (N) credit usually eliminates the need for manure N and/or fertilizer N to economically optimize yield of the first corn crop following alfalfa. Alfalfa also can provide nearly one-half or more of the N requirement for the second corn crop following alfalfa...

  10. Caste-specific RNA editomes in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qiye; Wang, Zongji; Lian, Jinmin; Schiøtt, Morten; Jin, Lijun; Zhang, Pei; Zhang, Yanyan; Nygaard, Sanne; Peng, Zhiyu; Zhou, Yang; Deng, Yuan; Zhang, Wenwei; Boomsma, Jacobus J.; Zhang, Guojie

    2014-01-01

    Eusocial insects have evolved the capacity to generate adults with distinct morphological, reproductive and behavioural phenotypes from the same genome. Recent studies suggest that RNA editing might enhance the diversity of gene products at the post-transcriptional level, particularly to induce functional changes in the nervous system. Using head samples from the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior, we compare RNA editomes across eusocial castes, identifying ca. 11,000 RNA editing sites in gynes, large workers and small workers. Those editing sites map to 800 genes functionally enriched for neurotransmission, circadian rhythm, temperature response, RNA splicing and carboxylic acid biosynthesis. Most A. echinatior editing sites are species specific, but 8–23% are conserved across ant subfamilies and likely to have been important for the evolution of eusociality in ants. The level of editing varies for the same site between castes, suggesting that RNA editing might be a general mechanism that shapes caste behaviour in ants. PMID:25266559

  11. A colony-level response to disease control in a leaf-cutting ant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hart, Adam; Bot, A. N. M.; Brown, Mark

    2002-03-01

    Parasites and pathogens often impose significant costs on their hosts. This is particularly true for social organisms, where the genetic structure of groups and the accumulation of contaminated waste facilitate disease transmission. In response, hosts have evolved many mechanisms of defence against parasites. Here we present evidence that Atta colombica, a leaf-cutting ant, may combat Escovopsis, a dangerous parasite of Atta's garden fungus, through a colony-level behavioural response. In A. colombica, garden waste is removed from within the colony and transported to the midden - an external waste dump - where it is processed by a group of midden workers. We found that colonies infected with Escovopsis have higher numbers of workers on the midden, where Escovopsis is deposited. Further, midden workers are highly effective in dispersing newly deposited waste away from the dumping site. Thus, the colony-level task allocation strategies of the Atta superorganism may change in response to the threat of disease to a third, essential party.

  12. Relationship of crop radiance to alfalfa agronomic values

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tucker, C. J.; Elgin, J. H., Jr.; Mcmurtrey, J. E., III

    1980-01-01

    Red and photographic infrared spectral data of alfalfa were collected at the time of the third and fourth cuttings using a hand-held radiometer for the earlier alfalfa cutting. Significant linear and non-linear correlation coefficients were found between the spectral variables and plant height, biomass, forage water content, and estimated canopy cover. For the alfalfa of the later cutting, which had experienced a period of severe drought stress which limited growth, the spectral variables were found to be highly correlated with the estimated drought scores.

  13. Bee a Reader.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hayes, Holly, Ed.; Marmolejo, Jill, Ed.

    This publication is a tutor's guide to teaching basic literacy using The Fresno Bee, a California newspaper, as the primary "textbook." The course is aimed at English-speaking adults and is designed to teach reading in an interesting and entertaining way that promotes self-motivated study, both in the classroom and at home. The guide is divided…

  14. [Bee, wax and honey].

    PubMed

    de Laguérenne, Claude

    2003-01-01

    The archives of Nantes contain two manuscripts of the XVIIth century from which we found 63 formulae which enter bees, honey and wax. Our study concerns these various galeniques forms for internal use or external used in therapeutics and in beauty care.

  15. Impact of managed honey bee viruses on wild bees.

    PubMed

    Tehel, Anja; Brown, Mark Jf; Paxton, Robert J

    2016-08-01

    Several viruses found in the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) have recently been detected in other bee species, raising the possibility of spill-over from managed to wild bee species. Alternatively, these viruses may be shared generalists across flower-visiting insects. Here we explore the former hypothesis, pointing out weaknesses in the current evidence, particularly in relation to deformed wing virus (DWV), and highlighting research areas that may help test it. Data so far suggest that DWV spills over from managed to wild bee species and has the potential to cause population decline. That DWV and other viruses of A. mellifera are found in other bee species needs to be considered for the sustainable management of bee populations.

  16. Impact of managed honey bee viruses on wild bees.

    PubMed

    Tehel, Anja; Brown, Mark Jf; Paxton, Robert J

    2016-08-01

    Several viruses found in the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) have recently been detected in other bee species, raising the possibility of spill-over from managed to wild bee species. Alternatively, these viruses may be shared generalists across flower-visiting insects. Here we explore the former hypothesis, pointing out weaknesses in the current evidence, particularly in relation to deformed wing virus (DWV), and highlighting research areas that may help test it. Data so far suggest that DWV spills over from managed to wild bee species and has the potential to cause population decline. That DWV and other viruses of A. mellifera are found in other bee species needs to be considered for the sustainable management of bee populations. PMID:27351468

  17. Biological and Molecular Variability of Alfalfa mosaic virus Affecting Alfalfa Crop in Riyadh Region.

    PubMed

    Al-Saleh, Mohammed A; Amer, Mahmoud A

    2013-12-01

    In 2011-2012, sixty nine samples were collected from alfalfa plants showing viral infection symptoms in Riyadh region. Mechanical inoculation with sap prepared from two collected samples out of twenty five possitive for Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) by ELISA were produced systemic mosaic on Vigna unguiculata and Nicotiana tabacum, local lesion on Chenopodium amaranticolor and C. quinoa. Vicia faba indicator plants that induce mosaic and mottle with AMV-Sagir isolate and no infection with AMV-Wadi aldawasser isolate. Approximately 700-bp was formed by RT-PCR using AMV coat protein specific primer. Samples from infected alfalfa gave positive results, while healthy plant gave negative result using dot blot hybridization assay. The nucleotide sequences of the Saudi isolates were compared with corresponding viral nucleotide sequences reported in GenBank. The obtained results showed that the AMV from Australia, Brazil, Puglia and China had the highest similarity with AMV-Sajer isolate. While, the AMV from Spain and New Zealaland had the lowest similarity with AMV-Sajer and Wadi aldawasser isolates. The data obtained in this study has been deposited in the GenBank under the accession numbers KC434083 and KC434084 for AMV-Sajer and AMV- Wadialdawasser respectively. This is the first report regarding the gnetic make up of AMV in Saudi Arabia. PMID:25288969

  18. Biological and Molecular Variability of Alfalfa mosaic virus Affecting Alfalfa Crop in Riyadh Region

    PubMed Central

    AL-Saleh, Mohammed A.; Amer, Mahmoud A.

    2013-01-01

    In 2011–2012, sixty nine samples were collected from alfalfa plants showing viral infection symptoms in Riyadh region. Mechanical inoculation with sap prepared from two collected samples out of twenty five possitive for Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) by ELISA were produced systemic mosaic on Vigna unguiculata and Nicotiana tabacum, local lesion on Chenopodium amaranticolor and C. quinoa. Vicia faba indicator plants that induce mosaic and mottle with AMV-Sagir isolate and no infection with AMV-Wadi aldawasser isolate. Approximately 700-bp was formed by RT-PCR using AMV coat protein specific primer. Samples from infected alfalfa gave positive results, while healthy plant gave negative result using dot blot hybridization assay. The nucleotide sequences of the Saudi isolates were compared with corresponding viral nucleotide sequences reported in GenBank. The obtained results showed that the AMV from Australia, Brazil, Puglia and China had the highest similarity with AMV-Sajer isolate. While, the AMV from Spain and New Zealaland had the lowest similarity with AMV-Sajer and Wadi aldawasser isolates. The data obtained in this study has been deposited in the GenBank under the accession numbers KC434083 and KC434084 for AMV-Sajer and AMV- Wadialdawasser respectively. This is the first report regarding the gnetic make up of AMV in Saudi Arabia. PMID:25288969

  19. Red mason bees cannot compete with honey bees for floral resources in a cage experiment.

    PubMed

    Hudewenz, Anika; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2015-11-01

    Intensive beekeeping to mitigate crop pollination deficits and habitat loss may cause interspecific competition between bees. Studies show negative correlations between flower visitation of honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wild bees, but effects on the reproduction of wild bees were not proven. Likely reasons are that honey bees can hardly be excluded from controls and wild bee nests are generally difficult to detect in field experiments. The goal of this study was to investigate whether red mason bees (Osmia bicornis) compete with honey bees in cages in order to compare the reproduction of red mason bees under different honey bee densities. Three treatments were applied, each replicated in four cages of 18 m³ with 38 red mason bees in all treatments and 0, 100, and 300 honey bees per treatment with 10-20% being foragers. Within the cages, the flower visitation and interspecific displacements from flowers were observed. Niche breadths and resource overlaps of both bee species were calculated, and the reproduction of red mason bees was measured. Red mason bees visited fewer flowers when honey bees were present. Niche breadth of red mason bees decreased with increasing honey bee density while resource overlaps remained constant. The reproduction of red mason bees decreased in cages with honey bees. In conclusion, our experimental results show that in small and isolated flower patches, wild bees can temporarily suffer from competition with honey bees. Further research should aim to test for competition on small and isolated flower patches in real landscapes. PMID:26640681

  20. Red mason bees cannot compete with honey bees for floral resources in a cage experiment.

    PubMed

    Hudewenz, Anika; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2015-11-01

    Intensive beekeeping to mitigate crop pollination deficits and habitat loss may cause interspecific competition between bees. Studies show negative correlations between flower visitation of honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wild bees, but effects on the reproduction of wild bees were not proven. Likely reasons are that honey bees can hardly be excluded from controls and wild bee nests are generally difficult to detect in field experiments. The goal of this study was to investigate whether red mason bees (Osmia bicornis) compete with honey bees in cages in order to compare the reproduction of red mason bees under different honey bee densities. Three treatments were applied, each replicated in four cages of 18 m³ with 38 red mason bees in all treatments and 0, 100, and 300 honey bees per treatment with 10-20% being foragers. Within the cages, the flower visitation and interspecific displacements from flowers were observed. Niche breadths and resource overlaps of both bee species were calculated, and the reproduction of red mason bees was measured. Red mason bees visited fewer flowers when honey bees were present. Niche breadth of red mason bees decreased with increasing honey bee density while resource overlaps remained constant. The reproduction of red mason bees decreased in cages with honey bees. In conclusion, our experimental results show that in small and isolated flower patches, wild bees can temporarily suffer from competition with honey bees. Further research should aim to test for competition on small and isolated flower patches in real landscapes.

  1. AmeriFlux US-Tw3 Twitchell Alfalfa

    SciTech Connect

    Baldocchi, Dennis

    2016-01-01

    This is the AmeriFlux version of the carbon flux data for the site US-Tw3 Twitchell Alfalfa. Site Description - The Twitchell Alfalfa site is an alfalfa field owned by the state of California and leased to third parties for farming. The tower was installed on May 24, 2013. This site and the surrounding region are part of the San Joaquin - Sacramento River Delta drained beginning in the 1850's and subsequently used for agriculture. The field has been alfalfa for X years…., Crop rotation occurs every 5-6 years. The site is harvested by mowing and bailing several times per year. The field is fallow typically between November and February. The site is irrigated by periodically-flooded ditches surrounding the field. The site is irrigated by raising, and subsequently lowering the water table??

  2. Cantharidin decreases in vitro digestion of alfalfa and smooth bromegrass.

    PubMed

    Lenssen, A W; Blodgett, S L; Higgins, R A; Nagaraja, T G; Posler, G L; Broce, A B

    1990-10-01

    Blister beetles (Coleoptera:Meloidae) containing the toxin cantharidin can be incorporated with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L) during forage conservation. Cantharidin inadvertently ingested with animal feed may cause illness or death. Little information is available on the effects of cantharidin on ruminant microbial digestion. The objective of our study was to determine cantharidin effects on digestibility of alfalfa and smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss) by measuring in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM) and cell wall digestion (CWD). Alfalfa dry matter digestibility, measured after IVDDM at 48 and 96 h fermentation periods, decreased as cantharidin concentration increased. Increasing cantharidin concentration also significantly reduced IVDDM of smooth bromegrass at 24 and 96 h digestion time. The CWD of alfalfa and smooth bromegrass decreased as cantharidin concentration increased. These results indicate that ingestion of cantharidin by ruminants may decrease microbial digestion of fibrous feeds and therefore may decrease the efficiency of feed utilization by ruminants.

  3. Genetic Variation Within and Among Collections of Falata Alfalfas

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Yellow-flowered alfalfa (Medicago sativa subsp. falcata) persists in low precipitation rangeland and grassland environments. The origin of Medicago includes Russia, Mongolia, Scandinavia, and China (Hansen, 1909; Lesins and Lesins, 1979). The presence of legumes improves rangelands and grasslands ...

  4. Cantharidin decreases in vitro digestion of alfalfa and smooth bromegrass.

    PubMed

    Lenssen, A W; Blodgett, S L; Higgins, R A; Nagaraja, T G; Posler, G L; Broce, A B

    1990-10-01

    Blister beetles (Coleoptera:Meloidae) containing the toxin cantharidin can be incorporated with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L) during forage conservation. Cantharidin inadvertently ingested with animal feed may cause illness or death. Little information is available on the effects of cantharidin on ruminant microbial digestion. The objective of our study was to determine cantharidin effects on digestibility of alfalfa and smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss) by measuring in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM) and cell wall digestion (CWD). Alfalfa dry matter digestibility, measured after IVDDM at 48 and 96 h fermentation periods, decreased as cantharidin concentration increased. Increasing cantharidin concentration also significantly reduced IVDDM of smooth bromegrass at 24 and 96 h digestion time. The CWD of alfalfa and smooth bromegrass decreased as cantharidin concentration increased. These results indicate that ingestion of cantharidin by ruminants may decrease microbial digestion of fibrous feeds and therefore may decrease the efficiency of feed utilization by ruminants. PMID:2238434

  5. Alfalfa Root Flavonoid Production Is Nitrogen Regulated.

    PubMed Central

    Coronado, C.; Zuanazzi, JAS.; Sallaud, C.; Quirion, J. C.; Esnault, R.; Husson, H. P.; Kondorosi, A.; Ratet, P.

    1995-01-01

    Flavonoids produced by legume roots are signal molecules acting both as chemoattractants and nod gene inducers for the symbiotic Rhizobium partner. Combined nitrogen inhibits the establishment of the symbiosis. To know whether nitrogen nutrition could act at the level of signal production, we have studied the expression of flavonoid biosynthetic genes as well as the production of flavonoids in the roots of plants grown under nitrogen-limiting or nonlimiting conditions. We show here that growth of the plant under nitrogen-limiting conditions results in the enhancement of expression of the flavonoid biosynthesis genes chalcone synthase and isoflavone reductase and in an increase of root flavonoid and isoflavonoid production as well as in the Rhizobium meliloti nod gene-inducing activity of the root extract. These results indicate that in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) roots, the production of flavonoids can be influenced by the nitrogen nutrition of the plant. PMID:12228491

  6. 21 Cm Tomography With the Alfalfa Survey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fry, Alexander B.; Boutan, C.; Carroll, P. A.; Hazelton, B.; Morales, M. F.

    2011-01-01

    Neutral hydrogen (HI) 21cm intensity mapping, or HI tomography is a promising technique being utilized by several upcoming experiments (LOFAR, MWA, SKA). The measurement of volume averaged neutral hydrogen mass density in synoptic sky surveys can be applied to the study of the HI mass function, the distribution of large scale structure, the reionization of the universe, and the expansion history of the universe through such standard rulers as baryonic acoustic oscillations. In order to prepare for future experiments, in particular the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), we analyze the Arecbo Legacy Fast ALFA (Arecibo L-Band Feed Array) Feed Array (ALFALFA) survey data to probe the spatial density variations of HI in our local universe (z <0.06) where data is currently available. We address challenges unique to data of this kind, such as identifying and subtracting out signal from RFI and local galactic sources, and characterizing the ALFA array beam pattern which dictates sensitivity and resolution.

  7. Special Issue: Honey Bee Viruses.

    PubMed

    Gisder, Sebastian; Genersch, Elke

    2015-10-01

    Pollination of flowering plants is an important ecosystem service provided by wild insect pollinators and managed honey bees. Hence, losses and declines of pollinating insect species threaten human food security and are of major concern not only for apiculture or agriculture but for human society in general. Honey bee colony losses and bumblebee declines have attracted intensive research interest over the last decade and although the problem is far from being solved we now know that viruses are among the key players of many of these bee losses and bumblebee declines. With this special issue on bee viruses we, therefore, aimed to collect high quality original papers reflecting the current state of bee virus research. To this end, we focused on newly discovered viruses (Lake Sinai viruses, bee macula-like virus), or a so far neglected virus species (Apis mellifera filamentous virus), and cutting edge technologies (mass spectrometry, RNAi approach) applied in the field.

  8. Special Issue: Honey Bee Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Gisder, Sebastian; Genersch, Elke

    2015-01-01

    Pollination of flowering plants is an important ecosystem service provided by wild insect pollinators and managed honey bees. Hence, losses and declines of pollinating insect species threaten human food security and are of major concern not only for apiculture or agriculture but for human society in general. Honey bee colony losses and bumblebee declines have attracted intensive research interest over the last decade and although the problem is far from being solved we now know that viruses are among the key players of many of these bee losses and bumblebee declines. With this special issue on bee viruses we, therefore, aimed to collect high quality original papers reflecting the current state of bee virus research. To this end, we focused on newly discovered viruses (Lake Sinai viruses, bee macula-like virus), or a so far neglected virus species (Apis mellifera filamentous virus), and cutting edge technologies (mass spectrometry, RNAi approach) applied in the field. PMID:26702462

  9. Special Issue: Honey Bee Viruses.

    PubMed

    Gisder, Sebastian; Genersch, Elke

    2015-10-01

    Pollination of flowering plants is an important ecosystem service provided by wild insect pollinators and managed honey bees. Hence, losses and declines of pollinating insect species threaten human food security and are of major concern not only for apiculture or agriculture but for human society in general. Honey bee colony losses and bumblebee declines have attracted intensive research interest over the last decade and although the problem is far from being solved we now know that viruses are among the key players of many of these bee losses and bumblebee declines. With this special issue on bee viruses we, therefore, aimed to collect high quality original papers reflecting the current state of bee virus research. To this end, we focused on newly discovered viruses (Lake Sinai viruses, bee macula-like virus), or a so far neglected virus species (Apis mellifera filamentous virus), and cutting edge technologies (mass spectrometry, RNAi approach) applied in the field. PMID:26702462

  10. The plight of the bees

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Spivak, Marla; Mader, Eric; Vaughan, Mace; Euliss, Ned H.

    2011-01-01

    Some environmental issues polarize people, producing weary political stalemates of indecision and inaction. Others, however, grab hold of our most primeval instincts, causing us to reach deeply into our memories of childhood, and our first direct experiences with nature: the bumble bee nest we poked at with a stick; the man at the county fair with the bee beard. Those memories expand backward in time to our barefoot ancestors who climbed trees and robbed honey. They help define the human experience and provide context to our own place in the world.And so the plight of the bees strikes a common chord. For a brief moment simple matters of politics, economics, and nationality seem irrelevant. Colony collapse disorder, the name for the syndrome causing honey bees (Apis mellifera) to suddenly and mysteriously disappear from their hives - thousands of individual worker bees literally flying off to die - captured public consciousness when it was first named in 2007 (1). Since then, the story of vanishing honey bees has become ubiquitous in popular consciousness - driving everything from ice cream marketing campaigns to plots for The Simpsons. The untold story is that these hive losses are simply a capstone to more than a half-century of more prosaic day-to-day losses that beekeepers already faced from parasites, diseases, poor nutrition, and pesticide poisoning (2). The larger story still is that while honey bees are charismatic and important to agriculture, other important bees are also suffering, and in some cases their fates are far worse (3). These other bees are a subset of the roughly 4000 species of wild bumble bees (Bombus), leafcutter bees (Megachile), and others that are native to North America. While the honey bee was originally imported from Europe by colonists in the early 17th century, it is these native bees that have evolved with our local ecosystems, and, along with honey bees, are valuable crop pollinators. People want to know why bees are dying and how

  11. Assessing Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Foraging Populations and the Potential Impact of Pesticides on Eight U.S. Crops.

    PubMed

    Frazier, Maryann T; Mullin, Chris A; Frazier, Jim L; Ashcraft, Sara A; Leslie, Tim W; Mussen, Eric C; Drummond, Frank A

    2015-10-01

    Beekeepers who use honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) for crop pollination services, or have colonies making honey on or in close proximity to agricultural crops, are concerned about the reductions of colony foragers and ultimate weakening of their colonies. Pesticide exposure is a potential factor in the loss of foragers. During 2009-2010, we assessed changes in the field force populations of 9-10 colonies at one location per crop on each of the eight crops by counting departing foragers leaving colonies at regular intervals during the respective crop blooming periods. The number of frames of adult bees was counted before and after bloom period. For pesticide analysis, we collected dead and dying bees near the hives, returning foragers, crop flowers, trapped pollen, and corn-flowers associated with the cotton crop. The number of departing foragers changed over time in all crops except almonds; general patterns in foraging activity included declines (cotton), noticeable peaks and declines (alfalfa, blueberries, cotton, corn, and pumpkins), and increases (apples and cantaloupes). The number of adult bee frames increased or remained stable in all crops except alfalfa and cotton. A total of 53 different pesticide residues were identified in samples collected across eight crops. Hazard quotients (HQ) were calculated for the combined residues for all crop-associated samples and separately for samples of dead and dying bees. A decrease in the number of departing foragers in cotton was one of the most substantial crop-associated impacts and presented the highest pesticide risk estimated by a summed pesticide residue HQ. PMID:26453703

  12. Assessing Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Foraging Populations and the Potential Impact of Pesticides on Eight U.S. Crops.

    PubMed

    Frazier, Maryann T; Mullin, Chris A; Frazier, Jim L; Ashcraft, Sara A; Leslie, Tim W; Mussen, Eric C; Drummond, Frank A

    2015-10-01

    Beekeepers who use honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) for crop pollination services, or have colonies making honey on or in close proximity to agricultural crops, are concerned about the reductions of colony foragers and ultimate weakening of their colonies. Pesticide exposure is a potential factor in the loss of foragers. During 2009-2010, we assessed changes in the field force populations of 9-10 colonies at one location per crop on each of the eight crops by counting departing foragers leaving colonies at regular intervals during the respective crop blooming periods. The number of frames of adult bees was counted before and after bloom period. For pesticide analysis, we collected dead and dying bees near the hives, returning foragers, crop flowers, trapped pollen, and corn-flowers associated with the cotton crop. The number of departing foragers changed over time in all crops except almonds; general patterns in foraging activity included declines (cotton), noticeable peaks and declines (alfalfa, blueberries, cotton, corn, and pumpkins), and increases (apples and cantaloupes). The number of adult bee frames increased or remained stable in all crops except alfalfa and cotton. A total of 53 different pesticide residues were identified in samples collected across eight crops. Hazard quotients (HQ) were calculated for the combined residues for all crop-associated samples and separately for samples of dead and dying bees. A decrease in the number of departing foragers in cotton was one of the most substantial crop-associated impacts and presented the highest pesticide risk estimated by a summed pesticide residue HQ.

  13. Assessing Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Foraging Populations and the Potential Impact of Pesticides on Eight U.S. Crops

    PubMed Central

    Frazier, Maryann T.; Mullin, Chris A.; Frazier, Jim L.; Ashcraft, Sara A.; Leslie, Tim W.; Mussen, Eric C.; Drummond, Frank A.

    2015-01-01

    Beekeepers who use honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) for crop pollination services, or have colonies making honey on or in close proximity to agricultural crops, are concerned about the reductions of colony foragers and ultimate weakening of their colonies. Pesticide exposure is a potential factor in the loss of foragers. During 2009–2010, we assessed changes in the field force populations of 9–10 colonies at one location per crop on each of the eight crops by counting departing foragers leaving colonies at regular intervals during the respective crop blooming periods. The number of frames of adult bees was counted before and after bloom period. For pesticide analysis, we collected dead and dying bees near the hives, returning foragers, crop flowers, trapped pollen, and corn-flowers associated with the cotton crop. The number of departing foragers changed over time in all crops except almonds; general patterns in foraging activity included declines (cotton), noticeable peaks and declines (alfalfa, blueberries, cotton, corn, and pumpkins), and increases (apples and cantaloupes). The number of adult bee frames increased or remained stable in all crops except alfalfa and cotton. A total of 53 different pesticide residues were identified in samples collected across eight crops. Hazard quotients (HQ) were calculated for the combined residues for all crop-associated samples and separately for samples of dead and dying bees. A decrease in the number of departing foragers in cotton was one of the most substantial crop-associated impacts and presented the highest pesticide risk estimated by a summed pesticide residue HQ. PMID:26453703

  14. Impact of currently used or potentially useful insecticides for canola agroecosystems on Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae), Megachile rotundata (Hymentoptera: Megachilidae), and Osmia lignaria (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Scott-Dupree, C D; Conroy, L; Harris, C R

    2009-02-01

    Pest management practices may be contributing to a decline in wild bee populations in or near canola (Brassica napus L.) agroecosystems. The objective of this study was to investigate the direct contact toxicity of five technical grade insecticides--imidacloprid, clothianidin, deltamethrin, spinosad, and novaluron--currently used, or with potential for use in canola integrated pest management on bees that may forage in canola: common eastern bumble bees [Bombus impatiens (Cresson); hereafter bumble bees], alfalfa leafcutting bees [Megachile rotundata (F.)], and Osmia lignaria Cresson. Clothianidin and to a lesser extent imidacloprid were highly toxic to all three species, deltamethrin and spinosad were intermediate in toxicity, and novaluron was nontoxic. Bumble bees were generally more tolerant to the direct contact applications > O. lignaria > leafcutting bees. However, differences in relative toxicities between the three species were not consistent, e.g., whereas clothianidin was only 4.9 and 1.3x more toxic, deltamethrin was 53 and 68x more toxic to leafcutting bees than to bumble bees and O. lignaria, respectively. Laboratory assessment of direct contact toxicity, although useful, is only one measure of potential impact, and mortality under field conditions may differ greatly depending on management practices. Research conducted using only honey bees as the indicator species may not adequately reflect the risk posed by insecticides to wild bees because of their unique biology and differential susceptibility. Research programs focused on determining nontarget impact on pollinators should be expanded to include not only the honey bee but also wild bee species representative of the agricultural system under investigation. PMID:19253634

  15. Bees brought to their knees: Microbes affecting honey bee health

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The biology and health of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, has been of interest to human societies since the advent of beekeeping. Descriptive scientific research on pathogens affecting honey bees have been published for nearly a century, but it wasn’t until the recent outbreak of heavy colony losses...

  16. Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants Have Simple Gut Microbiota with Nitrogen-Fixing Potential

    PubMed Central

    Zhukova, Mariya; Hansen, Lars H.; Sørensen, Søren J.; Schiøtt, Morten

    2015-01-01

    Ants and termites have independently evolved obligate fungus-farming mutualisms, but their gardening procedures are fundamentally different, as the termites predigest their plant substrate whereas the ants deposit it directly on the fungus garden. Fungus-growing termites retained diverse gut microbiota, but bacterial gut communities in fungus-growing leaf-cutting ants have not been investigated, so it is unknown whether and how they are specialized on an exclusively fungal diet. Here we characterized the gut bacterial community of Panamanian Acromyrmex species, which are dominated by only four bacterial taxa: Wolbachia, Rhizobiales, and two Entomoplasmatales taxa. We show that the Entomoplasmatales can be both intracellular and extracellular across different gut tissues, Wolbachia is mainly but not exclusively intracellular, and the Rhizobiales species is strictly extracellular and confined to the gut lumen, where it forms biofilms along the hindgut cuticle supported by an adhesive matrix of polysaccharides. Tetracycline diets eliminated the Entomoplasmatales symbionts but hardly affected Wolbachia and only moderately reduced the Rhizobiales, suggesting that the latter are protected by the biofilm matrix. We show that the Rhizobiales symbiont produces bacterial NifH proteins that have been associated with the fixation of nitrogen, suggesting that these compartmentalized hindgut symbionts alleviate nutritional constraints emanating from an exclusive fungus garden diet reared on a substrate of leaves. PMID:26048932

  17. A colony-level response to disease control in a leaf-cutting ant.

    PubMed

    Hart, Adam G; Bot, A N M; Brown, Mark J F

    2002-06-01

    Parasites and pathogens often impose significant costs on their hosts. This is particularly true for social organisms, where the genetic structure of groups and the accumulation of contaminated waste facilitate disease transmission. In response, hosts have evolved many mechanisms of defence against parasites. Here we present evidence that Atta colombica, a leaf-cutting ant, may combat Escovopsis, a dangerous parasite of Atta's garden fungus, through a colony-level behavioural response. In A. colombica, garden waste is removed from within the colony and transported to the midden--an external waste dump--where it is processed by a group of midden workers. We found that colonies infected with Escovopsis have higher numbers of workers on the midden, where Escovopsis is deposited. Further, midden workers are highly effective in dispersing newly deposited waste away from the dumping site. Thus, the colony-level task allocation strategies of the Atta superorganism may change in response to the threat of disease to a third, essential party. PMID:12146794

  18. Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants Have Simple Gut Microbiota with Nitrogen-Fixing Potential.

    PubMed

    Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Zhukova, Mariya; Hansen, Lars H; Sørensen, Søren J; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2015-08-15

    Ants and termites have independently evolved obligate fungus-farming mutualisms, but their gardening procedures are fundamentally different, as the termites predigest their plant substrate whereas the ants deposit it directly on the fungus garden. Fungus-growing termites retained diverse gut microbiota, but bacterial gut communities in fungus-growing leaf-cutting ants have not been investigated, so it is unknown whether and how they are specialized on an exclusively fungal diet. Here we characterized the gut bacterial community of Panamanian Acromyrmex species, which are dominated by only four bacterial taxa: Wolbachia, Rhizobiales, and two Entomoplasmatales taxa. We show that the Entomoplasmatales can be both intracellular and extracellular across different gut tissues, Wolbachia is mainly but not exclusively intracellular, and the Rhizobiales species is strictly extracellular and confined to the gut lumen, where it forms biofilms along the hindgut cuticle supported by an adhesive matrix of polysaccharides. Tetracycline diets eliminated the Entomoplasmatales symbionts but hardly affected Wolbachia and only moderately reduced the Rhizobiales, suggesting that the latter are protected by the biofilm matrix. We show that the Rhizobiales symbiont produces bacterial NifH proteins that have been associated with the fixation of nitrogen, suggesting that these compartmentalized hindgut symbionts alleviate nutritional constraints emanating from an exclusive fungus garden diet reared on a substrate of leaves. PMID:26048932

  19. Sperm mixing in the polyandrous leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior

    PubMed Central

    Stürup, Marlene; Nash, David R; Hughes, William O H; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2014-01-01

    The insemination of queens by sperm from multiple males (polyandry) has evolved in a number of eusocial insect lineages despite the likely costs of the behavior. The selective advantages in terms of colony fitness must therefore also be significant and there is now good evidence that polyandry increases genetic variation among workers, thereby improving the efficiency of division of labor, resistance against disease, and diluting the impact of genetically incompatible matings. However, these advantages will only be maximized if the sperm of initially discrete ejaculates are mixed when stored in queen spermathecae and used for egg fertilization in a “fair raffle.” Remarkably, however, very few studies have addressed the level of sperm mixing in social insects. Here we analyzed sperm use over time in the highly polyandrous leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior. We genotyped cohorts of workers produced either 2 months apart or up to over a year apart, and batches of eggs laid up to over 2 years apart, and tested whether fluctuations in patriline distributions deviated from random. We show that the representation of father males in both egg and worker cohorts does not change over time, consistent with obligatorily polyandrous queens maximizing their fitness when workers are as genetically diverse as possible. PMID:25478149

  20. Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants Have Simple Gut Microbiota with Nitrogen-Fixing Potential.

    PubMed

    Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Zhukova, Mariya; Hansen, Lars H; Sørensen, Søren J; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2015-08-15

    Ants and termites have independently evolved obligate fungus-farming mutualisms, but their gardening procedures are fundamentally different, as the termites predigest their plant substrate whereas the ants deposit it directly on the fungus garden. Fungus-growing termites retained diverse gut microbiota, but bacterial gut communities in fungus-growing leaf-cutting ants have not been investigated, so it is unknown whether and how they are specialized on an exclusively fungal diet. Here we characterized the gut bacterial community of Panamanian Acromyrmex species, which are dominated by only four bacterial taxa: Wolbachia, Rhizobiales, and two Entomoplasmatales taxa. We show that the Entomoplasmatales can be both intracellular and extracellular across different gut tissues, Wolbachia is mainly but not exclusively intracellular, and the Rhizobiales species is strictly extracellular and confined to the gut lumen, where it forms biofilms along the hindgut cuticle supported by an adhesive matrix of polysaccharides. Tetracycline diets eliminated the Entomoplasmatales symbionts but hardly affected Wolbachia and only moderately reduced the Rhizobiales, suggesting that the latter are protected by the biofilm matrix. We show that the Rhizobiales symbiont produces bacterial NifH proteins that have been associated with the fixation of nitrogen, suggesting that these compartmentalized hindgut symbionts alleviate nutritional constraints emanating from an exclusive fungus garden diet reared on a substrate of leaves.

  1. Immune defense in leaf-cutting ants: a cross-fostering approach.

    PubMed

    Armitage, Sophie A O; Broch, Jens F; Marín, Hermogenes Fernández; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2011-06-01

    To ameliorate the impact of disease, social insects combine individual innate immune defenses with collective social defenses. This implies that there are different levels of selection acting on investment in immunity, each with their own trade-offs. We present the results of a cross-fostering experiment designed to address the influences of genotype and social rearing environment upon individual and social immune defenses. We used a multiply mating leaf-cutting ant, enabling us to test for patriline effects within a colony, as well as cross-colony matriline effects. The worker's father influenced both individual innate immunity (constitutive antibacterial activity) and the size of the metapleural gland, which secretes antimicrobial compounds and functions in individual and social defense, indicating multiple mating could have important consequences for both defense types. However, the primarily social defense, a Pseudonocardia bacteria that helps to control pathogens in the ants' fungus garden, showed a significant colony of origin by rearing environment interaction, whereby ants that acquired the bacteria of a foster colony obtained a less abundant cover of bacteria: one explanation for this pattern would be co-adaptation between host colonies and their vertically transmitted mutualist. These results illustrate the complexity of the selection pressures that affect the expression of multilevel immune defenses.

  2. Variation in nestmate recognition ability among polymorphic leaf-cutting ant workers.

    PubMed

    Larsen, Janni; Fouks, Bertrand; Bos, Nick; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Nehring, Volker

    2014-11-01

    A key feature for the success of social insects is division of labour, allowing colony members to specialize on different tasks. Nest defence is a defining task for social insects since it is crucial for colony integrity. A particularly impressive and well-known case of worker specialization in complex hymenopteran societies is found in leaf-cutting ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex. We hypothesized that three morphological worker castes of Acromyrmex echinatior differ in their likelihood to attack intruders, and show that major workers are more aggressive towards non-nestmate workers than medium and minor workers. Moreover, minors do not discriminate between nestmate and non-nestmate brood, while larger workers do. We further show that A. echinatior ants use cuticular chemical compounds for nestmate recognition. We took advantage of the natural variation in the cuticular compounds between colonies to investigate the proximate factors that may have led to the observed caste differences in aggression. We infer that major workers differ from medium workers in their general propensity to attack intruders (the "action component" of the nestmate recognition system), while minors seem to be less sensitive to foreign odours ("perception component"). Our results highlight the importance of proximate mechanisms underlying social insect behaviour, and encourage an appreciation of intra-colony variation when analysing colony-level traits such as nest defence. PMID:25205477

  3. Generation of Nutrients and Detoxification: Possible Roles of Yeasts in Leaf-Cutting Ant Nests.

    PubMed

    Mendes, Thais D; Rodrigues, André; Dayo-Owoyemi, Ifeloju; Marson, Fernando A L; Pagnocca, Fernando C

    2012-02-17

    The possible roles played by yeasts in attine ant nests are mostly unknown. Here we present our investigations on the plant polysaccharide degradation profile of 82 yeasts isolated from fungus gardens of Atta and Acromyrmex species to demonstrate that yeasts found in ant nests may play the role of making nutrients readily available throughout the garden and detoxification of compounds that may be deleterious to the ants and their fungal cultivar. Among the yeasts screened, 65% exhibited cellulolytic enzymes, 44% exhibited pectinolytic activity while 27% and 17% possess enzyme systems for the degradation of protease and amylase, respectively. Galacturonic acid, which had been reported in previous work to be poorly assimilated by the ant fungus and also to have a negative effect on ants' survival, was assimilated by 64% and 79% of yeasts isolated from nests of A. texana and Acromyrmex respectively. Our results suggest that yeasts found in ant nests may participate in generation of nutrients and removal of potentially toxic compounds, thereby contributing to the stability of the complex microbiota found in the leaf-cutting ant nests.

  4. Starch metabolism in Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, the symbiotic fungus of leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Silva, A; Bacci, M; Pagnocca, F C; Bueno, O C; Hebling, M J A

    2006-01-01

    Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, the symbiotic fungus of the leaf-cutting ants, degrades starch, this degradation being supposed to occur in the plant material which leafcutters forage to the nests, generating most of the glucose which the ants utilize for food. In the present investigation, we show that laboratory cultures of L. gongylophorus produce extracellular alpha-amylase and maltase which degrade starch to glucose, reinforcing that the ants can obtain glucose from starch through the symbiotic fungus. Glucose was found to repress alpha-amylase and, more severely, maltase activity, thus repressing starch degradation by L. gongylophorus, so that we hypothesize that: (1) glucose down-regulation of starch degradation also occurs in the Atta sexdens fungus garden; (2) glucose consumption from the fungus garden by A. sexdens stimulates degradation of starch from plant material by L. gongylophorus, which may represent a mechanism by which leafcutters can control enzyme production by the symbiotic fungus. Since glucose is found in the fungus garden inside the nests, down-regulation of starch degradation by glucose is supposed to occur in the nest and play a part in the control of fungal enzyme production by leafcutters.

  5. The intramandibular gland of leaf-cutting ants (Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel 1908).

    PubMed

    do Amaral, Jônatas Bussador; Caetano, Flávio Henrique

    2006-01-01

    The eusociality developed in Hymenoptera and Isoptera is driven by an efficient interaction between exocrine glands and jointed appendages, both in close interaction with the environment. In this context, the mandible of ants plays an important role, since, in addition to being the main jointed appendage, it possess glandular functions. As an example we might name the two glands associated with the mandible: the mandibular and the intramandibular glands. The intramandibular gland is found inside the mandible and consists of a hypertrophied secretory epithelium and secretory cells in the mandible's lumen. The secretion of the secretory epithelium is liberated through intracuticular ducts that open at the base of hairs at the mandible's surface. The secretion of the intramandibular gland (epithelium and secretory cells) reacted positively to tests for the detection of polysaccharides and proteins, thus suggesting that it consists of glycoproteins. The ultrastructure of the secretory epithelium presents variations related to the developmental stage of the individual, showing a large number of ribosomes and microvilli close to the cuticle in young individuals, while in the older specimens it was possible to note the formation of an intracellular reservoir. These variations of secretory epithelium, as also the interaction between the cellular groups inside the mandible, are important information about this gland in leaf-cutting ants.

  6. Association between Pseudonocardia symbionts and Atta leaf-cutting ants suggested by improved isolation methods.

    PubMed

    Marsh, Sarah E; Poulsen, Michael; Gorosito, Norma B; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Masiulionis, Virginia E; Currie, Cameron R

    2013-03-01

    Fungus-growing ants associate with multiple symbiotic microbes, including Actinobacteria for production of antibiotics. The best studied of these bacteria are within the genus Pseudonocardia, which in most fungus-growing ants are conspicuously visible on the external cuticle of workers. However, given that fungus-growing ants in the genus Atta do not carry visible Actinobacteria on their cuticle, it is unclear if this genus engages in the symbiosis with Pseudonocardia. Here we explore whether improving culturing techniques can allow for successful isolation of Pseudonocardia from Atta cephalotes leaf-cutting ants. We obtained Pseudonocardia from 9 of 11 isolation method/colony component combinations from all 5 colonies intensively sampled. The most efficient technique was bead-beating workers in phosphate buffer solution, then plating the suspension on carboxymethylcellulose medium. Placing these strains in a fungus-growing ant-associated Pseudonocardia phylogeny revealed that while some strains grouped with clades of Pseudonocardia associated with other genera of fungus-growing ants, a large portion of the isolates fell into two novel phylogenetic clades previously not identified from this ant-microbe symbiosis. Our findings suggest that Pseudonocardia may be associated with Atta fungus-growing ants, potentially internalized, and that localizing the symbiont and exploring its role is necessary to shed further light on the association.

  7. Two fungal symbioses collide: endophytic fungi are not welcome in leaf-cutting ant gardens

    PubMed Central

    Van Bael, Sunshine A.; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Valencia, Mariana C.; Rojas, Enith I.; Wcislo, William T.; Herre, Edward A.

    2009-01-01

    Interactions among the component members of different symbioses are not well studied. For example, leaf-cutting ants maintain an obligate symbiosis with their fungal garden, while the leaf material they provide to their garden is usually filled with endophytic fungi. The ants and their cultivar may interact with hundreds of endophytic fungal species, yet little is known about these interactions. Experimental manipulations showed that (i) ants spend more time cutting leaves from a tropical vine, Merremia umbellata, with high versus low endophyte densities, (ii) ants reduce the amount of endophytic fungi in leaves before planting them in their gardens, (iii) the ants' fungal cultivar inhibits the growth of most endophytes tested. Moreover, the inhibition by the ants' cultivar was relatively greater for more rapidly growing endophyte strains that could potentially out-compete or overtake the garden. Our results suggest that endophytes are not welcome in the garden, and that the ants and their cultivar combine ant hygiene behaviour with fungal inhibition to reduce endophyte activity in the nest. PMID:19364739

  8. Impact of alfalfa on soil and water quality

    SciTech Connect

    Sharma, P.; Moncrief, J.; Gupta, S.

    1997-10-30

    Dominance of row crop agriculture in rolling landscapes of western and Southwestern Minnesota is identified as a primary, non-point source of sediments and associated pollutants reaching the Minnesota River. Currently as a biomass energy project, alfalfa is being promoted in western Minnesota to harvest the leaves for animal feed and stems to generate electricity. As a perennial, leguminous crop grown with minimum inputs, introduction of alfalfa in row cropped lands has potential to improve both in-situ soil productivity and downstream water quality. A field study was initiated in 1996 to compare the volume of runoff and pollutants coming from alfalfa an com-soybean fields in western Minnesota. Two pair of alfalfa and corn-soybean watersheds were instrumented at Morris in the Fall of 1996 to measure rainfall, runoff, and sample water for sediment load, phosphorus, nitrogen, biochemical oxygen demand, and chemical oxygen demand. Simulated rainfall-runoff experiments were conducted on an existing crop rotation - input management study plots at Lamberton to evaluate soil quality effects of the inclusion of alfalfa in a corn-soybean rotation under manure and fertilization management schemes. Alfalfa soil water use as a function of frequency of harvest was also monitored at Morris to evaluate the effect of cutting schedule on soil water use. During the growing season of 1997, alfalfa under a two-cut management scheme used about 25-mm (an inch) more soil water than under a three-cut schedule. The mean differences between the treatments were not significant. The conclusions drawn in this report come from analysis of data collected during one winter-summer hydrologic and crop management cycle. Continued observations through a period of at least 3-5 years is recommended to improve the instrumentation robustness and discern the variability due to climate, soil, and crop management factors.

  9. Native bees and plant pollination

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ginsberg, H.S.

    2004-01-01

    Bees are important pollinators, but evidence suggests that numbers of some species are declining. Decreases have been documented in the honey bee, Apis mellifera (which was introduced to North America), but there are no monitoring programs for the vast majority of native species, so we cannot be sure about the extent of this problem. Recent efforts to develop standardized protocols for bee sampling will help us collect the data needed to assess trends in bee populations. Unfortunately, diversity of bee life cycles and phenologies, and the large number of rare species, make it difficult to assess trends in bee faunas. Changes in bee populations can affect plant reproduction, which can influence plant population density and cover, thus potentially modifying horizontal and vertical structure of a community, microclimate near the ground, patterns of nitrogen deposition, etc. These potential effects of changes in pollination patterns have not been assessed in natural communities. Effects of management actions on bees and other pollinators should be considered in conservation planning.

  10. Safety with Wasps and Bees.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hackett, Erla

    This guide is designed to provide elementary school teachers with safe learning activities concerning bees and wasps. The following topics are included: (1) the importance of a positive teacher attitude towards bees and wasps; (2) special problems posed by paper wasps; (3) what to do when a child is bothered by a wasp; (4) what to do if a wasp…

  11. Honey Bees: Sweetness and Mites

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bee colony losses have been in the news lately and the potential reasons for these losses have taken up much space in the news media. In order to clarify what role mites play in the current loss (2006-2007) of bee colonies, called Colony Collapse Disorder, a better understanding of what a mit...

  12. Hey! A Bee Stung Me!

    MedlinePlus

    ... from flowers. Then they turn the nectar into honey for food. Wasps are closely related to bees, but instead of only feeding on pollen and honey, wasps eat animal food, other insects, or spiders. They are not fuzzy like bees, but seem kind of smooth and shiny, and ...

  13. Differences in Forage-Acquisition and Fungal Enzyme Activity Contribute to Niche Segregation in Panamanian Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Kooij, Pepijn W.; Liberti, Joanito; Giampoudakis, Konstantinos; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2014-01-01

    The genera Atta and Acromyrmex are often grouped as leaf-cutting ants for pest management assessments and ecological surveys, although their mature colony sizes and foraging niches may differ substantially. Few studies have addressed such interspecific differences at the same site, which prompted us to conduct a comparative study across six sympatric leaf-cutting ant species in Central Panama. We show that foraging rates during the transition between dry and wet season differ about 60 fold between genera, but are relatively constant across species within genera. These differences appear to match overall differences in colony size, especially when Atta workers that return to their nests without leaves are assumed to carry liquid food. We confirm that Panamanian Atta specialize primarily on tree-leaves whereas Acromyrmex focus on collecting flowers and herbal leaves and that species within genera are similar in these overall foraging strategies. Species within genera tended to be spaced out over the three habitat categories that we distinguished (forest, forest edge, open grassland), but each of these habitats normally had only a single predominant Atta and Acromyrmex species. We measured activities of twelve fungus garden decomposition enzymes, belonging to the amylases, cellulases, hemicellulases, pectinases and proteinases, and show that average enzyme activity per unit of fungal mass in Atta gardens is lower than in Acromyrmex gardens. Expression profiles of fungal enzymes in Atta also appeared to be more specialized than in Acromyrmex, possibly reflecting variation in forage material. Our results suggest that species- and genus-level identities of leaf-cutting ants and habitat-specific foraging profiles may give predictable differences in the expression of fungal genes coding for decomposition enzymes. PMID:24718261

  14. 7 CFR 322.29 - Dead bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2013-01-01 2013-01-01 false Dead bees. 322.29 Section 322.29 Agriculture..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BEES, BEEKEEPING BYPRODUCTS, AND BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT Importation and Transit of Restricted Articles § 322.29 Dead bees. (a) Dead bees imported into or transiting the United States must...

  15. 7 CFR 322.29 - Dead bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2014-01-01 2014-01-01 false Dead bees. 322.29 Section 322.29 Agriculture..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BEES, BEEKEEPING BYPRODUCTS, AND BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT Importation and Transit of Restricted Articles § 322.29 Dead bees. (a) Dead bees imported into or transiting the United States must...

  16. 7 CFR 322.29 - Dead bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2012-01-01 2012-01-01 false Dead bees. 322.29 Section 322.29 Agriculture..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BEES, BEEKEEPING BYPRODUCTS, AND BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT Importation and Transit of Restricted Articles § 322.29 Dead bees. (a) Dead bees imported into or transiting the United States must...

  17. 7 CFR 322.29 - Dead bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false Dead bees. 322.29 Section 322.29 Agriculture..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BEES, BEEKEEPING BYPRODUCTS, AND BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT Importation and Transit of Restricted Articles § 322.29 Dead bees. (a) Dead bees imported into or transiting the United States must...

  18. 7 CFR 322.29 - Dead bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 5 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Dead bees. 322.29 Section 322.29 Agriculture..., DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BEES, BEEKEEPING BYPRODUCTS, AND BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT Importation and Transit of Restricted Articles § 322.29 Dead bees. (a) Dead bees imported into or transiting the United States must...

  19. Polychlorinated biphenyls in honey bees

    SciTech Connect

    Morse, R.A.; Culliney, T.W.; Gutenmann, W.H.; Littman, C.B.; Lisk, D.J.

    1987-02-01

    Honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) may traverse a radius of several miles from their hives and contact innumerable surfaces during their collection of nectar, pollen, propolis and water. In the process, they may become contaminated with surface constituents which are indicative of the type of environmental pollution in their particular foraging area. Honey has also been analyzed as a possible indicator of heavy metal pollution. Insecticides used in the vicinity of bee hives have been found in bees and honey. It has been recently reported that appreciable concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in honey bees sampled throughout Connecticut. In the work reported here, an analytical survey was conducted on PCBs in honey bees, honey, propolis and related samples in several states to learn the extent of contamination and possible sources.

  20. Biological Relationship of Meloidogyne hapla Populations to Alfalfa Cultivars

    PubMed Central

    Griffin, G. D.; Gray, F. A.

    1995-01-01

    Greenhouse and growth chamber studies were established to determine if there are pathological and physiological differences among Meloidogyne hapla populations from California (CA), Nevada (NV), Utah (UT), and Wyoming (WY) on alfalfa cultivars classified as resistant or susceptible to root-knot nematodes. In the greenhouse, plant survival was not consistent with resistance classifications. While all highly resistant Nevada Synthetic germplasm (Nev Syn XX) plants survived inoculation with all nematode populations, two cultivars classified as moderately resistant ('Chief' and 'Kingstar') survived (P ≤ 0.05) inoculation with M. hapla populations better than did 'Lobo' cultivar, which is classified as resistant. Plant growth of Nev Syn XX was suppressed by only the CA population, whereas growth of the other alfalfa cultivars classified as M. hapla resistant or moderately resistant was suppressed by all nematode populations. Excluding Nev Syn XX, all alfalfa cultivars were severely galled and susceptible to all nematode populations. Except for Nev Syn XX, reproduction did not differ among the nematode populations on alfalfa cultivars. Nev Syn XX was not as favorable a host to CA as were the other cultivars; but, it was a good host (reproductive factor [Rf] = 37). Temperature affected plant resistance; the UT and WY populations were more pathogenic at 15-25 C, and CA was more pathogenic at 30 C. Nev Syn XX was susceptible to all nematode populations, except for CA, at only 30 C, and all other alfalfa cultivars were susceptible to all nematode populations at all temperatures. PMID:19277299

  1. Multiwalled carbon nanotubes in alfalfa and wheat: toxicology and uptake

    PubMed Central

    Miralles, Pola; Johnson, Errin; Church, Tamara L.; Harris, Andrew T.

    2012-01-01

    Data on the bioavailability and toxicity of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in the environment, and, in particular, on their interactions with vascular plants, are limited. We investigated the effects of industrial-grade multiwalled CNTs (75 wt% CNTs) and their impurities on alfalfa and wheat. Phytotoxicity assays were performed during both seed germination and seedling growth. The germinations of both species were tolerant of up to 2560 mg l−1 CNTs, and root elongation was enhanced in alfalfa and wheat seedlings exposed to CNTs. Remarkably, catalyst impurities also enhanced root elongation in alfalfa seedlings as well as wheat germination. Thus the impurities, not solely the CNTs, impacted the plants. CNT internalization by plants was investigated using electron microscopy and two-dimensional Raman mapping. The latter showed that CNTs were adsorbed onto the root surfaces of alfalfa and wheat without significant uptake or translocation. Electron microscopy investigations of internalization were inconclusive owing to poor contrast, so Fe3O4-functionalized CNTs were prepared and studied using energy-filter mapping of Fe3O4. CNTs bearing Fe3O4 nanoparticles were detected in the epidermis of one wheat root tip only, suggesting that internalization was possible but unusual. Thus, alfalfa and wheat tolerated high concentrations of industrial-grade multiwalled CNTs, which adsorbed onto their roots but were rarely taken up. PMID:22977097

  2. Honey bee pathology: current threats to honey bees and beekeeping.

    PubMed

    Genersch, Elke

    2010-06-01

    Managed honey bees are the most important commercial pollinators of those crops which depend on animal pollination for reproduction and which account for 35% of the global food production. Hence, they are vital for an economic, sustainable agriculture and for food security. In addition, honey bees also pollinate a variety of wild flowers and, therefore, contribute to the biodiversity of many ecosystems. Honey and other hive products are, at least economically and ecologically rather, by-products of beekeeping. Due to this outstanding role of honey bees, severe and inexplicable honey bee colony losses, which have been reported recently to be steadily increasing, have attracted much attention and stimulated many research activities. Although the phenomenon "decline of honey bees" is far from being finally solved, consensus exists that pests and pathogens are the single most important cause of otherwise inexplicable colony losses. This review will focus on selected bee pathogens and parasites which have been demonstrated to be involved in colony losses in different regions of the world and which, therefore, are considered current threats to honey bees and beekeeping.

  3. Genomic Analysis of Verticillium Wilt Resistance and Drought Tolerance in Alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is the fourth largest crop in the United States. Changing trends to multipurpose uses increases demand for alfalfa. However, the production of alfalfa is challenged by endemic and emerging diseases and adverse environmental factors. Identification of genes/loci controlli...

  4. Aphanomyces root rot of alfalfa: Widespread distribution of race 2 in Minnesota

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Strong seedling establishment in alfalfa is important to achieve the plant density needed to out-compete weeds and produce high biomass yields. Establishing alfalfa can be challenging because alfalfa seeds and seedlings are vulnerable to several pathogens present in soil. Wet soil conditions favor t...

  5. Do glyphosate resistant feral plants and hay fields spread the transgene to conventional alfalfa seed fields?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In addition to meeting domestic needs, large amounts of alfalfa seed and hay produced in the US are being exported overseas. Because alfalfa is an insect pollinated crop, gene flow is a concern. Adding to this alfalfa readily naturalizes along roadsides, irrigation ditches, and unmanaged habitats; a...

  6. Stand age affects fertilizer nitrogen response in first-year corn following alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The amount of N that alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) provides to subsequent first-year corn (Zea mays L.) depends, in part, on the age of alfalfa at termination. Our objective was to determine how alfalfa stand age affects N availability and fertilizer N requirements for first-year corn. Fertilizer N w...

  7. Combining cropland data layers to identify alfalfa-annual crop rotation patterns and opportunities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) can provide many economic and environmental benefits to crop rotations. Our objectives were to quantify alfalfa stand lengths, identify the two crops following alfalfa, and determine the soil and temporal factors affecting them. The USDA-NASS cropland data layers for 200...

  8. Pythium species causing damping-off of alfalfa in Minnesota: Identification, pathogenicity and fungicide sensitivity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Damping-off and seed rot is an important disease of alfalfa, severely affecting stand establishment when conditions favor the disease. Globally, 15 Pythium species are reported to cause damping-off and seed rot of alfalfa, although surveys of species causing disease on alfalfa in Minnesota are lacki...

  9. Alfalfa production with subsurface drip irrigation in the Central Great Plains

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Irrigated alfalfa production is gaining interest because of the growing number of dairies in the semi-arid U.S. Central Great Plains and its longstanding superior profitability compared to other alternative crops grown in the region. Irrigation requirements for alfalfa are great because of alfalfa's...

  10. Transgene movement in commercial alfalfa seed production: Implications for seed purity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The United States is a major exporter of alfalfa seed and hay and the organic dairy industry is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors. With the advent of genetically-engineered (GE) alfalfa concerns have risen regarding the coexistence of GE and non GE alfalfa since the crop is largely ou...

  11. Stroke after multiple bee sting.

    PubMed

    Rajendiran, C; Puvanalingam, A; Thangam, D; Ragunanthanan, S; Ramesh, D; Venkatesan, S; Sundar, C

    2012-02-01

    Bee stings are commonly encountered worldwide. Various manifestations after bee sting have been described. Local reactions are common. Unusually, manifestations like vomiting, diarrhea, dyspnea, generalized edema, acute renal failure, hypotension and collapse may occur. Rarely vasculitis, serum sickness, neuritis and encephalitis have been described which generally develop days to weeks after a sting. We report a case of a 25-year-old male who developed left sided monoparesis and transient visual loss following multiple bee stings. Unlike the previous case reports, in our case there has been involvement of both the anterior circulation and posterior circulation territory to the brain. We report this case due to it's rarity. PMID:22715562

  12. Use of Seeds as Fungus Garden Substrate Changes the Organization of Labor Among Leaf-Cutting Ant Workers.

    PubMed

    Hastenreiter, I N; Sales, T A; Camargo, R S; Forti, L C; Lopes, J F S

    2015-08-01

    Seeds of different plant species constitute an alternative but also significant substrate that leaf-cutting ants use to cultivate their fungus garden. However, how they are processed inside the nest and if their use implies differential allocation of worker size classes are still poorly known. Using laboratory colonies of Acromyrmex subterraneus (Forel) as a model, the behaviors related to the processing of three different seeds (sesame, guava, and grape) as fungus substrate were listed. At the same time, we measured how each worker size class contributed to the execution of these behaviors by registering their respective frequency. It was found that medium-sized (1.2 > head width < 1.6 mm) and minimum-sized (head width <1.1 mm) workers assumed the role of incorporation for sesame and grape seeds, respectively. Major-sized workers (head width >1.7 mm) were concentrated on licking and holding guava seeds. Tegument removal was the only task observed that differs between treatment of seeds and treatment of leaves before their incorporation, as described in the literature. It was verified that different species of seeds imply a differential allocation of worker size classes and the inclusion or exclusion of some tasks from the behavioral repertoire. Regardless of the substrate type, leaf-cutting ant workers follow a coordinated and specialized procedure to cultivate the fungus garden but always maintain a high degree of cooperation. PMID:26050554

  13. Learning through the waste: olfactory cues from the colony refuse influence plant preferences in foraging leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Arenas, Andrés; Roces, Flavio

    2016-08-15

    Leaf-cutting ants learn to avoid plants initially harvested if they prove to be harmful for their symbiotic fungus once incorporated into the nest. At this point, waste particles removed from the fungus garden are likely to contain cues originating from both the unsuitable plant and the damaged fungus. We investigated whether leaf-cutting ant foragers learn to avoid unsuitable plants solely through the colony waste. We fed subcolonies of Acromymex ambiguus privet leaves treated with a fungicide undetectable to the ants, then collected the produced waste, and placed it into the fungus chamber of naive subcolonies. In individual choice tests, naive foragers preferred privet leaves before waste was put into the fungus chamber, but avoided them afterwards. Evidence on the influence of olfactory cues from the waste on decision making by foragers was obtained by scenting and transferring waste particles from subcolonies that had been fed either fungicide-treated or untreated leaves. In choice experiments, foragers from subcolonies given scented waste originating from fungicide-treated leaves collected fewer sugared paper discs with that scent compared with foragers from subcolonies given scented waste from untreated leaves. The results indicate that foragers learn to avoid plants unsuitable for the fungus by associating plant odours and cues from the damaged fungus that are present in waste particles. It is argued that waste particles may contribute to spread information about noxious plants for the fungus within the colony. PMID:27284068

  14. A macroglomerulus in the antennal lobe of leaf-cutting ant workers and its possible functional significance.

    PubMed

    Kleineidam, C J; Obermayer, M; Halbich, W; Rössler, W

    2005-06-01

    Ants have a well-developed olfactory system, and pheromone communication is essential for regulating social life within their colonies. We compared the organization of primary olfactory centers (antennal lobes, ALs) in the brain of two closely related species of leaf-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri, Atta sexdens). Both species express a striking size polymorphism associated with polyethism. We discovered that the ALs of large workers contain a substantially enlarged glomerulus (macroglomerulus, MG) at the entrance of the antennal nerve. This is the first description of an MG in non-sexual individuals of an insect. The location of the MG is laterally reversed in the two species, and workers of different size express a disproportional allometry of glomerular volumes. While ALs of large workers contain an MG, glomeruli in small workers are all similar in size. We further compared electroantennogram (EAG) responses to two common trail pheromone components of leaf-cutting ants: 4-methylpyrrol-2-carboxylate and 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine. At high concentrations the ratio of the EAG signals to 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine versus 4-methylpyrrol-2-carboxylate was significantly smaller in A. vollenweideri compared with the ratio of EAG signals to the same two components in A. sexdens. The differences in EAG signals and the species specific MG location in large workers provide correlative evidence that the MG may be involved in the detection of the trail pheromone. PMID:15843501

  15. Representation of Thermal Information in the Antennal Lobe of Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Ruchty, Markus; Helmchen, Fritjof; Wehner, Rüdiger; Kleineidam, Christoph Johannes

    2010-01-01

    Insects are equipped with various types of antennal sensilla, which house thermosensitive neurons adapted to receive different parameters of the thermal environment for a variety of temperature-guided behaviors. In the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri, the physiology and the morphology of the thermosensitive sensillum coeloconicum (Sc) has been thoroughly investigated. However, the central projections of its receptor neurons are unknown. Here we selectively stained the three neurons found in single Sc and tracked their axons into the brain of Atta vollenweideri workers. Each of the three axons terminates in a single glomerulus of the antennal lobe (Sc-glomeruli). Two of the innervated glomeruli are adjacent to each other and are located laterally, while the third one is clearly separated and located medially in the antennal lobe. Using two-photon Ca2+ imaging of antennal lobe projection neurons, we studied where in the antennal lobe thermal information is represented. In the 11 investigated antennal lobes, we found up to 10 different glomeruli in a single specimen responding to temperature stimulation. Both, warm- and cold-sensitive glomeruli could be identified. The thermosensitive glomeruli were mainly located in the medial part of the antennal lobe. Based on the general representation of thermal information in the antennal lobe and functional data on the Sc-glomeruli we conclude that temperature stimuli received by Sc are processed in the medial of the three target glomeruli. The present study reveals an important role of the antennal lobe in temperature processing and links a specific thermosensitive neuron to its central target glomerulus. PMID:21120133

  16. Distinct antennal lobe phenotypes in the leaf-cutting ant (Atta vollenweideri).

    PubMed

    Kuebler, L S; Kelber, C; Kleineidam, C J

    2010-02-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri) express a remarkable size polymorphism across the two sexual castes (queens and males) but in particular within the worker caste. Worker size is related to behavior (alloethism), separating workers into behavioral subcastes. The neuronal mechanisms underlying differences in behavior within the worker caste are still unknown. In this study, we first compared selected neuropils, in particular, the antennal lobes (AL) in males, queens, and workers. The males' ALs contain three extremely large, sex-specific glomeruli (macroglomeruli; MGs) and in total comprise fewer glomeruli (242) than the ALs of queens (about 346 glomeruli). In contrast to males, the queen ALs contain only one large glomerulus at a lateral position. The largest number of glomeruli was found in workers (396-442). In a previous paper, we described an MG in the workers' AL, and, in the second part of this study, we show that within workers two distinct, size-related AL phenotypes exist: the MG phenotype (containing a macroglomerulus) and the RG phenotype, with all glomeruli of regular size. This neuroanatomical polyphenism is established during pupal development and separates the worker caste into two neuroanatomical subcastes. Third, we investigate the functional significance of the MG in workers. By using calcium imaging to monitor activity of AL projection neurons, we show that the releaser component of the trail pheromone is represented in the same region as the MG. We propose that phenotypic trait variation in the organization of the ALs leads to differences in odor information processing that finally result in size-related differences in trail-following behavior. PMID:19950119

  17. Behavioral Strategies of Phorid Parasitoids and Responses of Their Hosts, the Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Elizalde, Luciana; Folgarait, Patricia Julia

    2012-01-01

    Host-searching and oviposition behaviors of parasitoids, and defensive responses of the hosts, are fundamental in shaping the ecology of host-parasitoid interactions. In order to uncover key behavioral features for the little known interactions between phorid parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) and their leaf-cutting ant hosts (Formicidae: Attini), host-related behavioral strategies (i.e., host searching and oviposition) for 13 phorid species, and host defensive responses (i.e., hitchhikers and particular body postures) for 11 ant species, were studied. Data was collected at 14 localities, one of them characterized by its high species richness for this host-parasitoid system. Phorid species showed both great variation and specificity in attacking behaviors. Some chose their hosts using either an ambush or an actively searching strategy, while some species attacked ants on different body parts, and specialized on ants performing different tasks, such as when ants were foraging, removing wastes to refuse piles, or repairing the nest. Combining all the behaviors recorded, most phorid species differed in performance in at least one, making it possible to recognize species in the field through their behavior. Phorid species that attacked hosts with greater activity levels showed overall higher attack rates, although there was no significant correlation between attack rates by most phorid species and ant activity outside the nest while parasitoids were attacking. The presence of phorids was a significant determinant for the presence of defensive behaviors by the ants. Although ant species varied in the incidence levels of these defensive behaviors, most ant species reacted against different phorids by utilizing similar behaviors, in contrast to what parasitoids do. General features of the observed phorid-ant interactions were parasitoid specialization and corresponding high interspecific variation in their behaviors, while their hosts showed generalized responses to attacks

  18. The Postpharyngeal Gland: Specialized Organ for Lipid Nutrition in Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Decio, Pâmela; Vieira, Alexsandro Santana; Dias, Nathalia Baptista; Palma, Mario Sergio; Bueno, Odair Correa

    2016-01-01

    There are several hypotheses about the possible functions of the postpharyngeal gland (PPG) in ants. The proposed functions include roles as cephalic or gastric caeca and diverticulum of the digestive tract, mixing of hydrocarbons, nestmate recognition, feeding larvae, and the accumulation of lipids inside this gland, whose origin is contradictory. The current study aimed to investigate the functions of these glands by examining the protein expression profile of the PPGs of Atta sexdens rubropilosa (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Mated females received lipid supplementation and their glands were extracted and analyzed using a proteomic approach. The protocol used combined two-dimensional electrophoresis and shotgun strategies, followed by mass spectrometry. We also detected lipid β-oxidation by immunofluorescent marking of acyl-CoA dehydrogenase. Supplying ants with lipids elicited responses in the glandular cells of the PPG; these included increased expression of proteins related to defense mechanisms and signal transduction and reorganization of the cytoskeleton due to cell expansion. In addition, some proteins in PPG were overexpressed, especially those involved in lipid and energy metabolism. Part of the lipids may be reduced, used for the synthesis of fatty alcohol, transported to the hemolymph, or may be used as substrate for the synthesis of acetyl-CoA, which is oxidized to form molecules that drive oxidative phosphorylation and produce energy for cellular metabolic processes. These findings suggest that this organ is specialized for lipid nutrition of adult leaf-cutting ants and characterized like a of diverticulum foregut, with the ability to absorb, store, metabolize, and mobilize lipids to the hemolymph. However, we do not rule out that the PPG may have other functions in other species of ants. PMID:27149618

  19. Occurrence of Transgenic Feral Alfalfa (Medicago sativa subsp. sativa L.) in Alfalfa Seed Production Areas in the United States

    PubMed Central

    Greene, Stephanie L.; Kesoju, Sandya R.; Martin, Ruth C.; Kramer, Matthew

    2015-01-01

    The potential environmental risks of transgene exposure are not clear for alfalfa (Medicago sativa subsp. sativa), a perennial crop that is cross-pollinated by insects. We gathered data on feral alfalfa in major alfalfa seed-production areas in the western United States to (1) evaluate evidence that feral transgenic plants spread transgenes and (2) determine environmental and agricultural production factors influencing the location of feral alfalfa, especially transgenic plants. Road verges in Fresno, California; Canyon, Idaho; and Walla Walla, Washington were surveyed in 2011 and 2012 for feral plants, and samples were tested for the CP4 EPSPS protein that conveys resistance to glyphosate. Of 4580 sites surveyed, feral plants were observed at 404 sites. Twenty-seven percent of these sites had transgenic plants. The frequency of sites having transgenic feral plants varied among our study areas. Transgenic plants were found in 32.7%, 21.4.7% and 8.3% of feral plant sites in Fresno, Canyon and Walla Walla, respectively. Spatial analysis suggested that feral populations started independently and tended to cluster in seed and hay production areas, places where seed tended to drop. Significant but low spatial auto correlation suggested that in some instances, plants colonized nearby locations. Neighboring feral plants were frequently within pollinator foraging range; however, further research is needed to confirm transgene flow. Locations of feral plant clusters were not well predicted by environmental and production variables. However, the likelihood of seed spillage during production and transport had predictive value in explaining the occurrence of transgenic feral populations. Our study confirms that genetically engineered alfalfa has dispersed into the environment, and suggests that minimizing seed spillage and eradicating feral alfalfa along road sides would be effective strategies to minimize transgene dispersal. PMID:26699337

  20. Alfalfa seed germination and yield ratio and alfalfa sprout microbial keeping quality following irradiation of seeds and sprouts.

    PubMed

    Rajkowski, K T; Thayer, D W

    2001-12-01

    Foods can be treated with gamma radiation, a nonthermal food process, to inactivate foodborne pathogens and fungi, to kill insects on or in fruits and vegetables, and to increase shelf life. Gamma irradiation is especially well suited for these treatments because of its ability to penetrate commercial pallets of foods. Irradiated fruits, vegetables, poultry, and hamburger have been received favorably by the public and are now available in supermarkets. The use of irradiation on fresh alfalfa sprouts was studied to determine its effect on keeping quality as related to aerobic microbial load. After an irradiation dose of 2 kGy, the total aerobic count decreased from 10(5-8) to 10(3-5) CFU/g, and the total coliform counts decreased from 10(5-8) to 10(3-0) CFU/g. The results showed that the sprouts maintained their structure after irradiation, and the keeping quality was extended to 21 days, which is an increase of 10 days from the usual shelf life. The effect of various doses of irradiation on alfalfa seeds as measured by percent germination and yield ratio (wt/wt) of sprouts was determined. There was little effect on the percent germination, but as the dose increased, the yield ratio of alfalfa sprouts decreased. As the length of growing time increased, so did the yield ratio of the lower dose irradiated seeds (1 to 2 kGy). The irradiation process can be used to increase the shelf life of alfalfa sprouts, and irradiating alfalfa seeds at doses up to 2 kGy does not unacceptably decrease the yield ratio for production of alfalfa sprouts. PMID:11770628

  1. Effects of alfalfa meal on carcase quality and fat metabolism of Muscovy ducks.

    PubMed

    Jiang, J F; Song, X M; Huang, X; Wu, J L; Zhou, W D; Zheng, H C; Jiang, Y Q

    2012-01-01

    1. The effects of alfalfa meal on carcase quality and fat metabolism of Muscovy duck were evaluated. The objective of this research was to establish whether alfalfa meal can reduce fat content and improve carcase quality of Muscovy duck. Animal products with a high fat content present a risk factor for many diseases. Reducing fat content in poultry products is an important goal for the poultry industry. 2. A total of 240 14-d-old white Muscovy ducks were selected and randomly allocated to 1 of 4 dietary treatments containing 0, 3, 6, and 9% of alfalfa meal for 5 weeks. Growth performances were recorded and carcase characteristics and lipid parameters were analysed. 3. Results showed that 3, 6, and 9% alfalfa meal in diet had no significant effects on growth performance of Muscovy ducks from 14 to 49 d of age. Ducks given 3, 6, and 9% alfalfa meal had significantly higher dressing percentage and lower abdominal fat percentage compared with those given no alfalfa meal. Ducks given 9% alfalfa meal had higher breast meat percentage compared with those given no alfalfa meal. The concentrations of triglyceride, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and free fatty acid in serum of ducks fed on alfalfa meal decreased. Alfalfa meal in the diet decreased abdominal fat percentage and improved carcase traits of Muscovy duck. 4. The study showed that dietary alfalfa meal decreased abdominal fat percentage and improved carcase traits, without an adverse effect on performance.

  2. Characteristics of honey bee and non-Apis bee (Hymenoptera) farms in Canada.

    PubMed

    Daly, Z; Melhim, A; Weersink, A

    2012-08-01

    Here, we present a farm-level, Canada-wide analysis of Canadian bee farms in 2006; this article is the first report to distinguish between honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) farms and non-Apis bee (Hymenoptera) farms. Farms are characterized according to bee species, bee stocks, and whether the farm makes 50% or more of gross sales from bee-related activities. Farm characteristics, including bee stocks, gross sales, capital investments, land base, specialization, location, and operator demographics, are reported for the different farm types and sizes. Non-Apis bee farms are revealed to be a nontrivial part of the Canadian bee industry: 21.2% of Canadian bee farms have non-Apis bees and 16.6% have exclusively non-Apis bees. Important differences between honey bee farms and non-Apis bee farms also are found. These differences include the more land-intensive nature of non-Apis bee farms and the finding that non-Apis bee farms have greater diversity in terms of their primary commodity, even at higher bee stock levels.

  3. Rapid analysis of hay attributes using NIRS. Final report, Task II alfalfa supply system

    SciTech Connect

    1997-10-24

    This final report provides technical information on the development of a near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) system for the analysis of alfalfa hay. The purpose of the system is to provide consistent quality for processing alfalfa stems for fuel and alfalfa leaf meal products for livestock feed. Project tasks were to: (1) develop an NIRS driven analytical system for analysis of alfalfa hay and processed alfalfa products; (2) assist in hiring a qualified NIRS technician and recommend changes in testing equipment necessary to provide accurate analysis; (3) calibrate the NIRS instrument for accurate analyses; and (4) develop prototype equipment and sampling procedures as a first step towards development of a totally automated sampling system that would rapidly sample and record incoming feedstock and outbound product. An accurate hay testing program was developed, along with calibration equations for analyzing alfalfa hay and sun-cured alfalfa pellets. A preliminary leaf steam calibration protocol was also developed. 7 refs., 11 figs., 10 tabs.

  4. Polarimetric applications to identify bee honey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Espinosa-Luna, Rafael; Saucedo-Orozco, Izcoatl; Santiago-Lona, Cynthia V.; Franco-Sánchez, Juan M.; Magallanes-Luján, Alejandro

    2011-10-01

    A polarimetric characterization, consisting of the Mueller matrix determination and the measurement of the refractive index, is employed to study bee honey and corn syrup differences. Two samples of commercial marks of bee honey and one sample of commercial mark corn syrup are studied. Results show the corn syrup and one of the bee honey samples have a similar polarimetric behavior, which differs from the second bee honey sample. This behavior can be employed as a simple, qualitative test, to discriminate true bee honey from corn syrup or from adulterated bee honey.s-powe

  5. Cocaine Tolerance in Honey Bees

    PubMed Central

    Søvik, Eirik; Cornish, Jennifer L.; Barron, Andrew B.

    2013-01-01

    Increasingly invertebrates are being used to investigate the molecular and cellular effects of drugs of abuse to explore basic mechanisms of addiction. However, in mammals the principle factors contributing to addiction are long-term adaptive responses to repeated drug use. Here we examined whether adaptive responses to cocaine are also seen in invertebrates using the honey bee model system. Repeated topical treatment with a low dose of cocaine rendered bees resistant to the deleterious motor effects of a higher cocaine dose, indicating the development of physiological tolerance to cocaine in bees. Cocaine inhibits biogenic amine reuptake transporters, but neither acute nor repeated cocaine treatments caused measurable changes in levels of biogenic amines measured in whole bee brains. Our data show clear short and long-term behavioural responses of bees to cocaine administration, but caution that, despite the small size of the bee brain, measures of biogenic amines conducted at the whole-brain level may not reveal neurochemical effects of the drug. PMID:23741423

  6. Sleep deprivation in honey bees.

    PubMed

    Sauer, Stefan; Herrmann, Eva; Kaiser, Walter

    2004-06-01

    Rest at night in forager honey bees (Apis mellifera) meets essential criteria of sleep. This paper reports the effect of a 12-h total sleep deprivation (SD) by forced activity on the behaviour of these animals. The behaviour of sleep-deprived animals is compared with that of control animals under LD [periodic alternation between light (L) and darkness (D)] 12 : 12 hours. SD for 12 h during the first D period resulted in a significant difference with respect to the parameter 'hourly amount of antennal immobility' between sleep-deprived and control animals during the remaining L and D periods. This difference did not occur in the L period following the deprivation night, but rather it became obvious at the beginning of the following D period. The increase of the amount of antennal immobility in sleep-deprived bees was accompanied by an increase of the duration of episodes of antennal immobility. Moreover, the latency from 'lights off' to the first episode of antennal immobility lasting 20 s or longer ('deep sleep latency') tended to be shorter in sleep-deprived than in control animals. Disturbing the bees during the day (L period) did not result in such differences between disturbed and control animals. Highest reaction thresholds in sleeping honey bees occur during long episodes of antennal immobility. We therefore conclude that honey bees compensate a sleep deficit by intensification (deepening) of the sleep process and thus that sleep in honey bees, like that in other arthropods and mammals, is controlled by regulatory mechanisms.

  7. Impact of preceding crop on alfalfa competitiveness with weeds

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Organic producers would like to include no-till practices in their farming systems. We are seeking to develop a continuous no-till system for organic farming, based on a complex rotation that includes a 3-year sequence of alfalfa. In this study, we evaluated impact of preceding crop on weed infest...

  8. Improved predictability of fertilizer nitrogen need for corn following alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Accounting for alfalfa nitrogen (N) credits to first-year corn reduces fertilizer N costs, over-application of N, and the risk of nitrate loss to ground water. It is equally important, however, to avoid inadequate N supply for corn. We analyzed nearly all previous research on fertilizer N response i...

  9. Complete Genome Sequence of the Alfalfa latent virus

    PubMed Central

    Shao, Jonathan; Postnikova, Olga A.

    2015-01-01

    The first complete genome sequence of the Alfalfa latent carlavirus (ALV) was obtained by primer walking and Illumina RNA sequencing. The virus differs substantially from the Czech ALV isolate and the Pea streak virus isolate from Wisconsin. The absence of a clear nucleic acid-binding protein indicates ALV divergence from other carlaviruses. PMID:25883281

  10. Evaluation of alfalfa-tall fescue mixtures across multiple environments

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Binary grass-legume mixtures can benefit forage production systems in different ways helping growers cope both with increasing input costs (e.g., N fertilizer, herbicides) and potentially more variable weather. The main objective of this study was to evaluate alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and tall f...

  11. Diversity of field isolates of sinorhizobium meliloti nodulating alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Most alfalfa seed is treated with a rhizobial inoculant consisting of one or more strains of Sinorhizobium meliloti before planting to enhance nodulation of seedlings. However, little is known about the persistence of inoculated strains later in the season. There is also a paucity of information on ...

  12. Characterization of alfalfa populations contrasting for root system architecture (RSA)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The root system architecture affects the capacity for nutrient and water uptake thus impacting biomass yield production and may contribute to the persistence of perennial plants. The objectives of this study were to phenotype the roots of three alfalfa populations and identify differences between di...

  13. Screening for Salnity Tolerance Among Falcata Alfalfa PI's

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Many western US rangelands high in salinity could benefit from a salt tolerant falcata type alfalfa. Our objective was to use a previously developed greenhouse screening protocol to characterize 32 PI's from the NPGS system for their relative ability to survive increasing levels of NaC1 relative to...

  14. Managing puncturevine in alfalfa hay and along field edges

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) is a nuisance and difficult to control weed in alfalfa hay field edges and borders. Puncturevine contaminated hay can contain high levels of nitrates and burs can injure mouths of livestock, lowering the value and quality of the hay. Puncturevine is a summer annual...

  15. The conservation and restoration of wild bees.

    PubMed

    Winfree, Rachael

    2010-05-01

    Bees pollinate most of the world's wild plant species and provide economically valuable pollination services to crops; yet knowledge of bee conservation biology lags far behind other taxa such as vertebrates and plants. There are few long-term data on bee populations, which makes their conservation status difficult to assess. The best-studied groups are the genus Bombus (the bumble bees), and bees in the EU generally; both of these are clearly declining. However, it is not known to what extent these groups represent the approximately 20,000 species of bees globally. As is the case for insects in general, bees are underrepresented in conservation planning and protection efforts. For example, only two bee species are on the global IUCN Red List, and no bee is listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, even though many bee species are known to be in steep decline or possibly extinct. At present, bee restoration occurs mainly in agricultural contexts, funded by government programs such as agri-environment schemes (EU) and the Farm Bill (USA). This is a promising approach given that many bee species can use human-disturbed habitats, and bees provide valuable pollination services to crops. However, agricultural restorations only benefit species that persist in agricultural landscapes, and they are more expensive than preserving natural habitat elsewhere. Furthermore, such restorations benefit bees in only about half of studied cases. More research is greatly needed in many areas of bee conservation, including basic population biology, bee restoration in nonagricultural contexts, and the identification of disturbance-sensitive bee species.

  16. The conservation and restoration of wild bees.

    PubMed

    Winfree, Rachael

    2010-05-01

    Bees pollinate most of the world's wild plant species and provide economically valuable pollination services to crops; yet knowledge of bee conservation biology lags far behind other taxa such as vertebrates and plants. There are few long-term data on bee populations, which makes their conservation status difficult to assess. The best-studied groups are the genus Bombus (the bumble bees), and bees in the EU generally; both of these are clearly declining. However, it is not known to what extent these groups represent the approximately 20,000 species of bees globally. As is the case for insects in general, bees are underrepresented in conservation planning and protection efforts. For example, only two bee species are on the global IUCN Red List, and no bee is listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, even though many bee species are known to be in steep decline or possibly extinct. At present, bee restoration occurs mainly in agricultural contexts, funded by government programs such as agri-environment schemes (EU) and the Farm Bill (USA). This is a promising approach given that many bee species can use human-disturbed habitats, and bees provide valuable pollination services to crops. However, agricultural restorations only benefit species that persist in agricultural landscapes, and they are more expensive than preserving natural habitat elsewhere. Furthermore, such restorations benefit bees in only about half of studied cases. More research is greatly needed in many areas of bee conservation, including basic population biology, bee restoration in nonagricultural contexts, and the identification of disturbance-sensitive bee species. PMID:20536823

  17. Gas, Stars, and Star Formation in Alfalfa Dwarf Galaxies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huang, Shan; Haynes, Martha P.; Giovanelli, Riccardo; Brinchmann, Jarle; Stierwalt, Sabrina; Neff, Susan G.

    2012-01-01

    We examine the global properties of the stellar and Hi components of 229 low H i mass dwarf galaxies extracted from the ALFALFA survey, including a complete sample of 176 galaxies with H i masses <10(sup 7.7) solar mass and Hi line widths <80 kilometers per second. Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data are combined with photometric properties derived from Galaxy Evolution Explorer to derive stellar masses (M*) and star formation rates (SFRs) by fitting their UV-optical spectral energy distributions (SEDs). In optical images, many of the ALFALFA dwarfs are faint and of low surface brightness; only 56% of those within the SDSS footprint have a counterpart in the SDSS spectroscopic survey. A large fraction of the dwarfs have high specific star formation rates (SSFRs), and estimates of their SFRs and M* obtained by SED fitting are systematically smaller than ones derived via standard formulae assuming a constant SFR. The increased dispersion of the SSFR distribution at M* approximately less than10(exp 8)M(sub 0) is driven by a set of dwarf galaxies that have low gas fractions and SSFRs; some of these are dE/dSphs in the Virgo Cluster. The imposition of an upper Hi mass limit yields the selection of a sample with lower gas fractions for their M* than found for the overall ALFALFA population. Many of the ALFALFA dwarfs, particularly the Virgo members, have H i depletion timescales shorter than a Hubble time. An examination of the dwarf galaxies within the full ALFALFA population in the context of global star formation (SF) laws is consistent with the general assumptions that gas-rich galaxies have lower SF efficiencies than do optically selected populations and that Hi disks are more extended than stellar ones.

  18. Entomology: A Bee Farming a Fungus.

    PubMed

    Oldroyd, Benjamin P; Aanen, Duur K

    2015-11-16

    Farming is done not only by humans, but also by some ant, beetle and termite species. With the discovery of a stingless bee farming a fungus that provides benefits to its larvae, bees can be added to this list.

  19. Honey Bees Inspired Optimization Method: The Bees Algorithm.

    PubMed

    Yuce, Baris; Packianather, Michael S; Mastrocinque, Ernesto; Pham, Duc Truong; Lambiase, Alfredo

    2013-01-01

    Optimization algorithms are search methods where the goal is to find an optimal solution to a problem, in order to satisfy one or more objective functions, possibly subject to a set of constraints. Studies of social animals and social insects have resulted in a number of computational models of swarm intelligence. Within these swarms their collective behavior is usually very complex. The collective behavior of a swarm of social organisms emerges from the behaviors of the individuals of that swarm. Researchers have developed computational optimization methods based on biology such as Genetic Algorithms, Particle Swarm Optimization, and Ant Colony. The aim of this paper is to describe an optimization algorithm called the Bees Algorithm, inspired from the natural foraging behavior of honey bees, to find the optimal solution. The algorithm performs both an exploitative neighborhood search combined with random explorative search. In this paper, after an explanation of the natural foraging behavior of honey bees, the basic Bees Algorithm and its improved versions are described and are implemented in order to optimize several benchmark functions, and the results are compared with those obtained with different optimization algorithms. The results show that the Bees Algorithm offering some advantage over other optimization methods according to the nature of the problem. PMID:26462528

  20. Honey Bees Inspired Optimization Method: The Bees Algorithm.

    PubMed

    Yuce, Baris; Packianather, Michael S; Mastrocinque, Ernesto; Pham, Duc Truong; Lambiase, Alfredo

    2013-11-06

    Optimization algorithms are search methods where the goal is to find an optimal solution to a problem, in order to satisfy one or more objective functions, possibly subject to a set of constraints. Studies of social animals and social insects have resulted in a number of computational models of swarm intelligence. Within these swarms their collective behavior is usually very complex. The collective behavior of a swarm of social organisms emerges from the behaviors of the individuals of that swarm. Researchers have developed computational optimization methods based on biology such as Genetic Algorithms, Particle Swarm Optimization, and Ant Colony. The aim of this paper is to describe an optimization algorithm called the Bees Algorithm, inspired from the natural foraging behavior of honey bees, to find the optimal solution. The algorithm performs both an exploitative neighborhood search combined with random explorative search. In this paper, after an explanation of the natural foraging behavior of honey bees, the basic Bees Algorithm and its improved versions are described and are implemented in order to optimize several benchmark functions, and the results are compared with those obtained with different optimization algorithms. The results show that the Bees Algorithm offering some advantage over other optimization methods according to the nature of the problem.

  1. Pollution monitoring using bees: a new service provided by honey bees

    SciTech Connect

    Bromenshenk, J.J.; Thomas, J.M.; Simpson, J.C.; Bishop, M.

    1983-10-01

    The objectives are to provide a tool for assessing pollutant distributions and the effects of pollutants on living systems. The potential of bees as pollution monitors was studied by examining bees exposed to toxic metals near a smelter in Montana and bees in the area surrounding a hazardous waste disposal site near Puget Sound, Washington. Levels of toxic metals in the bees and brood survival were examined. It was concluded bees were, indeed, suitable indicators of pollution levels. (ACR)

  2. Hologenome theory and the honey bee pathosphere

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent research shows substantial genomic diversity among the parasites and pathogens honey bees encounter, a robust microbiota living within bees, and a genome-level view of relationships across global honey bee races. Different combinations of these genomic complexes may explain regional variatio...

  3. Preventing bee mortality with RNA interference

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We present a real world example of the successful use of an RNAi product for disease control. RNAi increased bee health in the presence of the bee viral pathogen, IAPV. The importance of honey bees to the world economy far surpasses their contribution in terms of honey production; they are responsib...

  4. A Review of Bee Virology Progress

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bees play a vital role in global food production and sustainable ecological systems. However, honey bee colony losses at the rate of 20%-30% per year in recent years have been devastating to the agricultural industry and ecosystem that rely on honey bees for pollination. Among biotic and abiot...

  5. Digestive capacities of leaf-cutting ants and the contribution of their fungal cultivar to the degradation of plant material.

    PubMed

    Richard, Freddie-Jeanne; Mora, Philippe; Errard, Christine; Rouland, Corinne

    2005-07-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (tribe Attini) are a unique group of ants that cultivate a fungus that serves as a main source of their food. The fungus is grown on fresh leaves that are harvested by workers. We examine the respective contribution of ants and their symbiotic fungus in the degradation of plant material by examining the digestive capacities of seven Attini species in the genera Atta and Acromyrmex. The results show that both, the ants and their mutualistic fungi, have complementary enzymatic activities. Ants are specialized in the degradation of low molecular weight substrates (oligosaccharides and heterosides) whereas the fungus displays high polysaccharidase activity. The two genera Atta and Acromyrmex are not distinguished by a specific enzymatic activity. The seven different mutualistic associations examined display a similar enzymatic profile but have quantitative differences in substrate degradation activities. The respective contribution of ants and the fungus garden in plant degradation are discussed.

  6. Prewinter management affects Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) prepupal physiology and adult emergence and survival.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L; James, Rosalind R

    2009-08-01

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata F. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), is widely used as a pollinator for production of alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., seed, and populations of these bees can be maintained by alfalfa seed growers or can be purchased from mostly Canadian bee providers. M. rotundata raised in Canada have higher survival rates during the incubation that occurs after winter storage than do bees produced in the northwestern United States, but no reason has been found for this difference. We investigated whether storing immature M. rotundata for various time periods at a warm temperature (16 degrees C) before winter or allowing them to remain unmanaged at ambient temperatures affects physiological aspects of prepupae during the winter as well as the survival and longevity of adult bees after spring or summer incubation. Our results show that the timing of the onset of winter storage and incubation does affect prepupal weights, prepupal lipid and water contents, adult emergence, and adult female longevity. Winter storage of prepupae in November or December with a late June incubation resulted in heavier adults that emerged more readily than bees incubated in late May. However, adult females incubated in May thrived longer than June-incubated bees if fed a honey-water diet. Thus, some prewinter management regimes for M. rotundata commercial stocks may be more effective than others for achieving optimal adult emergence synchrony, as well as adult survival and longevity for pollination of a summer crop. PMID:19736750

  7. Revisiting the Economic Injury Level and Economic Threshold Model for Potato Leafhopper (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) in Alfalfa.

    PubMed

    Chasen, Elissa M; Undersander, Dan J; Cullen, Eileen M

    2015-08-01

    The economic injury level for potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae (Harris), in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) was developed over 30 yr ago. In response to increasing market value of alfalfa, farmers and consultants are interested in reducing the economic threshold for potato leafhopper in alfalfa. To address this question, caged field trials were established on two consecutive potato leafhopper susceptible crops in 2013. Field cages were infested with a range of potato leafhopper densities to create a linear regression of alfalfa yield response. The slopes, or yield loss per insect, for the linear regressions of both trials were used to calculate an economic injury level for a range of current alfalfa market values and control costs. This yield-loss relationship is the first quantification that could be used to help assess whether the economic threshold should be lowered, given the increased market value of alfalfa.

  8. Sleep deprivation in honey bees.

    PubMed

    Sauer, Stefan; Herrmann, Eva; Kaiser, Walter

    2004-06-01

    Rest at night in forager honey bees (Apis mellifera) meets essential criteria of sleep. This paper reports the effect of a 12-h total sleep deprivation (SD) by forced activity on the behaviour of these animals. The behaviour of sleep-deprived animals is compared with that of control animals under LD [periodic alternation between light (L) and darkness (D)] 12 : 12 hours. SD for 12 h during the first D period resulted in a significant difference with respect to the parameter 'hourly amount of antennal immobility' between sleep-deprived and control animals during the remaining L and D periods. This difference did not occur in the L period following the deprivation night, but rather it became obvious at the beginning of the following D period. The increase of the amount of antennal immobility in sleep-deprived bees was accompanied by an increase of the duration of episodes of antennal immobility. Moreover, the latency from 'lights off' to the first episode of antennal immobility lasting 20 s or longer ('deep sleep latency') tended to be shorter in sleep-deprived than in control animals. Disturbing the bees during the day (L period) did not result in such differences between disturbed and control animals. Highest reaction thresholds in sleeping honey bees occur during long episodes of antennal immobility. We therefore conclude that honey bees compensate a sleep deficit by intensification (deepening) of the sleep process and thus that sleep in honey bees, like that in other arthropods and mammals, is controlled by regulatory mechanisms. PMID:15175094

  9. Animal feed compositions containing phytase derived from transgenic alfalfa and methods of use thereof

    DOEpatents

    Austin-Phillips, Sandra; Koegel, Richard G.; Straub, Richard J.; Cook, Mark

    2001-01-01

    A value-added composition of matter containing plant matter from transgenic alfalfa which expresses exogenous phytase activity is disclosed. The phytase activity is a gene product of an exogenous gene encoding for phytase which has been stably incorporated into the genome of alfalfa plants. The transgenic alfalfa expresses phytase activity in nutritionally-significant amounts, thereby enabling its use in animal feeds to eliminate the need for phosphorous supplementation of livestock, poultry, and fish feed rations.

  10. Animal feed compositions containing phytase derived from transgenic alfalfa and methods of use thereof

    DOEpatents

    Austin-Phillips, Sandra; Koegel, Richard G.; Straub, Richard J.; Cook, Mark

    1999-01-01

    A value-added composition of matter containing plant matter from transgenic alfalfa which expresses exogenous phytase activity is disclosed. The phytase activity is a gene product of an exogenous gene encoding for phytase which has been stably incorporated into the genome of alfalfa plants. The transgenic alfalfa expresses phytase activity in nutritionally-significant amounts, thereby enabling its use in animal feeds to eliminate the need for phosphorous supplementation of livestock, poultry, and fish feed rations.

  11. Use of geostatistics to determine the spatial distribution and infestation rate of leaf-cutting ant nests (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in eucalyptus plantations.

    PubMed

    Lasmar, O; Zanetti, R; dos Santos, A; Fernandes, B V

    2012-08-01

    One of the fundamental steps in pest sampling is the assessment of the population distribution in the field. Several studies have investigated the distribution and appropriate sampling methods for leaf-cutting ants; however, more reliable methods are still required, such as those that use geostatistics. The objective of this study was to determine the spatial distribution and infestation rate of leaf-cutting ant nests in eucalyptus plantations by using geostatistics. The study was carried out in 2008 in two eucalyptus stands in Paraopeba, Minas Gerais, Brazil. All of the nests in the studied area were located and used for the generation of GIS maps, and the spatial pattern of distribution was determined considering the number and size of nests. Each analysis and map was made using the R statistics program and the geoR package. The nest spatial distribution in a savanna area of Minas Gerais was clustered to a certain extent. The models generated allowed the production of kriging maps of areas infested with leaf-cutting ants, where chemical intervention would be necessary, reducing the control costs, impact on humans, and the environment.

  12. Structural studies of bee melittin

    SciTech Connect

    Eisenberg, D.; Terwilliger, T.C.; Tsui, F.

    1980-10-01

    The question of how proteins refold in passing from an aqueous phase to an amphipathic environment such as a membrane is beig addressed by a structural study of bee melittin. Melittin is the toxic, main protein of bee venom, and has been shown by others to integrate into natural and synthetic membranes and to lyse a variety of cells. This function is presumably related to its unusual sequence. Except for charges at the N-terminus and at lysine 7, the first 20 residues are largely apolar. In contrast, the last six residues contain four charges and two polar residues.

  13. The plight of the bees

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Spivak, M.; Mader, E.; Vaughan, M.; Euliss, N.H.

    2011-01-01

    The loss of biodiversity is a trend that is garnering much concern. As organisms have evolved mutualistic and synergistic relationships, the loss of one or a few species can have a much wider environmental impact. Since much pollination is facilitated by bees, the reported colony collapse disorder has many worried of widespread agricultural fallout and thus deleterious impact on human foodstocks. In this Feature, Spivak et al. review what is known of the present state of bee populations and provide information on how to mitigate and reverse the trend. ?? 2010 American Chemical Society.

  14. Proteomics Analysis of Alfalfa Response to Heat Stress

    PubMed Central

    Li, Weimin; Wei, Zhenwu; Qiao, Zhihong; Wu, Zinian; Cheng, Lixiang; Wang, Yuyang

    2013-01-01

    The proteome responses to heat stress have not been well understood. In this study, alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. cv. Huaiyin) seedlings were exposed to 25°C (control) and 40°C (heat stress) in growth chambers, and leaves were collected at 24, 48 and 72 h after treatment, respectively. The morphological, physiological and proteomic processes were negatively affected under heat stress. Proteins were extracted and separated by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2-DE), and differentially expressed protein spots were identified by mass spectrometry (MS). Totally, 81 differentially expressed proteins were identified successfully by MALDI-TOF/TOF. These proteins were categorized into nine classes: including metabolism, energy, protein synthesis, protein destination/storage, transporters, intracellular traffic, cell structure, signal transduction and disease/defence. Five proteins were further analyzed for mRNA levels. The results of the proteomics analyses provide a better understanding of the molecular basis of heat-stress responses in alfalfa. PMID:24324825

  15. Developing PYTHON Codes for the Undergraduate ALFALFA Team

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Troischt, Parker; Ryan, Nicholas; Alfalfa Team

    2016-03-01

    We describe here progress toward developing a number of new PYTHON routines to be used by members of the Undergraduate ALFALFA Team. The codes are designed to analyze HI spectra and assist in identifying and categorizing some of the intriguing sources found in the initial blind ALFALFA survey. Numerical integration is performed on extragalactic sources using 21cm line spectra produced with the L-Band Wide receiver at the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center. Prior to the integration, polynomial fits are employed to obtain an appropriate baseline for each source. The codes developed here are part of a larger team effort to use new PYTHON routines in order to replace, upgrade, or supplement a wealth of existing IDL codes within the collaboration. This work has been supported by NSF Grant AST-1211005.

  16. Intercrop movement of convergent lady beetle, Hippodamia convergens (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), between adjacent cotton and alfalfa.

    PubMed

    Bastola, Anup; Parajulee, Megha N; Porter, R Patrick; Shrestha, Ram B; Chen, Fa-Jun; Carroll, Stanley C

    2016-02-01

    A 2-year study was conducted to characterize the intercrop movement of convergent lady beetle, Hippodamia convergens Guerin-Meneville (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) between adjacent cotton and alfalfa. A dual protein-marking method was used to assess the intercrop movement of the lady beetles in each crop. In turns field collected lady beetles in each crop were assayed by protein specific ELISA to quantify the movement of beetles between the crops. Results indicated that a high percentage of convergent lady beetles caught in cotton (46% in 2008; 56% in 2009) and alfalfa (46% in 2008; 71% in 2009) contained a protein mark, thus indicating that convergent lady beetle movement was largely bidirectional between the adjacent crops. Although at a much lower proportion, lady beetles also showed unidirectional movement from cotton to alfalfa (5% in 2008 and 6% in 2009) and from alfalfa to cotton (9% in 2008 and 14% in 2009). The season-long bidirectional movement exhibited by the beetles was significantly higher in alfalfa than cotton during both years of the study. The total influx of lady beetles (bidirectional and unidirectional combined) was significantly higher in alfalfa compared with that in cotton for both years. While convergent lady beetles moved between adjacent cotton and alfalfa, they were more attracted to alfalfa when cotton was not flowering and/or when alfalfa offered more opportunities for prey. This study offers much needed information on intercrop movement of the convergent lady beetle that should facilitate integrated pest management decisions in cotton utilizing conservation biological control.

  17. Adenylate cyclase activity in a higher plant, alfalfa (Medicago sativa).

    PubMed Central

    Carricarte, V C; Bianchini, G M; Muschietti, J P; Téllez-Iñón, M T; Perticari, A; Torres, N; Flawiá, M M

    1988-01-01

    An adenylate cyclase activity in Medicago sativa L. (alfalfa) roots was partially characterized. The enzyme activity remains in the supernatant fluid after centrifugation at 105,000 g and shows in crude extracts an apparent Mr of about 84,000. The enzyme is active with Mg2+ and Ca2+ as bivalent cations, and is inhibited by EGTA and by chlorpromazine. Calmodulin from bovine brain or spinach leaves activates this adenylate cyclase. PMID:3128270

  18. Alfalfa Leaf Curl Virus: an Aphid-Transmitted Geminivirus.

    PubMed

    Roumagnac, Philippe; Granier, Martine; Bernardo, Pauline; Deshoux, Maëlle; Ferdinand, Romain; Galzi, Serge; Fernandez, Emmanuel; Julian, Charlotte; Abt, Isabelle; Filloux, Denis; Mesléard, François; Varsani, Arvind; Blanc, Stéphane; Martin, Darren P; Peterschmitt, Michel

    2015-09-01

    The family Geminiviridae comprises seven genera differentiated by genome organization, sequence similarity, and insect vector. Capulavirus, an eighth genus, has been proposed to accommodate two newly discovered highly divergent geminiviruses that presently have no known vector. Alfalfa leaf curl virus, identified here as a third capulavirus, is shown to be transmitted by Aphis craccivora. This is the first report of an aphid-transmitted geminivirus. PMID:26109720

  19. Bee cups: Single-use cages for honey bee experiments

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bees face challenges ranging from poor nutrition to exposure to parasites, pathogens, and environmental chemicals. These challenges drain colony resources and have been tied to both subtle and extreme colony declines, including the enigmatic Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Understanding how ...

  20. Evaluation of two supplements for the prevention of alfalfa bloat.

    PubMed Central

    Hall, J W; Walker, I; Majak, W

    1994-01-01

    Poloxalene and a mineral mixture feed supplement patented for the treatment of emphysema, polyarthritis, and other pectin related diseases were tested in two trials for their ability to prevent bloat in cattle fed fresh alfalfa. Each trial had a crossover design using three Jersey steers with rumen fistulas per group. Each trial period continued until the total number of cases of bloat reached > or = 24. Treatments were given at 0800 each day. The mineral mixture was given at 100 g/d and 190 mg/kg body weight per day in the first and second trials, respectively. Poloxalene, which was tested only in the second trial, was given at 23 mg/kg body weight per day. Each group of steers was then fed 200 kg of freshly harvested alfalfa in the vegetative to early bloom stages of growth at 0830. In the first trial, only 69% as many cases of bloat occurred on the mineral mixture as on the control treatment, but no significant difference was detected in the second trial. The potency of the alfalfa may have been higher in the second trial, when forage dry matter was lower, magnesium and soluble nitrogen were higher, and bloat occasionally occurred twice a day. Bloat did not occur when the steers were treated with poloxalene. In these trials, poloxalene was completely effective in preventing bloat, but the mineral mixture was only partially so. PMID:7866960

  1. Preservation of honey bee semen.

    PubMed

    TABER, S; BLUM, M S

    1960-06-10

    Fertilized eggs have been obtained from queen honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) inseminated with sperm that had been stored in vitro at above-freezing temperatures for up to 68 days. The effects of various experimental storage treatments on semen are described. Semen shipped by ordinary mail has been successfully used for artificial insemination. PMID:13836523

  2. Sickness Behavior in Honey Bees.

    PubMed

    Kazlauskas, Nadia; Klappenbach, Martín; Depino, Amaicha M; Locatelli, Fernando F

    2016-01-01

    During an infection, animals suffer several changes in their normal physiology and behavior which may include lethargy, appetite loss, and reduction in grooming and general movements. This set of alterations is known as sickness behavior and although it has been extensively believed to be orchestrated primarily by the immune system, a relevant role for the central nervous system has also been established. The aim of the present work is to develop a simple animal model to allow studying how the immune and the nervous systems interact coordinately during an infection. We administered a bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the thorax of honey bees to mimic a bacterial infection, and then we evaluated a set of stereotyped behaviors of the animals that might be indicative of sickness behavior. First, we show that this immune challenge reduces the locomotor activity of the animals in a narrow time window after LPS injection. Furthermore, bees exhibit a loss of appetite 60 and 90 min after injection, but not 15 h later. We also demonstrate that LPS injection reduces spontaneous antennal movements in harnessed animals, which suggests a reduction in the motivational state of the bees. Finally, we show that the LPS injection diminishes the interaction between animals, a crucial behavior in social insects. To our knowledge these results represent the first systematic description of sickness behavior in honey bees and provide important groundwork for the study of the interaction between the immune and the neural systems in an insect model.

  3. Sickness Behavior in Honey Bees.

    PubMed

    Kazlauskas, Nadia; Klappenbach, Martín; Depino, Amaicha M; Locatelli, Fernando F

    2016-01-01

    During an infection, animals suffer several changes in their normal physiology and behavior which may include lethargy, appetite loss, and reduction in grooming and general movements. This set of alterations is known as sickness behavior and although it has been extensively believed to be orchestrated primarily by the immune system, a relevant role for the central nervous system has also been established. The aim of the present work is to develop a simple animal model to allow studying how the immune and the nervous systems interact coordinately during an infection. We administered a bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the thorax of honey bees to mimic a bacterial infection, and then we evaluated a set of stereotyped behaviors of the animals that might be indicative of sickness behavior. First, we show that this immune challenge reduces the locomotor activity of the animals in a narrow time window after LPS injection. Furthermore, bees exhibit a loss of appetite 60 and 90 min after injection, but not 15 h later. We also demonstrate that LPS injection reduces spontaneous antennal movements in harnessed animals, which suggests a reduction in the motivational state of the bees. Finally, we show that the LPS injection diminishes the interaction between animals, a crucial behavior in social insects. To our knowledge these results represent the first systematic description of sickness behavior in honey bees and provide important groundwork for the study of the interaction between the immune and the neural systems in an insect model. PMID:27445851

  4. Ants, Wasps, and Bees (Hymenoptera)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Stinging wasps, bees, and ants are a problem for farm workers, particularly at harvest when these insects are attracted to ripe fruits. Researchers at the USDA-ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, WA, together with personnel at Oral Roberts University compiled available information o...

  5. Preservation of honey bee semen.

    PubMed

    TABER, S; BLUM, M S

    1960-06-10

    Fertilized eggs have been obtained from queen honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) inseminated with sperm that had been stored in vitro at above-freezing temperatures for up to 68 days. The effects of various experimental storage treatments on semen are described. Semen shipped by ordinary mail has been successfully used for artificial insemination.

  6. Sickness Behavior in Honey Bees

    PubMed Central

    Kazlauskas, Nadia; Klappenbach, Martín; Depino, Amaicha M.; Locatelli, Fernando F.

    2016-01-01

    During an infection, animals suffer several changes in their normal physiology and behavior which may include lethargy, appetite loss, and reduction in grooming and general movements. This set of alterations is known as sickness behavior and although it has been extensively believed to be orchestrated primarily by the immune system, a relevant role for the central nervous system has also been established. The aim of the present work is to develop a simple animal model to allow studying how the immune and the nervous systems interact coordinately during an infection. We administered a bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the thorax of honey bees to mimic a bacterial infection, and then we evaluated a set of stereotyped behaviors of the animals that might be indicative of sickness behavior. First, we show that this immune challenge reduces the locomotor activity of the animals in a narrow time window after LPS injection. Furthermore, bees exhibit a loss of appetite 60 and 90 min after injection, but not 15 h later. We also demonstrate that LPS injection reduces spontaneous antennal movements in harnessed animals, which suggests a reduction in the motivational state of the bees. Finally, we show that the LPS injection diminishes the interaction between animals, a crucial behavior in social insects. To our knowledge these results represent the first systematic description of sickness behavior in honey bees and provide important groundwork for the study of the interaction between the immune and the neural systems in an insect model. PMID:27445851

  7. Gas, Stars, and Star Formation in ALFALFA Dwarf Galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Shan; Haynes, Martha P.; Giovanelli, Riccardo; Brinchmann, Jarle; Stierwalt, Sabrina; Neff, Susan G.

    2012-06-01

    We examine the global properties of the stellar and H I components of 229 low H I mass dwarf galaxies extracted from the ALFALFA survey, including a complete sample of 176 galaxies with H I masses <107.7 M ⊙ and H I line widths <80 km s-1. Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data are combined with photometric properties derived from Galaxy Evolution Explorer to derive stellar masses (M *) and star formation rates (SFRs) by fitting their UV-optical spectral energy distributions (SEDs). In optical images, many of the ALFALFA dwarfs are faint and of low surface brightness; only 56% of those within the SDSS footprint have a counterpart in the SDSS spectroscopic survey. A large fraction of the dwarfs have high specific star formation rates (SSFRs), and estimates of their SFRs and M * obtained by SED fitting are systematically smaller than ones derived via standard formulae assuming a constant SFR. The increased dispersion of the SSFR distribution at M * <~ 108 M ⊙ is driven by a set of dwarf galaxies that have low gas fractions and SSFRs; some of these are dE/dSphs in the Virgo Cluster. The imposition of an upper H I mass limit yields the selection of a sample with lower gas fractions for their M * than found for the overall ALFALFA population. Many of the ALFALFA dwarfs, particularly the Virgo members, have H I depletion timescales shorter than a Hubble time. An examination of the dwarf galaxies within the full ALFALFA population in the context of global star formation (SF) laws is consistent with the general assumptions that gas-rich galaxies have lower SF efficiencies than do optically selected populations and that H I disks are more extended than stellar ones. Based on observations made with the Arecibo Observatory and the NASA Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX). The Arecibo Observatory is operated by SRI International under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (AST-1100968), and in alliance with Ana G. Méndez-Universidad Metropolitana and

  8. Identifying OH Imposters in the ALFALFA HI Survey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suess, Katherine; Darling, Jeremiah K.; Haynes, Martha P.; Giovanelli, Riccardo

    2015-01-01

    OH megamasers (OHMs) are rare, luminous molecular masers that are typically observed in (ultra) luminous infrared galaxies and serve as markers of major galaxy mergers. In blind emission line surveys such as the ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast Arecibo L-Band Feed Array) survey for neutral hydrogen (HI) in the local universe, OHMs at z~0.2 can mimic z~0.05 HI lines. We present the results of optical spectroscopy of ambiguous HI detections in the ALFALFA 40% data release [1] detected by WISE but with uncertain optical counterparts. The optical redshifts, obtained from observations at the Apache Point Observatory 3.5m telescope, identified 127 HI optical counterparts and discovered five new OHMs. Fifty-six candidates remain ambiguous. The new OHMs are the first detected in a blind spectral line survey.The number of OHMs in ALFALFA matches predictions based on the OH luminosity function [2]. Additionally, the OHMs found in a blind survey do not seem to differ from those found in previous targeted surveys. This provides validation of the methods used in previous IR-selected OHM surveys and indicates there is no previously unknown OHM-producing population at z~0.2. We also provide a method for future surveys to separate OH and HI lines without expensive spectral observations. This method utilizes infrared colors and magnitudes, such as WISE mid-IR data. Since the fraction of OHMs found in flux-limited HI surveys is expected to increase with the redshift of the survey [3], this analysis can be applied to future flux-limited high-redshift hydrogen surveys.We thank the ALFALFA team for observing and producing the survey dataset. The ALFALFA team at Cornell is supported by NSF AST-1107390 and the Brinson Foundation.[1] Haynes, M. P., R. Giovanelli, A. M. Martin, K. M. Hess, A. Saintonge, et al. 2011, Astron J, 142, 142[2] Darling, J. & R. Giovanelli 2002, Astrophys J, 572, 810[3] Briggs, F. H. 1998, A&A, 336, 815

  9. Effects of alfalfa meal on the intestinal microbial diversity and immunity of growing ducks.

    PubMed

    Jiang, J F; Song, X M; Wu, J L; Jiang, Y Q

    2014-12-01

    This study was conducted to investigate the effects of alfalfa meal diets on the intestinal microbial diversity and immunity of growing egg-type ducks. A total of 128 healthy 7-week-old female egg-type Shaoxing ducks were selected and randomly assigned into four dietary treatments: 0%, 3%, 6% and 9% alfalfa meal for 8 weeks. Each treatment consisted of four replicates of eight ducks each. Polymerase chain reaction denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) was used to characterize the microbiota. The results showed that the DGGE fingerprints of the V6-V8 fragments of the 16S rRNA from the caeca and faeces of ducks fed 3%, 6% and 9% alfalfa meal had significantly higher microbiota species richness than those fed 0% alfalfa meal (p < 0.05). The Shannon-Weiner index of the microbiota from the caeca and faeces of ducks fed 3%, 6% and 9% alfalfa meal was significantly higher than those fed 0% alfalfa meal (p < 0.05). Molecular analysis of the caecal and faecal DNA extracts showed that the alfalfa meal diet promotes the intestinal microbial diversity, as indicated by their higher species richness and Shannon-Weiner index. However, the groups did not significantly differ in terms of average daily gain, feed intake and gain-to-feed ratio (p > 0.05), and the 3-9% alfalfa meal did not affect the growth performance of the growing egg-type ducks. The proliferation of T and B lymphocytes was significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the groups supplemented with 3%, 6% and 9% of alfalfa meal than the unsupplemented control group, and alfalfa meal promoted the lymphocytes proliferation of the growing egg-type ducks. Dietary alfalfa meal supplementation increases intestinal microbial community diversity and improves of the immune response growing egg-type ducks.

  10. Effects of alfalfa meal on the intestinal microbial diversity and immunity of growing ducks.

    PubMed

    Jiang, J F; Song, X M; Wu, J L; Jiang, Y Q

    2014-12-01

    This study was conducted to investigate the effects of alfalfa meal diets on the intestinal microbial diversity and immunity of growing egg-type ducks. A total of 128 healthy 7-week-old female egg-type Shaoxing ducks were selected and randomly assigned into four dietary treatments: 0%, 3%, 6% and 9% alfalfa meal for 8 weeks. Each treatment consisted of four replicates of eight ducks each. Polymerase chain reaction denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) was used to characterize the microbiota. The results showed that the DGGE fingerprints of the V6-V8 fragments of the 16S rRNA from the caeca and faeces of ducks fed 3%, 6% and 9% alfalfa meal had significantly higher microbiota species richness than those fed 0% alfalfa meal (p < 0.05). The Shannon-Weiner index of the microbiota from the caeca and faeces of ducks fed 3%, 6% and 9% alfalfa meal was significantly higher than those fed 0% alfalfa meal (p < 0.05). Molecular analysis of the caecal and faecal DNA extracts showed that the alfalfa meal diet promotes the intestinal microbial diversity, as indicated by their higher species richness and Shannon-Weiner index. However, the groups did not significantly differ in terms of average daily gain, feed intake and gain-to-feed ratio (p > 0.05), and the 3-9% alfalfa meal did not affect the growth performance of the growing egg-type ducks. The proliferation of T and B lymphocytes was significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the groups supplemented with 3%, 6% and 9% of alfalfa meal than the unsupplemented control group, and alfalfa meal promoted the lymphocytes proliferation of the growing egg-type ducks. Dietary alfalfa meal supplementation increases intestinal microbial community diversity and improves of the immune response growing egg-type ducks. PMID:24460922

  11. Identification of molecular markers associated with verticillium wilt resistance in alfalfa (medicago sativa l.) using high-resolution melting

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Verticillium wilt (VW), caused by the soilborne fungus, Verticillium alfalfae, is one of the most serious diseases of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) worldwide. To identify loci associated with resistance to VW, an association study was conducted using autotetraploid alfalfa populations composed of 352...

  12. Competitive interactions between neotropical pollinators and africanized honey bees.

    PubMed

    Roubik, D W

    1978-09-15

    The Africanized honey bee, a hybrid of European and African honey bees, is thought to displace native pollinators. After experimental introduction of Africanized honey bee hives near flowers, stingless bees became less abundant or harvested-less resource as visitation by Africanized honey bees increased. Shifts in resource use caused by colonizing Africanized honey bees may lead to population decline of Neotropical pollinators. PMID:17743636

  13. Economics of growth regulator treatment of alfalfa seed for interseeding into silage corn

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Previous studies have focused on interseeding of alfalfa into corn for use as a temporary cover crop rather than as a means of jump-starting alfalfa production after corn. In ongoing field studies, we are evaluating whether plant growth regulators (PGR) may be used to aid the establishment of inters...

  14. Alfalfa interseeded into silage corn can serve as a cover crop and subsequent forage crop

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and corn (Zea mays) silage are commonly grown in rotation in dairy forage production systems throughout the northern regions of the USA. Alfalfa interseeded into silage corn could potentially serve two purposes: as a cover crop during the silage corn production year, and as...

  15. Research seeks to improve the establishment and subsequent yield of alfalfa interseeded into silage corn

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This popular press article briefly describes the potential benefits of using prohexadione-calcium for enhancing the establishment of alfalfa interseeded into silage corn. Prohexadione sprayed in June with drop nozzles at 10 to 14 oz ai/A typically reduced alfalfa top growth by about 20% in July and ...

  16. Sustainable biomass energy production and rural economic development using alfalfa as feedstock

    SciTech Connect

    DeLong, M.M.; Swanberg, D.R.; Oelke, E.A.

    1995-11-01

    Alfalfa is a well-known and widely-planted crop that offers environmental and soil conservation advantages when grown as a 4-year segment in a 7-year rotation with corn and soybeans. Alfalfa fixes nitrogen from the air, thereby enhancing soil nitrogen and decreasing the need for manufactured nitrogen fertilizer. With alfalfa yields of 4 dry tons per acre per year and with separate alfalfa leaves being sold as a high-value animal feed, separated alfalfa stems can be economically viable fuel feedstock for a gasifier combined cycle power plant. This paper reports on a feasibility study for an integrated biomass power system, where an energy crop (alfalfa) is coupled to a processing plant and a power plant (integrated gasification combined cycle with hot gas cleanup) in a way that benefits the joint venture of an alfalfa producers cooperative and a utility entity. The sale of a mid-level protein animal feed co-product and electricity both support the production cost of alfalfa. The co-product/fuel processing operation uses a common train of equipment, thereby requiring neither product to carry the total cost. The power plant provides an important continuous demand for the feedstock and results in continuous supply of leaf product to provide a reliable supply needed for the leaf meal product.

  17. Transcriptome analysis of resistant and susceptible alfalfa cultivars infected with root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Nematodes are one of the major limiting factors in alfalfa production. Root knot nematodes (RKN, Meloidogyne spp.) are widely distributed and economically important sedentary endoparasites of agricultural crops (Castagnone-Sereno et al. 2013) and they may inflict significant damage to alfalfa fields...

  18. Using Gene Arrays as Tools to Develop Alfalfa as a Biomass Crop

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa has considerable potential as a biomass feedstock for producing cellulosic ethanol. The model that we propose for alfalfa as a biomass crop involves stripping leaves from stems. The leaves would be used as a protein supplement for livestock while the stems would be used for cellulosic ethano...

  19. Prohexadione-calcium improves stand density and yield of alfalfa interseeded into silage corn

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Interseeded alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) could serve as a dual-purpose crop to provide groundcover for silage corn (Zea mays L.) and forage during subsequent years of production, but interspecific competition often leads to poor stands of alfalfa and unsatisfactory yields of corn. Four experiments e...

  20. Field Testing of Alfalfa Cultivars for resistance to Sclerotinia Crown and Stem Rot: Problems and Progress

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sclerotinia crown and stem rot (SCSR), caused by Sclerotinia trifoliorum, often causes severe losses in late-summer seeded alfalfa. The disease may be especially destructive when no-till methods are used. Most alfalfa cultivars presently available may be severely damaged when inoculcum concentrat...

  1. Extraction, composition, and functional properties of dried alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) leaf protein

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Alfalfa, traditionally used for animal feed, has attracted attention as a potential feedstock for biofuels and the viability of the process would be enhanced by co-products with value-added uses. This study describes extraction of protein from dried alfalfa leaves and the functional properties of th...

  2. Alfalfa transgene dispersal and adventitious presence: understanding grower perception of risk

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recognizing the importance of coexistence, the alfalfa industry has developed a set of Best Management Practices (BMP) to maintain separation of GE and conventional production. But the success of BMP depends upon the degree that growers comply. Therefore we surveyed 530 alfalfa hay and seed producer...

  3. Effects of dairy slurry on the nutritive value and fermentation characteristics of alfalfa silages

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Dairy producers frequently ask questions about the risks associated with applying dairy slurry onto growing alfalfa. Our objectives were to determine the effects of dairy-slurry application on the subsequent nutritive value and fermentation characteristics of alfalfa silages. Dairy slurry was applie...

  4. Effects of dairy slurry on silage fermentation characteristics and nutritive value of alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Dairy producers frequently ask questions about the risks associated with applying dairy slurry to growing alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Our objectives were to determine the effects of applying dairy slurry on the subsequent nutritive value and fermentation characteristics of alfalfa balage. Dairy sl...

  5. Roadside alfalfa: Innocent bystanders or conveyers of genetically-engineered traits?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Clumps of alfalfa are a common sight along roads and vacant lots in areas that grow alfalfa for hay or seed. So what role do feral roadside plants play in dispersing transgenes? Is there a risk that transgenic feral plants serve as reservoirs or conduits that might facilitate the movement of transg...

  6. Decline and conservation of bumble bees.

    PubMed

    Goulson, D; Lye, G C; Darvill, B

    2008-01-01

    Declines in bumble bee species in the past 60 years are well documented in Europe, where they are driven primarily by habitat loss and declines in floral abundance and diversity resulting from agricultural intensification. Impacts of habitat degradation and fragmentation are likely to be compounded by the social nature of bumble bees and their largely monogamous breeding system, which renders their effective population size low. Hence, populations are susceptible to stochastic extinction events and inbreeding. In North America, catastrophic declines of some bumble bee species since the 1990s are probably attributable to the accidental introduction of a nonnative parasite from Europe, a result of global trade in domesticated bumble bee colonies used for pollination of greenhouse crops. Given the importance of bumble bees as pollinators of crops and wildflowers, steps must be taken to prevent further declines. Suggested measures include tight regulation of commercial bumble bee use and targeted use of environmentally comparable schemes to enhance floristic diversity in agricultural landscapes.

  7. Differential sensitivity of honey bees and bumble bees to a dietary insecticide (imidacloprid).

    PubMed

    Cresswell, James E; Page, Christopher J; Uygun, Mehmet B; Holmbergh, Marie; Li, Yueru; Wheeler, Jonathan G; Laycock, Ian; Pook, Christopher J; de Ibarra, Natalie Hempel; Smirnoff, Nick; Tyler, Charles R

    2012-12-01

    Currently, there is concern about declining bee populations and the sustainability of pollination services. One potential threat to bees is the unintended impact of systemic insecticides, which are ingested by bees in the nectar and pollen from flowers of treated crops. To establish whether imidacloprid, a systemic neonicotinoid and insect neurotoxin, harms individual bees when ingested at environmentally realistic levels, we exposed adult worker bumble bees, Bombus terrestris L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), and honey bees, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), to dietary imidacloprid in feeder syrup at dosages between 0.08 and 125μg l(-1). Honey bees showed no response to dietary imidacloprid on any variable that we measured (feeding, locomotion and longevity). In contrast, bumble bees progressively developed over time a dose-dependent reduction in feeding rate with declines of 10-30% in the environmentally relevant range of up to 10μg l(-1), but neither their locomotory activity nor longevity varied with diet. To explain their differential sensitivity, we speculate that honey bees are better pre-adapted than bumble bees to feed on nectars containing synthetic alkaloids, such as imidacloprid, by virtue of their ancestral adaptation to tropical nectars in which natural alkaloids are prevalent. We emphasise that our study does not suggest that honey bee colonies are invulnerable to dietary imidacloprid under field conditions, but our findings do raise new concern about the impact of agricultural neonicotinoids on wild bumble bee populations.

  8. Gauging the effect of honey bee pollen collection on native bee communities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The broad question --“Do honey bees compete with native bees?” -- has no singular answer for wildlands, being functions of: 1) the variable stocking densities of bees, and 2) unknowable carrying capacities of floral resources. The conventional approach, i.e. experimental demonstration of direct expl...

  9. The determination of nest depth in founding queens of leaf-cutting ants (Atta vollenweideri): idiothetic and temporal control.

    PubMed

    Fröhle, Kerstin; Roces, Flavio

    2012-05-15

    Leaf-cutting ant queens excavate a founding nest consisting of a vertical tunnel and a final horizontal chamber. Nest foundation is very time consuming, and colony success depends on the excavated depth. Although shallow nests may be energetically cheaper to dig, queens may be more exposed to the changing environment. Deeper chambers, in contrast, may be climatically more stable, but are more expensive to dig. We investigated the mechanisms underlying the control of nest depth in queens of the leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri. We focused on the use of internal information for the control of nest depth, and therefore maintained the soil and environmental conditions invariant during the different laboratory experiments. We compared the tunnel lengths excavated by queens that were able to complete their nests earlier, faster or slower than under standard conditions. An earlier and faster nest completion was obtained by offering queens either pre-excavated tunnels of different lengths, soils at different temperatures, or soft sandy soils. A slower nest excavation was induced by offering queens harder dry soils, and by delaying the start of digging several days after the nuptial flight. Results indicate that the determination of nest depth was a regulated process involving the use of internal references: queens excavated their tunnels either until a particular depth was reached or for some predetermined length of time. Queens appear to monitor their movements while walking up und down the tunnel, and to compare this sensory information with a motor command that represents a preset tunnel length to be excavated before switching to chamber digging. In addition to this form of idiothetic control, results indicate that the elapsed digging time also feeds back onto the control system. It is argued that the determination of nest depth, i.e. the transition from tunnel to chamber digging, is initiated either after a preset tunnel length is reached, or as soon as a maximal

  10. Complete genome sequence of a new enamovirus from Argentina infecting alfalfa plants showing dwarfism symptoms.

    PubMed

    Bejerman, Nicolás; Giolitti, Fabián; Trucco, Verónica; de Breuil, Soledad; Dietzgen, Ralf G; Lenardon, Sergio

    2016-07-01

    Alfalfa dwarf disease, probably caused by synergistic interactions of mixed virus infections, is a major and emergent disease that threatens alfalfa production in Argentina. Deep sequencing of diseased alfalfa plant samples from the central region of Argentina resulted in the identification of a new virus genome resembling enamoviruses in sequence and genome structure. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that it is a new member of the genus Enamovirus, family Luteoviridae. The virus is tentatively named "alfalfa enamovirus 1" (AEV-1). The availability of the AEV-1 genome sequence will make it possible to assess the genetic variability of this virus and to construct an infectious clone to investigate its role in alfalfa dwarfism disease. PMID:27068164

  11. Honey Bee Hemocyte Profiling by Flow Cytometry

    PubMed Central

    Marringa, William J.; Krueger, Michael J.; Burritt, Nancy L.; Burritt, James B.

    2014-01-01

    Multiple stress factors in honey bees are causing loss of bee colonies worldwide. Several infectious agents of bees are believed to contribute to this problem. The mechanisms of honey bee immunity are not completely understood, in part due to limited information about the types and abundances of hemocytes that help bees resist disease. Our study utilized flow cytometry and microscopy to examine populations of hemolymph particulates in honey bees. We found bee hemolymph includes permeabilized cells, plasmatocytes, and acellular objects that resemble microparticles, listed in order of increasing abundance. The permeabilized cells and plasmatocytes showed unexpected differences with respect to properties of the plasma membrane and labeling with annexin V. Both permeabilized cells and plasmatocytes failed to show measurable mitochondrial membrane potential by flow cytometry using the JC-1 probe. Our results suggest hemolymph particulate populations are dynamic, revealing significant differences when comparing individual hive members, and when comparing colonies exposed to diverse conditions. Shifts in hemocyte populations in bees likely represent changing conditions or metabolic differences of colony members. A better understanding of hemocyte profiles may provide insight into physiological responses of honey bees to stress factors, some of which may be related to colony failure. PMID:25285798

  12. Selenium and sulfur relationships in alfalfa and soil under field conditions, San Joaquin Valley, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Severson, R.C.; Gough, L.P.

    1992-01-01

    Relationships between total Se and S or soluble SeO4 and SO4 in soils and tissue concentrations in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), under field conditions in the San Joaquin Valley of California, suggest that the rate of accumulation of Se in alfalfa may be reduced in areas where high Se and S concentrations in soils were measured. These data suggest that the balance between carbonate and sulfate minerals in soil may have a greater influence on uptake of Se by alfalfa than does the balance of SeO4 and SO4 in soil solution. Soil and alfalfa were sampled from areas representing a wide range in soil Se and S concentrations. Specific sampling locations were selected based on a previous study of Se, S, and other elements where 721 soil samples were collected to map landscape variability and distribution of elements. Six multiple-linear regression equations were developed between total and/or soluble soil chemical constituents and tissue concentrations of Se in alfalfa. We chose a regression model that accounted for 72% of the variability in alfalfa Se concentrations based on an association of elements in soil (total C, S, Se, and Sr) determined by factor analysis. To prepare a map showing the spatial distribution of estimated alfalfa Se concentrations, the model was applied to the data from the previously collected 721 soil samples. Estimated alfalfa Se concentrations in most of the study area were within a range that is predicted to produce alfalfa with neither Se deficiency nor toxicity when consumed by livestock. A few small areas are predicted to produce alfalfa that potentially would not meet minimum dietary needs of livestock.

  13. Effects of alfalfa meal on growth performance and gastrointestinal tract development of growing ducks.

    PubMed

    Jiang, J F; Song, X M; Huang, X; Zhou, W D; Wu, J L; Zhu, Z G; Zheng, H C; Jiang, Y Q

    2012-10-01

    A study was conducted to evaluate effects of alfalfa meal on growth performance and gastrointestinal tract development of growing layer ducks to provide evidence for application of alfalfa meal in the duck industry. Two hundred and fifty-six healthy Shaoxing 7-wk old growing layer ducks were selected and randomly allocated to 1 of 4 dietary treatments based on corn and soybean meal and containing 0, 3, 6, and 9% of alfalfa meal for 8 wks. Each treatment consisted of 4 replicates of 16 ducks each. Briefly, birds were raised in separate compartments, and each compartment consisted of three parts: indoor floor house, adjacent open area and a connecting water area. The results showed: i) Growing ducks fed alfalfa meal diet were not significantly different in average daily gain, feed intake and gain-to-feed ratio from those fed no alfalfa diet (p>0.05). ii) Alfalfa meal increased the ratio crop, gizzard to live weight, caecum to live weight, the caecum index of growing ducks (p<0.05). iii) Villus height in duodenum and jejunum of growing ducks increased significantly with the increase of alfalfa meal levels (p<0.05). Crypt depth in duodenum and jejunum of growing ducks decreased significantly with the increase of alfalfa meal levels (p<0.05). This experiment showed that feeding of alfalfa meal to growing layer ducks could improve gastrointestinal tract growth and small intestinal morphology without effect on performance. This experiment provides evidence that alfalfa meal is a very valuable feedstuff for growing layer ducks.

  14. Beta-Amylases from Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) Roots 1

    PubMed Central

    Doehlert, Douglas C.; Duke, Stanley H.; Anderson, Laurens

    1982-01-01

    Amylase was found in high activity (193 international units per milligram protein) in the tap root of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. cv. Sonora). The activity was separated by gel filtration chromatography into two fractions with molecular weights of 65,700 (heavy amylase) and 41,700 (light amylase). Activity staining of electrophoretic gels indicated the presence of one isozyme in the heavy amylase fraction and two in the light amylase fraction. Three amylase isozymes with electrophoretic mobilities identical to those in the heavy and the light amylase fractions were the only amylases identified in crude root preparations. Both heavy and light amylases hydrolyzed amylopectin, soluble starch, and amylose but did not hydrolyze pullulan or β-limit dextrin. The ratio of viscosity change to reducing power production during starch hydrolysis was identical for both alfalfa amylase fractions and sweet potato β-amylase, while that of bacterial α-amylase was considerably higher. The identification of maltose and β-limit dextrin as hydrolytic end-products confirmed that these alfalfa root amylases are all β-amylases. The pH optimum for both β-amylase fractions was 6.0. Both light and heavy β-amylases showed normal Michaelis-Menten kinetics, with soluble starch as substrate, and had respectively Km values of 5.9 and 6.8 milligrams starch per milliliter and Vmax of 640 and 130 international units per milligram protein. Arrhenius plots indicated that the energy of activation for the heavy β-amylase remained relatively unchanged (12.7 to 13.0 kilocalories per mole) from 0 to 30°C, whereas the energy of activation for the light amylase increased from 12.0 to about 28.0 kilocalories per mole at 8.7°C as temperature was lowered. The light amylase was shown to be inhibited by maltose. Images PMID:16662350

  15. Identifying OH Imposters in the ALFALFA Neutral Hydrogen Survey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suess, Katherine A.; Darling, Jeremy; Haynes, Martha P.; Giovanelli, Riccardo

    2016-06-01

    OH megamasers (OHMs) are rare, luminous molecular masers that are typically observed in (ultra) luminous infrared galaxies and serve as markers of major galaxy mergers. In blind emission line surveys such as the Arecibo Legacy Fast Arecibo L-Band Feed Array (ALFALFA) survey for neutral hydrogen (H I), OHMs at z ˜ 0.2 can mimic z ˜ 0.05 H I lines. We present the results of optical spectroscopy of ambiguous H I detections in the ALFALFA 40 per cent data release detected by the Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) but with uncertain optical counterparts. The optical redshifts, obtained from observations at the Apache Point Observatory, revealed five new OHMs and identified 129 H I optical counterparts. 60 candidates remain ambiguous. The new OHMs are the first detected in a blind spectral line survey. The number of OHMs in ALFALFA is consistent with predictions from the OH luminosity function. Additionally, the mid-infrared magnitudes and colours of the OHM host galaxies found in a blind survey do not seem to differ from those found in previous targeted surveys. This validates the methods used in previous IR-selected OHM surveys and indicates there is no previously unknown OHM-producing population at z ˜ 0.2. We also provide a method for future surveys to separate OH megamasers from 99 per cent of H I line emitters without optical spectroscopy by using WISE infrared colours and magnitudes. Since the fraction of OHMs found in flux-limited H I surveys is expected to increase with the survey's redshift, this selection method can be applied to future flux-limited high-redshift hydrogen surveys.

  16. [Population dynamics of ground carabid beetles and spiders in a wheat field along the wheat-alfalfa interface and their response to alfalfa mowing].

    PubMed

    Liu, Wen-Hui; Hu, Yi-Jun; Hu, Wen-Chao; Hong, Bo; Guan, Xiao-Qing; Ma, Shi-Yu; He, Da-Han

    2014-09-01

    Taking the wheat-alfalfa and wheat-wheat interfaces as model systems, sampling points were set by the method of pitfall trapping in the wheat field at the distances of 3 m, 6 m, 9 m, 12 m, 15 m, 18 m, 21 m, 24 m, and 27 m from the interface. The species composition and abundance of ground carabid beetles and spiders captured in pitfalls were investigated. The results showed that, to some extent there was an edge effect on species diversity and abundance of ground carabid beetles and spiders along the two interfaces. A marked edge effect was observed between 15 m and 18 m along the alfalfa-wheat interface, while no edge effect was found at a distance over 20 m. The edge effect along the wheat-wheat interface was weaker in comparison to the alfalfa-wheat interface. Alfalfa mowing resulted in the migration of a large number of ground carabid beetles and spiders to the adjacent wheat filed. During ten days since mowing, both species and abundance of ground carabid beetles and spiders increased in wheat filed within the distance of 20 m along the alfalfa-wheat interface. The spatial distribution of species diversity of ground beetles and spiders, together with the population abundance of the dominant Chlaenius pallipes and Pardosa astrigera, were depicted, which could directly indicate the migrating process of natural enemy from alfalfa to wheat field. PMID:25757322

  17. [Wasp and bee venom allergy].

    PubMed

    Knulst, A C; de Maat-Bleeker, F; Bruijnzeel-Koomen, C A

    1998-04-18

    To diagnose insect venom allergy a good patient history is important. Allergological tests (skin test, specific IgE titre) confirm the diagnosis. Patients are advised on preventive measures (e.g. with respect to clothing and use of perfume). They are also instructed on medical treatment (antihistaminics, epinephrine) in case they are stung again. In patients having had a serious systemic reaction immunotherapy should be considered. Immunotherapy leads to complete protection in more than 98% of patients with wasp (yellow jacket) venom allergy and in 75-80% of patients with bee venom allergy. Serious adverse reactions to immunotherapy are rare. Immunotherapy lasts at least 3 to 5 years. After cessation of immunotherapy the frequency of systemic reactions to the sting of a wasp or bee is in the range of 5-15%. There are insufficient data on the long-term effect of immunotherapy.

  18. A simple model for pollen-parent fecundity distributions in bee-pollinated forage legume polycrosses.

    PubMed

    Riday, Heathcliffe; Smith, Mark A; Peel, Michael D

    2015-09-01

    A simple Weibull distribution based empirical model that predicts pollen-parent fecundity distributions based on polycross size alone has been developed in outbred forage legume species for incorporation into quantitative genetic theory. Random mating or panmixis is a fundamental assumption in quantitative genetic theory. Random mating is sometimes thought to occur in actual fact, although a large body of empirical work shows that this is often not the case in nature. Models have been developed to explain many non-random mating phenomena. This paper measured pollen-parent fecundity distributions among outbred perennial forage legume species [autotetraploid alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), autohexaploid kura clover (Trifolium ambiguum M. Bieb.), and diploid red clover (Trifolium pratense L.)] in ten polycrosses ranging in size (N) from 9 to 94 pollinated with bee pollinators [Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens Cr.) and leafcutter bees (Megachile rotundata F.)]. A Weibull distribution best fit the observed pollen-parent fecundity distributions. After standardizing data among the 10 polycrosses, a single Weibull distribution-based model was obtained with an R (2) of 0.978. The model is able to predict pollen-parent fecundity distributions based on polycross size alone. The model predicts that the effective polycross size will be approximately 9 % smaller than under random mating (i.e., N e/N ~ 0.91). The model is simple and can easily be incorporated into other models or simulations requiring a pollen-parent fecundity distribution. Further work is needed to determine how widely applicable the model is. PMID:26105686

  19. Bumble bee fauna of Palouse Prairie: survey of native bee pollinators in a fragmented ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Hatten, T D; Looney, C; Strange, J P; Bosque-Pérez, N A

    2013-01-01

    Bumble bees, Bombus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Apidae:), are dominant pollinators in the northern hemisphere, providing important pollination services for commercial crops and innumerable wild plants. Nationwide declines in several bumble bee species and habitat losses in multiple ecosystems have raised concerns about conservation of this important group. In many regions, such as the Palouse Prairie, relatively little is known about bumble bee communities, despite their critical ecosystem functions. Pitfall trap surveys for ground beetles in Palouse prairie remnants conducted in 2002-2003 contained considerable by-catch of bumble bees. The effects of landscape context, remnant features, year, and season on bumble bee community composition were examined. Additionally, bees captured in 2002-2003 were compared with historic records for the region to assess changes in the presence of individual species. Ten species of bumble bee were captured, representing the majority of the species historically known from the region. Few detectable differences in bumble bee abundances were found among remnants. Community composition differed appreciably, however, based on season, landscape context, and elevation, resulting in different bee assemblages between western, low-lying remnants and eastern, higherelevation remnants. The results suggest that conservation of the still species-rich bumble bee fauna should take into account variability among prairie remnants, and further work is required to adequately explain bumble bee habitat associations on the Palouse. PMID:23902138

  20. Bumble Bee Fauna of Palouse Prairie: Survey of Native Bee Pollinators in a Fragmented Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Hatten, T. D.; Looney, C.; Strange, J. P.; Bosque-Pérez, N. A.

    2013-01-01

    Bumble bees, Bombus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Apidae:), are dominant pollinators in the northern hemisphere, providing important pollination services for commercial crops and innumerable wild plants. Nationwide declines in several bumble bee species and habitat losses in multiple ecosystems have raised concerns about conservation of this important group. In many regions, such as the Palouse Prairie, relatively little is known about bumble bee communities, despite their critical ecosystem functions. Pitfall trap surveys for ground beetles in Palouse prairie remnants conducted in 2002–2003 contained considerable by-catch of bumble bees. The effects of landscape context, remnant features, year, and season on bumble bee community composition were examined. Additionally, bees captured in 2002–2003 were compared with historic records for the region to assess changes in the presence of individual species. Ten species of bumble bee were captured, representing the majority of the species historically known from the region. Few detectable differences in bumble bee abundances were found among remnants. Community composition differed appreciably, however, based on season, landscape context, and elevation, resulting in different bee assemblages between western, low-lying remnants and eastern, higherelevation remnants. The results suggest that conservation of the still species-rich bumble bee fauna should take into account variability among prairie remnants, and further work is required to adequately explain bumble bee habitat associations on the Palouse. PMID:23902138

  1. Social life and sanitary risks: evolutionary and current ecological conditions determine waste management in leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Farji-Brener, Alejandro G; Elizalde, Luciana; Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Amador-Vargas, Sabrina

    2016-05-25

    Adequate waste management is vital for the success of social life, because waste accumulation increases sanitary risks in dense societies. We explored why different leaf-cutting ants (LCA) species locate their waste in internal nest chambers or external piles, including ecological context and accounting for phylogenetic relations. We propose that waste location depends on whether the environmental conditions enhance or reduce the risk of infection. We obtained the geographical range, habitat and refuse location of LCA from published literature, and experimentally determined whether pathogens on ant waste survived to the high soil temperatures typical of xeric habitats. The habitat of the LCA determined waste location after phylogenetic correction: species with external waste piles mainly occur in xeric environments, whereas those with internal waste chambers mainly inhabit more humid habitats. The ancestral reconstruction suggests that dumping waste externally is less derived than digging waste nest chambers. Empirical results showed that high soil surface temperatures reduce pathogen prevalence from LCA waste. We proposed that LCA living in environments unfavourable for pathogens (i.e. xeric habitats) avoid digging costs by dumping the refuse above ground. Conversely, in environments suitable for pathogens, LCA species prevent the spread of diseases by storing waste underground, presumably, a behaviour that contributed to the colonization of humid habitats. These results highlight the adaptation of organisms to the hygienic challenges of social living, and illustrate how sanitary behaviours can result from a combination of evolutionary history and current environmental conditions. PMID:27226469

  2. Functional role of phenylacetic acid from metapleural gland secretions in controlling fungal pathogens in evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Nash, David R; Higginbotham, Sarah; Estrada, Catalina; van Zweden, Jelle S; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Wcislo, William T; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2015-05-22

    Fungus-farming ant colonies vary four to five orders of magnitude in size. They employ compounds from actinomycete bacteria and exocrine glands as antimicrobial agents. Atta colonies have millions of ants and are particularly relevant for understanding hygienic strategies as they have abandoned their ancestors' prime dependence on antibiotic-based biological control in favour of using metapleural gland (MG) chemical secretions. Atta MGs are unique in synthesizing large quantities of phenylacetic acid (PAA), a known but little investigated antimicrobial agent. We show that particularly the smallest workers greatly reduce germination rates of Escovopsis and Metarhizium spores after actively applying PAA to experimental infection targets in garden fragments and transferring the spores to the ants' infrabuccal cavities. In vitro assays further indicated that Escovopsis strains isolated from evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants are less sensitive to PAA than strains from phylogenetically more basal fungus-farming ants, consistent with the dynamics of an evolutionary arms race between virulence and control for Escovopsis, but not Metarhizium. Atta ants form larger colonies with more extreme caste differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts. We hypothesize that these changes are associated with unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized mycopathogens. PMID:25925100

  3. Somatic incompatibility and genetic structure of fungal crops in sympatric Atta colombica and Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants

    PubMed Central

    Kooij, Pepijn W.; Poulsen, Michael; Schiøtt, Morten; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2015-01-01

    Obligate mutualistic symbioses rely on mechanisms that secure host-symbiont commitments to maximize host benefits and prevent symbiont cheating. Previous studies showed that somatic incompatibilities correlate with neutral-marker-based genetic distances between fungal symbionts of Panamanian Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, but the extent to which this relationship applies more generally remained unclear. Here we showed that genetic distances accurately predicted somatic incompatibility for Acromyrmex echinatior symbionts irrespective of whether neutral microsatellites or AFLP markers were used, but that such correlations were weaker or absent in sympatric Atta colombica colonies. Further analysis showed that the symbiont clades maintained by A. echinatior and A. colombica were likely to represent separate gene pools, so that neutral markers were unlikely to be similarly correlated with incompatibility loci that have experienced different selection regimes. We suggest that evolutionarily derived claustral colony founding by Atta queens may have removed selection for strong incompatibility in Atta fungi, as this condition makes the likelihood of symbiont swaps much lower than in Acromyrmex, where incipient nests stay open because queens have to forage until the first workers emerge. PMID:26865859

  4. Density of mushroom body synaptic complexes limits intraspecies brain miniaturization in highly polymorphic leaf-cutting ant workers

    PubMed Central

    Groh, Claudia; Kelber, Christina; Grübel, Kornelia; Rössler, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    Hymenoptera possess voluminous mushroom bodies (MBs), brain centres associated with sensory integration, learning and memory. The mushroom body input region (calyx) is organized in distinct synaptic complexes (microglomeruli, MG) that can be quantified to analyse body size-related phenotypic plasticity of synaptic microcircuits in these small brains. Leaf-cutting ant workers (Atta vollenweideri) exhibit an enormous size polymorphism, which makes them outstanding to investigate neuronal adaptations underlying division of labour and brain miniaturization. We particularly asked how size-related division of labour in polymorphic workers is reflected in volume and total numbers of MG in olfactory calyx subregions. Whole brains of mini, media and large workers were immunolabelled with anti-synapsin antibodies, and mushroom body volumes as well as densities and absolute numbers of MG were determined by confocal imaging and three-dimensional analyses. The total brain volume and absolute volumes of olfactory mushroom body subdivisions were positively correlated with head widths, but mini workers had significantly larger MB to total brain ratios. Interestingly, the density of olfactory MG was remarkably independent from worker size. Consequently, absolute numbers of olfactory MG still were approximately three times higher in large compared with mini workers. The results show that the maximum packing density of synaptic microcircuits may represent a species-specific limit to brain miniaturization. PMID:24807257

  5. Caste-specific expression of genetic variation in the size of antibiotic-producing glands of leaf-cutting ants

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, W. O. H.; Bot, A. N. M.; Boomsma, J. J.

    2010-01-01

    Social insect castes represent some of the most spectacular examples of phenotypic plasticity, with each caste being associated with different environmental conditions during their life. Here we examine the level of genetic variation in different castes of two polyandrous species of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ant for the antibiotic-producing metapleural gland, which has a major role in defence against parasites. Gland size increases allometrically. The small workers that play the main role in disease defence have relatively large glands compared with larger workers, while the glands of gynes are substantially larger than those of any workers, for their body size. The gland size of large workers varies significantly between patrilines in both Acromyrmex echinatior and Acromyrmex octospinosus. We also examined small workers and gynes in A. echinatior, again finding genetic variation in gland size in these castes. There were significant positive relationships between the gland sizes of patrilines in the different castes, indicating that the genetic mechanism underpinning the patriline variation has remained similar across phenotypes. The level of expressed genetic variation decreased from small workers to large workers to gynes. This is consistent with the hypothesis that there is individual selection on disease defence in founding queens and colony-level selection on disease defence in the worker castes. PMID:19864289

  6. Density-dependence and within-host competition in a semelparous parasite of leaf-cutting ants

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, William OH; Petersen, Klaus S; Ugelvig, Line V; Pedersen, Dorthe; Thomsen, Lene; Poulsen, Michael; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2004-01-01

    Background Parasite heterogeneity and within-host competition are thought to be important factors influencing the dynamics of host-parasite relationships. Yet, while there have been many theoretical investigations of how these factors may act, empirical data is more limited. We investigated the effects of parasite density and heterogeneity on parasite virulence and fitness using four strains of the entomopathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae var. anisopliae, and its leaf-cutting ant host Acromyrmex echinatior as the model system. Results The relationship between parasite density and infection was sigmoidal, with there being an invasion threshold for an infection to occur (an Allee effect). Although spore production was positively density-dependent, parasite fitness decreased with increasing parasite density, indicating within-host scramble competition. The dynamics differed little between the four strains tested. In mixed infections of three strains the infection-growth dynamics were unaffected by parasite heterogeneity. Conclusions The strength of within-host competition makes dispersal the best strategy for the parasite. Parasite heterogeneity may not have effected virulence or the infection dynamics either because the most virulent strain outcompeted the others, or because the interaction involved scramble competition that was impervious to parasite heterogeneity. The dynamics observed may be common for virulent parasites, such as Metarhizium, that produce aggregated transmission stages. Such parasites make useful models for investigating infection dynamics and the impact of parasite competition. PMID:15541185

  7. Functional role of phenylacetic acid from metapleural gland secretions in controlling fungal pathogens in evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants

    PubMed Central

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Nash, David R.; Higginbotham, Sarah; Estrada, Catalina; van Zweden, Jelle S.; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Wcislo, William T.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2015-01-01

    Fungus-farming ant colonies vary four to five orders of magnitude in size. They employ compounds from actinomycete bacteria and exocrine glands as antimicrobial agents. Atta colonies have millions of ants and are particularly relevant for understanding hygienic strategies as they have abandoned their ancestors' prime dependence on antibiotic-based biological control in favour of using metapleural gland (MG) chemical secretions. Atta MGs are unique in synthesizing large quantities of phenylacetic acid (PAA), a known but little investigated antimicrobial agent. We show that particularly the smallest workers greatly reduce germination rates of Escovopsis and Metarhizium spores after actively applying PAA to experimental infection targets in garden fragments and transferring the spores to the ants' infrabuccal cavities. In vitro assays further indicated that Escovopsis strains isolated from evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants are less sensitive to PAA than strains from phylogenetically more basal fungus-farming ants, consistent with the dynamics of an evolutionary arms race between virulence and control for Escovopsis, but not Metarhizium. Atta ants form larger colonies with more extreme caste differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts. We hypothesize that these changes are associated with unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized mycopathogens. PMID:25925100

  8. Branching angles reflect a trade-off between reducing trail maintenance costs or travel distances in leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Farji-Brener, Alejandro Gustavo; Chinchilla, Federico; Umaña, María Natalia; Ocasio-Torres, Maríia Elena; Chauta-Mellizo, Alexander; Acosta-Rojas, Diana; Marinaro, Sofía; Curth, Mónica de Torres; Amador-Vargas, Sabrina

    2015-02-01

    The design of transport paths in consuming entities that use routes to access food should be under strong selective pressures to reduce costs and increase benefits. We studied the adaptive nature of branching angles in foraging trail networks of the two most abundant tropical leaf-cutting ant species. We mathematically assessed how these angles should reflect the relative weight of the pressure for reducing either trail maintenance effort or traveling distances. Bifurcation angles of ant foraging trails strongly differed depending on the location of the nests. Ant colonies in open areas showed more acute branching angles, which best shorten travel distances but create longer new trail sections to maintain than a perpendicular branch, suggesting that trail maintenance costs are smaller compared to the benefit of reduced traveling distance. Conversely, ant colonies in forest showed less acute branching angles, indicating that maintenance costs are of larger importance relative to the benefits of shortening travel distances. The trail pattern evident in forests may be attributable to huge amounts of litterfall that .increase trail maintenance costs, and the abundant canopy cover that reduces traveling costs by mitigating direct sunlight and rain. These results suggest that branching angles represent a trade-off between reducing maintenance work and shortening travel distances, illustrating how animal constructions can adjust to diverse environmental conditions. This idea may help to understand diverse networks systems, including urban travel networks. PMID:26240872

  9. Interaction between Workers during a Short Time Window Is Required for Bacterial Symbiont Transmission in Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Marsh, Sarah E.; Poulsen, Michael; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Currie, Cameron R.

    2014-01-01

    Stable associations between partners over time are critical for the evolution of mutualism. Hosts employ a variety of mechanisms to maintain specificity with bacterial associates. Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants farm a fungal cultivar as their primary nutrient source. These ants also carry a Pseudonocardia Actinobacteria exosymbiont on their bodies that produces antifungal compounds that help inhibit specialized parasites of the ants' fungal garden. Major workers emerge from their pupal cases (eclose) symbiont-free, but exhibit visible Actinobacterial coverage within 14 days post-eclosion. Using subcolony experiments, we investigate exosymbiont transmission within Acromyrmex colonies. We found successful transmission to newly eclosed major workers fostered by major workers with visible Actinobacteria in all cases (100% acquiring, n = 19). In contrast, newly eclosed major workers reared without exosymbiont-carrying major workers did not acquire visible Actinobacteria (0% acquiring, n = 73). We further show that the majority of ants exposed to major workers with exosymbionts within 2 hours of eclosion acquired bacteria (60.7% acquiring, n = 28), while normal acquisition did not occur when exposure occurred later than 2 hours post-eclosion (0% acquiring, n = 18). Our findings show that transmission of exosymbionts to newly eclosed major workers occurs through interactions with exosymbiont-covered workers within a narrow time window after eclosion. This mode of transmission likely helps ensure the defensive function within colonies, as well as specificity and partner fidelity in the ant-bacterium association. PMID:25058579

  10. Interaction between workers during a short time window is required for bacterial symbiont transmission in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Marsh, Sarah E; Poulsen, Michael; Pinto-Tomás, Adrián; Currie, Cameron R

    2014-01-01

    Stable associations between partners over time are critical for the evolution of mutualism. Hosts employ a variety of mechanisms to maintain specificity with bacterial associates. Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants farm a fungal cultivar as their primary nutrient source. These ants also carry a Pseudonocardia Actinobacteria exosymbiont on their bodies that produces antifungal compounds that help inhibit specialized parasites of the ants' fungal garden. Major workers emerge from their pupal cases (eclose) symbiont-free, but exhibit visible Actinobacterial coverage within 14 days post-eclosion. Using subcolony experiments, we investigate exosymbiont transmission within Acromyrmex colonies. We found successful transmission to newly eclosed major workers fostered by major workers with visible Actinobacteria in all cases (100% acquiring, n = 19). In contrast, newly eclosed major workers reared without exosymbiont-carrying major workers did not acquire visible Actinobacteria (0% acquiring, n = 73). We further show that the majority of ants exposed to major workers with exosymbionts within 2 hours of eclosion acquired bacteria (60.7% acquiring, n = 28), while normal acquisition did not occur when exposure occurred later than 2 hours post-eclosion (0% acquiring, n = 18). Our findings show that transmission of exosymbionts to newly eclosed major workers occurs through interactions with exosymbiont-covered workers within a narrow time window after eclosion. This mode of transmission likely helps ensure the defensive function within colonies, as well as specificity and partner fidelity in the ant-bacterium association. PMID:25058579

  11. Functional role of phenylacetic acid from metapleural gland secretions in controlling fungal pathogens in evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Marín, Hermógenes; Nash, David R; Higginbotham, Sarah; Estrada, Catalina; van Zweden, Jelle S; d'Ettorre, Patrizia; Wcislo, William T; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2015-05-22

    Fungus-farming ant colonies vary four to five orders of magnitude in size. They employ compounds from actinomycete bacteria and exocrine glands as antimicrobial agents. Atta colonies have millions of ants and are particularly relevant for understanding hygienic strategies as they have abandoned their ancestors' prime dependence on antibiotic-based biological control in favour of using metapleural gland (MG) chemical secretions. Atta MGs are unique in synthesizing large quantities of phenylacetic acid (PAA), a known but little investigated antimicrobial agent. We show that particularly the smallest workers greatly reduce germination rates of Escovopsis and Metarhizium spores after actively applying PAA to experimental infection targets in garden fragments and transferring the spores to the ants' infrabuccal cavities. In vitro assays further indicated that Escovopsis strains isolated from evolutionarily derived leaf-cutting ants are less sensitive to PAA than strains from phylogenetically more basal fungus-farming ants, consistent with the dynamics of an evolutionary arms race between virulence and control for Escovopsis, but not Metarhizium. Atta ants form larger colonies with more extreme caste differentiation relative to other attines, in societies characterized by an almost complete absence of reproductive conflicts. We hypothesize that these changes are associated with unique evolutionary innovations in chemical pest management that appear robust against selection pressure for resistance by specialized mycopathogens.

  12. Sequential Soil Transport and Its Influence on the Spatial Organisation of Collective Digging in Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Pielström, Steffen; Roces, Flavio

    2013-01-01

    The Chaco leaf-cutting ant Atta vollenweideri (Forel) inhabits large and deep subterranean nests composed of a large number of fungus and refuse chambers. The ants dispose of the excavated soil by forming small pellets that are carried to the surface. For ants in general, the organisation of underground soil transport during nest building remains completely unknown. In the laboratory, we investigated how soil pellets are formed and transported, and whether their occurrence influences the spatial organisation of collective digging. Similar to leaf transport, we discovered size matching between soil pellet mass and carrier mass. Workers observed while digging excavated pellets at a rate of 26 per hour. Each excavator deposited its pellets in an individual cluster, independently of the preferred deposition sites of other excavators. Soil pellets were transported sequentially over 2 m, and the transport involved up to 12 workers belonging to three functionally distinct groups: excavators, several short-distance carriers that dropped the collected pellets after a few centimetres, and long-distance, last carriers that reached the final deposition site. When initiating a new excavation, the proportion of long-distance carriers increased from 18% to 45% within the first five hours, and remained unchanged over more than 20 hours. Accumulated, freshly-excavated pellets significantly influenced the workers' decision where to start digging in a choice experiment. Thus, pellets temporarily accumulated as a result of their sequential transport provide cues that spatially organise collective nest excavation. PMID:23457648

  13. Correlation between virulence and genetic structure of Escovopsis strains from leaf-cutting ant colonies in Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Wallace, Diego E Elizondo; Asensio, Juan G Vargas; Tomás, Adrián A Pinto

    2014-08-01

    Leaf-cutting ants (genera Atta and Acromyrmex) cultivate a specialized fungus for food in underground chambers employing cut plant material as substrate. Parasitism occurs in this agricultural system and plays an important role in colony fitness. The microfungi Escovopsis, a specialized mycoparasite of the fungal cultivar, is highly prevalent among colonies. In this study, we tested the antagonistic activity of several Escovopsis strains from different geographical areas in Costa Rica. We employed a combination of laboratory tests to evaluate virulence, including pure culture challenges, toxicity to fungus garden pieces and subcolony bioassays. We also performed a phylogenetic analysis of these strains in order to correlate their virulence with the genetic structure of this population. The bioassays yielded results consistent between each other and showed significant differences in antagonistic activity among the parasites evaluated. However, no significant differences were found when comparing the results of the bioassays according to the source of the ants' fungal cultivar. The phylogenetic analyses were consistent with these results: whilst the fungal cultivar phylogeny showed a single clade with limited molecular variation, the Escovopsis phylogeny yielded several clades with the most virulent isolates grouping in the same well-supported clade. These results indicate that there are Escovopsis strains better suited to establish their antagonistic effect, whilst the genetic homogeneity of the fungal cultivars limits their ability to modulate Escovopsis antagonism. These findings should be taken into consideration when evaluating the potential of Escovopsis isolates as biocontrol agents for this important agricultural pest in the Neotropics. PMID:24836623

  14. Prevalence of the genus Cladosporium on the integument of leaf-cutting ants characterized by 454 pyrosequencing.

    PubMed

    Duarte, A P M; Ferro, M; Rodrigues, A; Bacci, M; Nagamoto, N S; Forti, L C; Pagnocca, F C

    2016-09-01

    The relationship of attine ants with their mutualistic fungus and other microorganisms has been studied during the last two centuries. However, previous studies about the diversity of fungi in the ants' microenvironment are based mostly on culture-dependent approaches, lacking a broad characterization of the fungal ant-associated community. Here, we analysed the fungal diversity found on the integument of Atta capiguara and Atta laevigata alate ants using 454 pyrosequencing. We obtained 35,453 ITS reads grouped into 99 molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs). Data analysis revealed that A. capiguara drones had the highest diversity of MOTUs. Besides the occurrence of several uncultured fungi, the mycobiota analysis revealed that the most abundant taxa were the Cladosporium-complex, Cryptococcus laurentii and Epicoccum sp. Taxa in the genus Cladosporium were predominant in all samples, comprising 67.9 % of all reads. The remarkable presence of the genus Cladosporium on the integument of leaf-cutting ants alates from distinct ant species suggests that this fungus is favored in this microenvironment. PMID:27307255

  15. Intramandibular glands in different castes of leaf-cutting ant, Atta laevigata (Fr. Smith, 1858) (Formicidae: Attini).

    PubMed

    Martins, Luiza Carla Barbosa; Della Lucia, Terezinha Maria Castro; Gonçalves, Wagner Gonzaga; Delabie, Jacques Hubert Charles; Zanuncio, José Cola; Serrão, José Eduardo

    2015-07-01

    Intramandibular glands have been poorly studied in polymorphic ants, where the differences between castes were unsufficiently scrutinized. Leaf-cutting ants possess one of the most complex systems of communication and labor division, which is polymorphic well as age polyethism, and makes them an ideal model for the study of intramandibular glands. This study has investigated the occurrence of intramandibular glands in female castes and subcastes of Atta laevigata. The mandibles of the queen, medium, and minor workers, and soldiers were submitted to histological, histochemical, ultrastructural, and morphometric analyses. The class-3 gland cells and the epidermal gland with a reservoir were found in all the castes. The queens and soldiers showed a higher number of class-3 gland cells, distributed within the mandible as well as a greater gland size in comparison to the workers. The histochemical tests, periodic acid-Schiff (PAS), mercury-bromophenol, and Nile blue, were similar for the class-3 gland cells and epidermal glands with a reservoir. However, the tests evidenced differences between the castes, with carbohydrates strongly positive in all of them, whereas neutral lipids were found in the queen and soldiers. The protein was weakly positive in the queen, whereas in the soldier, medium, and minor workers these reactions were strongly positive in the intramandibular glands. Our findings in A. laevigata suggest that intramandibular glands are directly involved in labor division and consequently in chemical communication between the castes.

  16. Effects of suburbanization on forest bee communities.

    PubMed

    Carper, Adrian L; Adler, Lynn S; Warren, Paige S; Irwin, Rebecca E

    2014-04-01

    Urbanization is a dominant form of land-use change driving species distributions, abundances, and diversity. Previous research has documented the negative impacts of urbanization on the abundance and diversity of many groups of organisms. However, some organisms, such as bees, may benefit from moderate levels of development, depending on how development alters the availability of foraging and nesting resources. To determine how one type of low-intensity human development, suburbanization, affects bee abundance and diversity and the mechanisms involved, we surveyed bees across suburban and natural forests in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. We sampled for bees using a combination of bee bowls and hand-netting from March through July of 2008 and 2009. We found higher bee abundance in suburban than natural forests, and although observed species richness was greater in suburban than natural forests, there were no significant differences in rarefied richness or evenness estimates in either year. In addition, the effects of suburbanization were similar across bee species of varying ecological and life-history characteristics. At the local scale, bee abundance and species richness were both positively related to the abundance and richness of flowering species within forests, while the proportion of surrounding developed open areas, such as yards and roadsides, was a strong positive predictor of both bee abundance and richness at the landscape scale. These results suggest that open habitats and the availability of floral resources in suburban sites can support abundant and diverse bee communities and underscore the potential for native bee conservation in urban habitats.

  17. Live bee acupuncture (Bong-Chim) dermatitis: dermatitis due to live bee acupuncture therapy in Korea.

    PubMed

    Park, Joon Soo; Lee, Min Jung; Chung, Ki Hun; Ko, Dong Kyun; Chung, Hyun

    2013-12-01

    Live bee acupuncture (Bong-Chim) dermatitis is an iatrogenic disease induced by so-called live bee acupuncture therapy, which applies the honeybee (Apis cerana) stinger directly into the lesion to treat various diseases in Korea. We present two cases of live bee acupuncture dermatitis and review previously published articles about this disease. We classify this entity into three stages: acute, subacute, and chronic. The acute stage is an inflammatory reaction, such as anaphylaxis or urticaria. In the chronic stage, a foreign body granuloma may develop from the remaining stingers, similar to that of a bee sting reaction. However, in the subacute stage, unlike bee stings, we see the characteristic histological "flame" figures resulting from eosinophilic stimulation induced by excessive bee venom exposure. We consider this stage to be different from the adverse skin reaction of accidental bee sting.

  18. The Undergraduate ALFALFA Team: Outcomes for Over 250 Undergraduate Participants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Troischt, Parker; Koopmann, Rebecca A.; Haynes, Martha P.; ALFALFA Team

    2016-01-01

    The NSF-sponsored Undergraduate ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Team (UAT) is a consortium of 19 institutions founded to promote undergraduate research and faculty development within the extragalactic ALFALFA HI blind survey project and follow-up programs. In this talk we present outcomes for the more than 250 undergraduate students who have who have participated in the program during the 8 years of funding. 40% of these students have been women and members of underrepresented groups. To date 148 undergraduate students have attended annual workshops at Arecibo Observatory, interacting with faculty, graduate students, their peers, and Arecibo staff in lectures, group activities, tours, and observing runs. Team faculty have supervised 159 summer research projects and 120 academic year (e.g., senior thesis) projects. 68 students have traveled to Arecibo Observatory for observing runs and 55 have presented their results at national meetings such as the AAS. Through participation in the UAT, students are made aware of career paths they may not have previously considered. More than 90% of alumni are attending graduate school and/or pursuing a career in STEM. 42% of those pursuing graduate degrees in Physics or Astronomy are women. This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-0724918/0902211, AST-075267/0903394, AST-0725380, and AST-1211005

  19. Honey bees selectively avoid difficult choices.

    PubMed

    Perry, Clint J; Barron, Andrew B

    2013-11-19

    Human decision-making strategies are strongly influenced by an awareness of certainty or uncertainty (a form of metacognition) to increase the chances of making a right choice. Humans seek more information and defer choosing when they realize they have insufficient information to make an accurate decision, but whether animals are aware of uncertainty is currently highly contentious. To explore this issue, we examined how honey bees (Apis mellifera) responded to a visual discrimination task that varied in difficulty between trials. Free-flying bees were rewarded for a correct choice, punished for an incorrect choice, or could avoid choosing by exiting the trial (opting out). Bees opted out more often on difficult trials, and opting out improved their proportion of successful trials. Bees could also transfer the concept of opting out to a novel task. Our data show that bees selectively avoid difficult tasks they lack the information to solve. This finding has been considered as evidence that nonhuman animals can assess the certainty of a predicted outcome, and bees' performance was comparable to that of primates in a similar paradigm. We discuss whether these behavioral results prove bees react to uncertainty or whether associative mechanisms can explain such findings. To better frame metacognition as an issue for neurobiological investigation, we propose a neurobiological hypothesis of uncertainty monitoring based on the known circuitry of the honey bee brain.

  20. Biological effects of ultraviolet irradiation on bees

    SciTech Connect

    Es`kov, E.K.

    1995-09-01

    The influence of natural solar and artificial ultraviolet irradiation on developing bees was studied. Lethal exposures to irradiation at different stages of development were determined. The influence of irradiation on the variability of the morphometric features of bees was revealed. 5 refs., 1 fig.

  1. Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides.

    PubMed

    Kessler, Sébastien C; Tiedeken, Erin Jo; Simcock, Kerry L; Derveau, Sophie; Mitchell, Jessica; Softley, Samantha; Radcliffe, Amy; Stout, Jane C; Wright, Geraldine A

    2015-05-01

    The impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators is highly controversial. Sublethal concentrations alter the behaviour of social bees and reduce survival of entire colonies. However, critics argue that the reported negative effects only arise from neonicotinoid concentrations that are greater than those found in the nectar and pollen of pesticide-treated plants. Furthermore, it has been suggested that bees could choose to forage on other available flowers and hence avoid or dilute exposure. Here, using a two-choice feeding assay, we show that the honeybee, Apis mellifera, and the buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, do not avoid nectar-relevant concentrations of three of the most commonly used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid (IMD), thiamethoxam (TMX), and clothianidin (CLO), in food. Moreover, bees of both species prefer to eat more of sucrose solutions laced with IMD or TMX than sucrose alone. Stimulation with IMD, TMX and CLO neither elicited spiking responses from gustatory neurons in the bees' mouthparts, nor inhibited the responses of sucrose-sensitive neurons. Our data indicate that bees cannot taste neonicotinoids and are not repelled by them. Instead, bees preferred solutions containing IMD or TMX, even though the consumption of these pesticides caused them to eat less food overall. This work shows that bees cannot control their exposure to neonicotinoids in food and implies that treating flowering crops with IMD and TMX presents a sizeable hazard to foraging bees.

  2. Metatranscriptomic analyses of honey bee colonies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bees face numerous biotic threats from viruses to bacteria, fungi, protists, and mites. Here we describe a thorough analysis of microbes harbored by worker honey bees collected from field colonies in geographically distinct regions of Turkey. Turkey is one of the World’s most important centers...

  3. Salt preferences of honey bee water foragers.

    PubMed

    Lau, Pierre W; Nieh, James C

    2016-03-01

    The importance of dietary salt may explain why bees are often observed collecting brackish water, a habit that may expose them to harmful xenobiotics. However, the individual salt preferences of water-collecting bees were not known. We measured the proboscis extension reflex (PER) response of Apis mellifera water foragers to 0-10% w/w solutions of Na, Mg and K, ions that provide essential nutrients. We also tested phosphate, which can deter foraging. Bees exhibited significant preferences, with the most PER responses for 1.5-3% Na and 1.5% Mg. However, K and phosphate were largely aversive and elicited PER responses only for the lowest concentrations, suggesting a way to deter bees from visiting contaminated water. We then analyzed the salt content of water sources that bees collected in urban and semi-urban environments. Bees collected water with a wide range of salt concentrations, but most collected water sources had relatively low salt concentrations, with the exception of seawater and swimming pools, which had >0.6% Na. The high levels of PER responsiveness elicited by 1.5-3% Na may explain why bees are willing to collect such salty water. Interestingly, bees exhibited high individual variation in salt preferences: individual identity accounted for 32% of variation in PER responses. Salt specialization may therefore occur in water foragers. PMID:26823100

  4. Pathogen webs in collapsing honey bee colonies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent losses in honey bee colonies are unusual in their severity, geographical distribution, and, in some cases, failure to present recognized symptoms of known disease. Domesticated honey bees face numerous pests and pathogens, tempting hypotheses that colony collapses arise from exposure to new o...

  5. The Plight of the Honey Bee

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hockridge, Emma

    2010-01-01

    The decline of colonies of honey bees across the world is threatening local plant biodiversity and human food supplies. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been implicated as a major cause of the problem and are banned or suspended in several countries. Other factors could also be lowering the resistance of bees to opportunist infections by, for…

  6. Bees diversified in the age of eudicots.

    PubMed

    Cardinal, Sophie; Danforth, Bryan N

    2013-03-22

    Reliable estimates on the ages of the major bee clades are needed to further understand the evolutionary history of bees and their close association with flowering plants. Divergence times have been estimated for a few groups of bees, but no study has yet provided estimates for all major bee lineages. To date the origin of bees and their major clades, we first perform a phylogenetic analysis of bees including representatives from every extant family, subfamily and almost all tribes, using sequence data from seven genes. We then use this phylogeny to place 14 time calibration points based on information from the fossil record for an uncorrelated relaxed clock divergence time analysis taking into account uncertainties in phylogenetic relationships and the fossil record. We explore the effect of placing a hard upper age bound near the root of the tree and the effect of different topologies on our divergence time estimates. We estimate that crown bees originated approximately 123 Ma (million years ago) (113-132 Ma), concurrently with the origin or diversification of the eudicots, a group comprising 75 per cent of angiosperm species. All of the major bee clades are estimated to have originated during the Middle to Late Cretaceous, which is when angiosperms became the dominant group of land plants.

  7. Physiology and biochemistry of honey bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Despite their tremendous economic importance, honey bees are not a typical model system for studying general questions of insect physiology. This is primarily due to the fact that honey bees live in complex social settings which impact their physiological and biochemical characteristics. Not surpris...

  8. Cell culture techniques in honey bee research

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cell culture techniques are indispensable in most if not all life science disciplines to date. Wherever cell culture models are lacking scientific development is hampered. Unfortunately this has been and still is the case in honey bee research because permanent honey bee cell lines have not yet been...

  9. Bees diversified in the age of eudicots

    PubMed Central

    Cardinal, Sophie; Danforth, Bryan N.

    2013-01-01

    Reliable estimates on the ages of the major bee clades are needed to further understand the evolutionary history of bees and their close association with flowering plants. Divergence times have been estimated for a few groups of bees, but no study has yet provided estimates for all major bee lineages. To date the origin of bees and their major clades, we first perform a phylogenetic analysis of bees including representatives from every extant family, subfamily and almost all tribes, using sequence data from seven genes. We then use this phylogeny to place 14 time calibration points based on information from the fossil record for an uncorrelated relaxed clock divergence time analysis taking into account uncertainties in phylogenetic relationships and the fossil record. We explore the effect of placing a hard upper age bound near the root of the tree and the effect of different topologies on our divergence time estimates. We estimate that crown bees originated approximately 123 Ma (million years ago) (113–132 Ma), concurrently with the origin or diversification of the eudicots, a group comprising 75 per cent of angiosperm species. All of the major bee clades are estimated to have originated during the Middle to Late Cretaceous, which is when angiosperms became the dominant group of land plants. PMID:23363629

  10. Bumble bees of the western United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees (genus Bombus) are critical pollinators of flowering plants. Thirty species of bumble bees are native to the western United States and this publication is a guide to the natural history and identification of these species. We present phenology graphs, host-plant associations, detailed ...

  11. Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kessler, Sébastien C.; Tiedeken, Erin Jo; Simcock, Kerry L.; Derveau, Sophie; Mitchell, Jessica; Softley, Samantha; Stout, Jane C.; Wright, Geraldine A.

    2015-05-01

    The impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators is highly controversial. Sublethal concentrations alter the behaviour of social bees and reduce survival of entire colonies. However, critics argue that the reported negative effects only arise from neonicotinoid concentrations that are greater than those found in the nectar and pollen of pesticide-treated plants. Furthermore, it has been suggested that bees could choose to forage on other available flowers and hence avoid or dilute exposure. Here, using a two-choice feeding assay, we show that the honeybee, Apis mellifera, and the buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, do not avoid nectar-relevant concentrations of three of the most commonly used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid (IMD), thiamethoxam (TMX), and clothianidin (CLO), in food. Moreover, bees of both species prefer to eat more of sucrose solutions laced with IMD or TMX than sucrose alone. Stimulation with IMD, TMX and CLO neither elicited spiking responses from gustatory neurons in the bees' mouthparts, nor inhibited the responses of sucrose-sensitive neurons. Our data indicate that bees cannot taste neonicotinoids and are not repelled by them. Instead, bees preferred solutions containing IMD or TMX, even though the consumption of these pesticides caused them to eat less food overall. This work shows that bees cannot control their exposure to neonicotinoids in food and implies that treating flowering crops with IMD and TMX presents a sizeable hazard to foraging bees.

  12. Modelling the Dynamics of Feral Alfalfa Populations and Its Management Implications

    PubMed Central

    Bagavathiannan, Muthukumar V.; Begg, Graham S.; Gulden, Robert H.; Van Acker, Rene C.

    2012-01-01

    Background Feral populations of cultivated crops can pose challenges to novel trait confinement within agricultural landscapes. Simulation models can be helpful in investigating the underlying dynamics of feral populations and determining suitable management options. Methodology/Principal Findings We developed a stage-structured matrix population model for roadside feral alfalfa populations occurring in southern Manitoba, Canada. The model accounted for the existence of density-dependence and recruitment subsidy in feral populations. We used the model to investigate the long-term dynamics of feral alfalfa populations, and to evaluate the effectiveness of simulated management strategies such as herbicide application and mowing in controlling feral alfalfa. Results suggest that alfalfa populations occurring in roadside habitats can be persistent and less likely to go extinct under current roadverge management scenarios. Management attempts focused on controlling adult plants alone can be counterproductive due to the presence of density-dependent effects. Targeted herbicide application, which can achieve complete control of seedlings, rosettes and established plants, will be an effective strategy, but the seedbank population may contribute to new recruits. In regions where roadside mowing is regularly practiced, devising a timely mowing strategy (early- to mid-August for southern Manitoba), one that can totally prevent seed production, will be a feasible option for managing feral alfalfa populations. Conclusions/Significance Feral alfalfa populations can be persistent in roadside habitats. Timely mowing or regular targeted herbicide application will be effective in managing feral alfalfa populations and limit feral-population-mediated gene flow in alfalfa. However, in the context of novel trait confinement, the extent to which feral alfalfa populations need to be managed will be dictated by the tolerance levels established by specific production systems for specific

  13. Transcriptional responses in honey bee larvae infected with chalkbrood fungus

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Diseases and other stress factors working synergistically weaken honey bee health and may play a major role in the losses of bee populations in recent years. Among a large number of bee diseases, chalkbrood has been on the rise. We present here the experimental identification of honey bee genes that...

  14. Assessing grooming behavior of Russian honey bees toward Varroa destructor.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The grooming behavior of Russian bees was compared to Italian bees. Overall, Russian bees had significantly lower numbers of mites than the Italian bees with a mean of 1,937 ± 366 and 5,088 ± 733 mites, respectively. This low mite population in the Russian colonies was probably due to the increased ...

  15. Allee effects and colony collapse disorder in honey bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We propose a mathematical model to quantify the hypothesis that a major ultimate cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honey bees is the presence of an Allee effect in the growth dynamics of honey bee colonies. In the model, both recruitment of adult bees as well as mortality of adult bees have...

  16. Stingless bees (Meliponini): senses and behavior.

    PubMed

    Hrncir, Michael; Jarau, Stefan; Barth, Friedrich G

    2016-10-01

    Stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini) are by far the largest group of eusocial bees on Earth. Due to the diversity of evolutionary responses to specific ecological challenges, the Meliponini are well suited for comparative studies of the various adaptations to the environment found in highly eusocial bees. Of particular interest are the physiological mechanisms underlying the sophisticated cooperative and collective actions of entire colonies, which form the basis of the ecological success of the different bee species under the particular conditions prevailing in their respective environment. The present Special Issue of the Journal of Comparative Physiology A provides a sample of the exciting diversity of sensorial and behavioral adaptations in stingless bees, particularly concerning (1) the sensory bases for foraging, (2) chemical communication, and (3) the behavioral ecology of foraging. PMID:27518819

  17. Hot spots in the bee hive

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bujok, Brigitte; Kleinhenz, Marco; Fuchs, Stefan; Tautz, Jürgen

    2002-06-01

    Honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera) maintain temperatures of 35-36°C in their brood nest because the brood needs high and constant temperature conditions for optimal development. We show that incubation of the brood at the level of individual honeybees is done by worker bees performing a particular and not yet specified behaviour: such bees raise the brood temperature by pressing their warm thoraces firmly onto caps under which the pupae develop. The bees stay motionless in a characteristic posture and have significantly higher thoracic temperatures than bees not assuming this posture in the brood area. The surface of the brood caps against which warm bees had pressed their thorax were up to 3.2°C warmer than the surrounding area, confirming that effective thermal transfer had taken place.

  18. Antiviral Defense Mechanisms in Honey Bees

    PubMed Central

    Brutscher, Laura M.; Daughenbaugh, Katie F.; Flenniken, Michelle L.

    2015-01-01

    Honey bees are significant pollinators of agricultural crops and other important plant species. High annual losses of honey bee colonies in North America and in some parts of Europe have profound ecological and economic implications. Colony losses have been attributed to multiple factors including RNA viruses, thus understanding bee antiviral defense mechanisms may result in the development of strategies that mitigate colony losses. Honey bee antiviral defense mechanisms include RNA-interference, pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) triggered signal transduction cascades, and reactive oxygen species generation. However, the relative importance of these and other pathways is largely uncharacterized. Herein we review the current understanding of honey bee antiviral defense mechanisms and suggest important avenues for future investigation. PMID:26273564

  19. Stingless bees (Meliponini): senses and behavior.

    PubMed

    Hrncir, Michael; Jarau, Stefan; Barth, Friedrich G

    2016-10-01

    Stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini) are by far the largest group of eusocial bees on Earth. Due to the diversity of evolutionary responses to specific ecological challenges, the Meliponini are well suited for comparative studies of the various adaptations to the environment found in highly eusocial bees. Of particular interest are the physiological mechanisms underlying the sophisticated cooperative and collective actions of entire colonies, which form the basis of the ecological success of the different bee species under the particular conditions prevailing in their respective environment. The present Special Issue of the Journal of Comparative Physiology A provides a sample of the exciting diversity of sensorial and behavioral adaptations in stingless bees, particularly concerning (1) the sensory bases for foraging, (2) chemical communication, and (3) the behavioral ecology of foraging.

  20. Metatranscriptomic analyses of honey bee colonies.

    PubMed

    Tozkar, Cansu Ö; Kence, Meral; Kence, Aykut; Huang, Qiang; Evans, Jay D

    2015-01-01

    Honey bees face numerous biotic threats from viruses to bacteria, fungi, protists, and mites. Here we describe a thorough analysis of microbes harbored by worker honey bees collected from field colonies in geographically distinct regions of Turkey. Turkey is one of the World's most important centers of apiculture, harboring five subspecies of Apis mellifera L., approximately 20% of the honey bee subspecies in the world. We use deep ILLUMINA-based RNA sequencing to capture RNA species for the honey bee and a sampling of all non-endogenous species carried by bees. After trimming and mapping these reads to the honey bee genome, approximately 10% of the sequences (9-10 million reads per library) remained. These were then mapped to a curated set of public sequences containing ca. Sixty megabase-pairs of sequence representing known microbial species associated with honey bees. Levels of key honey bee pathogens were confirmed using quantitative PCR screens. We contrast microbial matches across different sites in Turkey, showing new country recordings of Lake Sinai virus, two Spiroplasma bacterium species, symbionts Candidatus Schmidhempelia bombi, Frischella perrara, Snodgrassella alvi, Gilliamella apicola, Lactobacillus spp.), neogregarines, and a trypanosome species. By using metagenomic analysis, this study also reveals deep molecular evidence for the presence of bacterial pathogens (Melissococcus plutonius, Paenibacillus larvae), Varroa destructor-1 virus, Sacbrood virus, and fungi. Despite this effort we did not detect KBV, SBPV, Tobacco ringspot virus, VdMLV (Varroa Macula like virus), Acarapis spp., Tropilaeleps spp. and Apocephalus (phorid fly). We discuss possible impacts of management practices and honey bee subspecies on microbial retinues. The described workflow and curated microbial database will be generally useful for microbial surveys of healthy and declining honey bees. PMID:25852743

  1. Metatranscriptomic analyses of honey bee colonies.

    PubMed

    Tozkar, Cansu Ö; Kence, Meral; Kence, Aykut; Huang, Qiang; Evans, Jay D

    2015-01-01

    Honey bees face numerous biotic threats from viruses to bacteria, fungi, protists, and mites. Here we describe a thorough analysis of microbes harbored by worker honey bees collected from field colonies in geographically distinct regions of Turkey. Turkey is one of the World's most important centers of apiculture, harboring five subspecies of Apis mellifera L., approximately 20% of the honey bee subspecies in the world. We use deep ILLUMINA-based RNA sequencing to capture RNA species for the honey bee and a sampling of all non-endogenous species carried by bees. After trimming and mapping these reads to the honey bee genome, approximately 10% of the sequences (9-10 million reads per library) remained. These were then mapped to a curated set of public sequences containing ca. Sixty megabase-pairs of sequence representing known microbial species associated with honey bees. Levels of key honey bee pathogens were confirmed using quantitative PCR screens. We contrast microbial matches across different sites in Turkey, showing new country recordings of Lake Sinai virus, two Spiroplasma bacterium species, symbionts Candidatus Schmidhempelia bombi, Frischella perrara, Snodgrassella alvi, Gilliamella apicola, Lactobacillus spp.), neogregarines, and a trypanosome species. By using metagenomic analysis, this study also reveals deep molecular evidence for the presence of bacterial pathogens (Melissococcus plutonius, Paenibacillus larvae), Varroa destructor-1 virus, Sacbrood virus, and fungi. Despite this effort we did not detect KBV, SBPV, Tobacco ringspot virus, VdMLV (Varroa Macula like virus), Acarapis spp., Tropilaeleps spp. and Apocephalus (phorid fly). We discuss possible impacts of management practices and honey bee subspecies on microbial retinues. The described workflow and curated microbial database will be generally useful for microbial surveys of healthy and declining honey bees.

  2. Metatranscriptomic analyses of honey bee colonies

    PubMed Central

    Tozkar, Cansu Ö.; Kence, Meral; Kence, Aykut; Huang, Qiang; Evans, Jay D.

    2015-01-01

    Honey bees face numerous biotic threats from viruses to bacteria, fungi, protists, and mites. Here we describe a thorough analysis of microbes harbored by worker honey bees collected from field colonies in geographically distinct regions of Turkey. Turkey is one of the World's most important centers of apiculture, harboring five subspecies of Apis mellifera L., approximately 20% of the honey bee subspecies in the world. We use deep ILLUMINA-based RNA sequencing to capture RNA species for the honey bee and a sampling of all non-endogenous species carried by bees. After trimming and mapping these reads to the honey bee genome, approximately 10% of the sequences (9–10 million reads per library) remained. These were then mapped to a curated set of public sequences containing ca. Sixty megabase-pairs of sequence representing known microbial species associated with honey bees. Levels of key honey bee pathogens were confirmed using quantitative PCR screens. We contrast microbial matches across different sites in Turkey, showing new country recordings of Lake Sinai virus, two Spiroplasma bacterium species, symbionts Candidatus Schmidhempelia bombi, Frischella perrara, Snodgrassella alvi, Gilliamella apicola, Lactobacillus spp.), neogregarines, and a trypanosome species. By using metagenomic analysis, this study also reveals deep molecular evidence for the presence of bacterial pathogens (Melissococcus plutonius, Paenibacillus larvae), Varroa destructor-1 virus, Sacbrood virus, and fungi. Despite this effort we did not detect KBV, SBPV, Tobacco ringspot virus, VdMLV (Varroa Macula like virus), Acarapis spp., Tropilaeleps spp. and Apocephalus (phorid fly). We discuss possible impacts of management practices and honey bee subspecies on microbial retinues. The described workflow and curated microbial database will be generally useful for microbial surveys of healthy and declining honey bees. PMID:25852743

  3. Gentle Africanized bees on an oceanic island

    PubMed Central

    Rivera-Marchand, Bert; Oskay, Devrim; Giray, Tugrul

    2012-01-01

    Oceanic islands have reduced resources and natural enemies and potentially affect life history traits of arriving organisms. Among the most spectacular invasions in the Western hemisphere is that of the Africanized honeybee. We hypothesized that in the oceanic island Puerto Rico, Africanized bees will exhibit differences from the mainland population such as for defensiveness and other linked traits. We evaluated the extent of Africanization through three typical Africanized traits: wing size, defensive behavior, and resistance to Varroa destructor mites. All sampled colonies were Africanized by maternal descent, with over 65% presence of European alleles at the S-3 nuclear locus. In two assays evaluating defense, Puerto Rican bees showed low defensiveness similar to European bees. In morphology and resistance to mites, Africanized bees from Puerto Rico are similar to other Africanized bees. In behavioral assays on mechanisms of resistance to Varroa, we directly observed that Puerto Rican Africanized bees groomed-off and bit the mites as been observed in other studies. In no other location, Africanized bees have reduced defensiveness while retaining typical traits such as wing size and mite resistance. This mosaic of traits that has resulted during the invasion of an oceanic island has implications for behavior, evolution, and agriculture. PMID:23144660

  4. Gentle Africanized bees on an oceanic island.

    PubMed

    Rivera-Marchand, Bert; Oskay, Devrim; Giray, Tugrul

    2012-11-01

    Oceanic islands have reduced resources and natural enemies and potentially affect life history traits of arriving organisms. Among the most spectacular invasions in the Western hemisphere is that of the Africanized honeybee. We hypothesized that in the oceanic island Puerto Rico, Africanized bees will exhibit differences from the mainland population such as for defensiveness and other linked traits. We evaluated the extent of Africanization through three typical Africanized traits: wing size, defensive behavior, and resistance to Varroa destructor mites. All sampled colonies were Africanized by maternal descent, with over 65% presence of European alleles at the S-3 nuclear locus. In two assays evaluating defense, Puerto Rican bees showed low defensiveness similar to European bees. In morphology and resistance to mites, Africanized bees from Puerto Rico are similar to other Africanized bees. In behavioral assays on mechanisms of resistance to Varroa, we directly observed that Puerto Rican Africanized bees groomed-off and bit the mites as been observed in other studies. In no other location, Africanized bees have reduced defensiveness while retaining typical traits such as wing size and mite resistance. This mosaic of traits that has resulted during the invasion of an oceanic island has implications for behavior, evolution, and agriculture.

  5. Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides

    PubMed Central

    Simcock, Kerry L.; Derveau, Sophie; Mitchell, Jessica; Softley, Samantha; Stout, Jane C.; Wright, Geraldine A.

    2015-01-01

    The impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators is highly controversial. Sublethal concentrations alter the behaviour of social bees and reduce survival of entire colonies1-3. However, critics argue that the reported negative effects only arise from neonicotinoid concentrations that are greater than those found in the nectar and pollen of pesticide-treated plants4. Furthermore, it has been suggested that bees could choose to forage on other available flowers and hence avoid or dilute exposure4,5. Here, using a two-choice feeding assay, we show that the honeybee, Apis mellifera, and the buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, do not avoid nectar-relevant concentrations of three of the most commonly-used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid (IMD), thiamethoxam (TMX), and clothianidin (CLO) in food. Moreover, bees of both species prefer to eat more of sucrose solutions laced with IMD or TMX than sucrose alone. Stimulation with IMD, TMX, and CLO neither elicited spiking responses from gustatory neurons in the bees’ mouthparts nor inhibited the responses of sucrose-sensitive neurons. Our data indicate that bees cannot taste neonicotinoids and are not repelled by them. Instead, bees preferred solutions containing IMD or TMX even though the consumption of these pesticides caused them to eat less food overall. This work shows that bees cannot control their exposure to neonicotinoids in food and implies that treating flowering crops with IMD and TMX presents a significant hazard to foraging bees. PMID:25901684

  6. Improving ethanol production from alfalfa stems via ambient-temperature acid pretreatment and washing.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Shengfei; Weimer, Paul J; Hatfield, Ronald D; Runge, Troy M; Digman, Matthew

    2014-10-01

    The concept of co-production of liquid fuel (ethanol) along with animal feed on farm was proposed, and the strategy of using ambient-temperature acid pretreatment, ensiling and washing to improve ethanol production from alfalfa stems was investigated. Alfalfa stems were separated and pretreated with sulfuric acid at ambient-temperature after harvest, and following ensiling, after which the ensiled stems were subjected to simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) for ethanol production. Ethanol yield was improved by ambient-temperature sulfuric acid pretreatment before ensiling, and by washing before SSF. It was theorized that the acid pretreatment at ambient temperature partially degraded hemicellulose, and altered cell wall structure, resulted in improved cellulose accessibility, whereas washing removed soluble ash in substrates which could inhibit the SSF. The pH of stored alfalfa stems can be used to predict the ethanol yield, with a correlation coefficient of +0.83 for washed alfalfa stems.

  7. Outbreak of Salmonella serotype Saintpaul infections associated with eating alfalfa sprouts - United States, 2009.

    PubMed

    2009-05-15

    On February 24, 2009, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services identified six isolates of Salmonella serotype Saintpaul with collection dates from February 7--14. Salmonella Saintpaul is not a commonly detected serotype; during 2008, only three Salmonella Saintpaul isolates were identified in Nebraska. This report summarizes the preliminary results of the investigation of this outbreak, which has identified 228 cases in 13 states and implicated the source as alfalfa sprouts produced at multiple facilities using seeds that likely originated from a common grower. On April 26, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC recommended that consumers not eat raw alfalfa sprouts, including sprout blends containing alfalfa sprouts, until further notice. On May 1, FDA alerted sprout growers and retailers that a seed supplier was withdrawing voluntarily from the market all lots of alfalfa seeds with a specific three-digit prefix. PMID:19444155

  8. The genome of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior suggests key adaptations to advanced social life and fungus farming

    PubMed Central

    Nygaard, Sanne; Zhang, Guojie; Schiøtt, Morten; Li, Cai; Wurm, Yannick; Hu, Haofu; Zhou, Jiajian; Ji, Lu; Qiu, Feng; Rasmussen, Morten; Pan, Hailin; Hauser, Frank; Krogh, Anders; Grimmelikhuijzen, Cornelis J.P.; Wang, Jun; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

    2011-01-01

    We present a high-quality (>100× depth) Illumina genome sequence of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior, a model species for symbiosis and reproductive conflict studies. We compare this genome with three previously sequenced genomes of ants from different subfamilies and focus our analyses on aspects of the genome likely to be associated with known evolutionary changes. The first is the specialized fungal diet of A. echinatior, where we find gene loss in the ant's arginine synthesis pathway, loss of detoxification genes, and expansion of a group of peptidase proteins. One of these is a unique ant-derived contribution to the fecal fluid, which otherwise consists of “garden manuring” fungal enzymes that are unaffected by ant digestion. The second is multiple mating of queens and ejaculate competition, which may be associated with a greatly expanded nardilysin-like peptidase gene family. The third is sex determination, where we could identify only a single homolog of the feminizer gene. As other ants and the honeybee have duplications of this gene, we hypothesize that this may partly explain the frequent production of diploid male larvae in A. echinatior. The fourth is the evolution of eusociality, where we find a highly conserved ant-specific profile of neuropeptide genes that may be related to caste determination. These first analyses of the A. echinatior genome indicate that considerable genetic changes are likely to have accompanied the transition from hunter-gathering to agricultural food production 50 million years ago, and the transition from single to multiple queen mating 10 million years ago. PMID:21719571

  9. Yet More “Weeds” in the Garden: Fungal Novelties from Nests of Leaf-Cutting Ants

    PubMed Central

    Augustin, Juliana O.; Groenewald, Johannes Z.; Nascimento, Robson J.; Mizubuti, Eduardo S. G.; Barreto, Robert W.; Elliot, Simon L.; Evans, Harry C.

    2013-01-01

    Background Symbiotic relationships modulate the evolution of living organisms in all levels of biological organization. A notable example of symbiosis is that of attine ants (Attini; Formicidae: Hymenoptera) and their fungal cultivars (Lepiotaceae and Pterulaceae; Agaricales: Basidiomycota). In recent years, this mutualism has emerged as a model system for studying coevolution, speciation, and multitrophic interactions. Ubiquitous in this ant-fungal symbiosis is the “weedy” fungus Escovopsis (Hypocreales: Ascomycota), known only as a mycoparasite of attine fungal gardens. Despite interest in its biology, ecology and molecular phylogeny—noting, especially, the high genetic diversity encountered—which has led to a steady flow of publications over the past decade, only two species of Escovopsis have formally been described. Methods and Results We sampled from fungal gardens and garden waste (middens) of nests of the leaf-cutting ant genus Acromyrmex in a remnant of subtropical Atlantic rainforest in Minas Gerais, Brazil. In culture, distinct morphotypes of Escovopsis sensu lato were recognized. Using both morphological and molecular analyses, three new species of Escovopsis were identified. These are described and illustrated herein—E. lentecrescens, E. microspora, and E. moelleri—together with a re-description of the genus and the type species, E. weberi. The new genus Escovopsioides is erected for a fourth morphotype. We identify, for the first time, a mechanism for horizontal transmission via middens. Conclusions The present study makes a start at assigning names and formal descriptions to these specific fungal parasites of attine nests. Based on the results of this exploratory and geographically-restricted survey, we expect there to be many more species of the genus Escovopsis and its relatives associated with nests of both the lower and higher Attini throughout their neotropical range, as suggested in previous studies. PMID:24376525

  10. Expressed sequence tags from Atta laevigata and identification of candidate genes for the control of pest leaf-cutting ants

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Leafcutters are the highest evolved within Neotropical ants in the tribe Attini and model systems for studying caste formation, labor division and symbiosis with microorganisms. Some species of leafcutters are agricultural pests controlled by chemicals which affect other animals and accumulate in the environment. Aiming to provide genetic basis for the study of leafcutters and for the development of more specific and environmentally friendly methods for the control of pest leafcutters, we generated expressed sequence tag data from Atta laevigata, one of the pest ants with broad geographic distribution in South America. Results The analysis of the expressed sequence tags allowed us to characterize 2,006 unique sequences in Atta laevigata. Sixteen of these genes had a high number of transcripts and are likely positively selected for high level of gene expression, being responsible for three basic biological functions: energy conservation through redox reactions in mitochondria; cytoskeleton and muscle structuring; regulation of gene expression and metabolism. Based on leafcutters lifestyle and reports of genes involved in key processes of other social insects, we identified 146 sequences potential targets for controlling pest leafcutters. The targets are responsible for antixenobiosis, development and longevity, immunity, resistance to pathogens, pheromone function, cell signaling, behavior, polysaccharide metabolism and arginine kynase activity. Conclusion The generation and analysis of expressed sequence tags from Atta laevigata have provided important genetic basis for future studies on the biology of leaf-cutting ants and may contribute to the development of a more specific and environmentally friendly method for the control of agricultural pest leafcutters. PMID:21682882

  11. Caste-specific expression patterns of immune response and chemosensory related genes in the leaf-cutting ant, Atta vollenweideri.

    PubMed

    Koch, Sarah I; Groh, Katrin; Vogel, Heiko; Hansson, Bill S; Hannson, Bill S; Kleineidam, Christoph J; Grosse-Wilde, Ewald

    2013-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants are evolutionary derived social insects with elaborated division of labor and tremendous colony sizes with millions of workers. Their social organization is mainly based on olfactory communication using different pheromones and is promoted by a pronounced size-polymorphism of workers that perform different tasks within the colony. The size polymorphism and associated behaviors are correlated to distinct antennal lobe (AL) phenotypes. Two worker phenotypes differ in number of olfactory glomeruli in the AL and the presence or absence of an extremely large glomerulus (macroglomerulus), involved in trail-pheromone reception. The males' AL contains three macroglomeruli which are presumably involved in detection of sex-pheromone components. We investigated the antennal transcriptome data of all major castes (males, queens and workers) and two worker subcastes (large and tiny workers). In order to identify putative odorant receptor genes involved in pheromone detection, we identified differentially expressed odorant receptor genes (OR-genes) using custom microarrays. In total, we found 185 OR-gene fragments that are clearly related to ORs and we identified orthologs for 70 OR-genes. Among them one OR-gene differs in relative expression between the two worker subcastes by a factor of >3 and thus is a very promising candidate gene for the trail-pheromone receptor. Using the relative expression of OR-genes in males versus queens, we identified 2 candidates for sex-pheromone receptor genes in males. In addition, we identified genes from all other chemosensory related gene families (13 chemosensory protein genes, 8 odorant binding protein genes, 2 sensory-neuron membrane protein genes, 7 ionotropic receptor genes, 2 gustatory receptor genes), and we found ant-specific expansions in the chemosensory protein gene family. In addition, a large number of genes involved in immune defense exhibited differential expression across the three different castes, and some

  12. Caste-Specific Expression Patterns of Immune Response and Chemosensory Related Genes in the Leaf-Cutting Ant, Atta vollenweideri

    PubMed Central

    Koch, Sarah I.; Groh, Katrin; Vogel, Heiko; Hannson, Bill S.; Kleineidam, Christoph J.; Grosse-Wilde, Ewald

    2013-01-01

    Leaf-cutting ants are evolutionary derived social insects with elaborated division of labor and tremendous colony sizes with millions of workers. Their social organization is mainly based on olfactory communication using different pheromones and is promoted by a pronounced size-polymorphism of workers that perform different tasks within the colony. The size polymorphism and associated behaviors are correlated to distinct antennal lobe (AL) phenotypes. Two worker phenotypes differ in number of olfactory glomeruli in the AL and the presence or absence of an extremely large glomerulus (macroglomerulus), involved in trail-pheromone reception. The males' AL contains three macroglomeruli which are presumably involved in detection of sex-pheromone components. We investigated the antennal transcriptome data of all major castes (males, queens and workers) and two worker subcastes (large and tiny workers). In order to identify putative odorant receptor genes involved in pheromone detection, we identified differentially expressed odorant receptor genes (OR-genes) using custom microarrays. In total, we found 185 OR-gene fragments that are clearly related to ORs and we identified orthologs for 70 OR-genes. Among them one OR-gene differs in relative expression between the two worker subcastes by a factor of >3 and thus is a very promising candidate gene for the trail-pheromone receptor. Using the relative expression of OR-genes in males versus queens, we identified 2 candidates for sex-pheromone receptor genes in males. In addition, we identified genes from all other chemosensory related gene families (13 chemosensory protein genes, 8 odorant binding protein genes, 2 sensory-neuron membrane protein genes, 7 ionotropic receptor genes, 2 gustatory receptor genes), and we found ant-specific expansions in the chemosensory protein gene family. In addition, a large number of genes involved in immune defense exhibited differential expression across the three different castes, and some

  13. HI Gas in Early Type Galaxies as Measured by ALFALFA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collins, Wendy; Morrison, Ryan; Green, Jarred; Raskin, Mark; Crawford, Connor; Bomer-Lawson, August; Hannan, Joshua; Crone-Odekon, Mary; ALFALFA Team

    2016-01-01

    We present the HI content of 1580 early type galaxies (ETGs) in a total sample of 7747 galaxies that have HI measurements or upper limits from the ALFALFA survey. We find a significant correlation between HI content and local density, with HI detections almost exclusively in low-density environments. Using optical line ratios, we split the population into galaxies with spectral lines dominated by active galactic nuclei (AGN) and dominated by star forming regions. Compared with HI-rich star forming ETGs, HI-rich ETGs with AGN tend to be brighter and redder and to exhibit a stronger correlation between stellar mass and HI mass. This work is supported by NSF grant AST-1211005.

  14. Effect of feeding macerated alfalfa silage on nutrient digestibility and milk yield in lactating dairy cows.

    PubMed

    Broderick, G A; Koegel, R G; Mauries, M J; Schneeberger, E; Kraus, T J

    1999-11-01

    Five feeding studies were conducted with 141 lactating Holstein cows comparing macerated and control alfalfa silage harvested at two cuttings in each of 2 yr. Overall, silage made from macerated alfalfa contained more ash (suggesting improved soil contamination); greater fiber and lower nonprotein nitrogen (NPN) content suggested greater fermentation in the silo. In a digestion study, two diets were fed containing [dry matter (DM) basis] 72% of either control or macerated second-cutting alfalfa. Apparent digestibility of neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber (ADF) was increased by maceration, and similar changes in digestibility were observed with Yb or indigestible ADF as marker; indigestible ADF was used as a marker in later studies. Lactation trials were conducted with first- and second-cutting alfalfa from each year. In each study, diets were formulated from alfalfa silage plus concentrate based on processed high moisture ear corn; mean compositions were (DM basis): negative control (61% control alfalfa silage), macerated (61% macerated alfalfa silage), and positive control (50% control alfalfa silage). All diets contained 2% crude protein from either roasted soybeans or low-solubles fish meal; soybean meal was added to make the positive control isonitrogenous (but not equal in ruminal undergraded protein). Milk yield was greater on macerated than negative control in two of four trials but not different in the other two trials. Yields of milk and milk components were not different between macerated and positive control in one of four trials. Versus the negative control, milk fat synthesis was depressed on macerated alfalfa in one trial. Overall performance on macerated versus negative control indicated greater apparent digestibility of organic matter (OM), greater yield of milk, protein, and solids not fat, but lower milk fat content. Yields of milk and milk components were greater overall on positive control versus macerated. Estimation of net

  15. ALFALFA Hα Reveals How Galaxies Use their HI Fuel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jaskot, Anne; Oey, Sally; Salzer, John; Van Sistine, Angela; Bell, Eric; Haynes, Martha

    2015-08-01

    Atomic hydrogen traces the raw material from which molecular clouds and stars form. With the ALFALFA Hα survey, a statistically complete subset of the ALFALFA survey, we examine the processes that affect galaxies’ abilities to access and consume their HI gas. On galaxy-wide scales, HI gas fractions correlate only weakly with instantaneous specific star formation rates (sSFRs) but tightly with galaxy color. We show that a connection between dust and HI content, arising from the fundamental mass-metallicity-HI relation, leads to this tight color correlation. We find that disk galaxies follow a relation between stellar surface density and HI depletion time, consistent with a scenario in which higher mid-plane pressure leads to more efficient molecular cloud formation from HI. In contrast, spheroids show no such trend. Starbursts, identified by Hα equivalent width, do not show enhanced HI gas fractions relative to similar mass non-starburst galaxies. The starbursts’ shorter HI depletion times indicate more efficient consumption of HI, and galaxy interactions drive this enhanced star formation efficiency in several starbursts. Interestingly, the most disturbed starbursts show greater enhancements in HI gas fraction, which may indicate an excess of HI at early merger stages. At low galaxy stellar masses, the triggering mechanism for starbursts is less clear; the high scatter in efficiency and sSFR among low-mass galaxies may result from periodic bursts. We find no evidence for depleted HI reservoirs in starbursts, which suggests that galaxies may maintain sufficient HI to fuel multiple starburst episodes.

  16. The HI Content of Groups as Measured by ALFALFA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koopmann, Rebecca A.; Crone-Odekon, Mary; Haynes, Martha P.; Finn, Rose; Hallenbeck, Gregory L.; Giovanelli, Riccardo; ALFALFA Team

    2016-01-01

    We present the HI content of galaxies in nearby groups and clusters as measured by the 70% complete Arecibo Legacy Fast-ALFA (ALFALFA) survey, including constraints from ALFALFA detection limits. Our sample includes 22 groups at distances between 70-160 Mpc over the mass range 12.5 < log M/M⊙ < 15.0, for a total of 1986 late-type galaxies out to a projected group-centric distance of 4.0 Mpc. We find that late-type galaxies in the centers of groups lack HI at fixed stellar mass relative to the regions surrounding them. Larger groups show evidence of a stronger gradient in HI properties, despite a similar gradient in stellar mass, and in color at fixed stellar mass, over the same range in r/R200. We compare several environment variables to determine which is the best predictor of galaxy properties; group-centric distance r and r/R200 are similarly effective predictors, while local density is slightly more effective and group size and halo mass are slightly less effective. Finally, we see evidence that HI is deficient for blue cloud galaxies in denser environments even when both stellar mass and color are fixed. This is consistent with a picture where HI is removed or destroyed, followed by reddening within the blue cloud. Overall, our results support the existence of pre-processing in isolated groups, along with an additional rapid mechanism for gas removal within larger groups and clusters, perhaps by ram-pressure stripping. This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-0724918/0902211, AST-075267/0903394, AST-0725380, and AST-1211005.

  17. Soldiers in a Stingless Bee.

    PubMed

    Hammel, Benedikt; Vollet-Neto, Ayrton; Menezes, Cristiano; Nascimento, Fabio S; Engels, Wolf; Grüter, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    The differentiation of workers into morphological subcastes (e.g., soldiers) represents an important evolutionary transition and is thought to improve division of labor in social insects. Soldiers occur in many ant and termite species, where they make up a small proportion of the workforce. A common assumption of worker caste evolution is that soldiers are behavioral specialists. Here, we report the first test of the "rare specialist" hypothesis in a eusocial bee. Colonies of the stingless bee Tetragonisca angustula are defended by a small group of morphologically differentiated soldiers. Contrary to the rare specialist hypothesis, we found that soldiers worked more (+34%-41%) and performed a greater variety of tasks (+23%-34%) than other workers, particularly early in life. Our results suggest a "rare elite" function of soldiers in T. angustula, that is, that they perform a disproportionately large amount of the work. Division of labor was based on a combination of temporal and physical castes, but soldiers transitioned faster from one task to the next. We discuss why the rare specialist assumption might not hold in species with a moderate degree of worker differentiation.

  18. Soldiers in a Stingless Bee.

    PubMed

    Hammel, Benedikt; Vollet-Neto, Ayrton; Menezes, Cristiano; Nascimento, Fabio S; Engels, Wolf; Grüter, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    The differentiation of workers into morphological subcastes (e.g., soldiers) represents an important evolutionary transition and is thought to improve division of labor in social insects. Soldiers occur in many ant and termite species, where they make up a small proportion of the workforce. A common assumption of worker caste evolution is that soldiers are behavioral specialists. Here, we report the first test of the "rare specialist" hypothesis in a eusocial bee. Colonies of the stingless bee Tetragonisca angustula are defended by a small group of morphologically differentiated soldiers. Contrary to the rare specialist hypothesis, we found that soldiers worked more (+34%-41%) and performed a greater variety of tasks (+23%-34%) than other workers, particularly early in life. Our results suggest a "rare elite" function of soldiers in T. angustula, that is, that they perform a disproportionately large amount of the work. Division of labor was based on a combination of temporal and physical castes, but soldiers transitioned faster from one task to the next. We discuss why the rare specialist assumption might not hold in species with a moderate degree of worker differentiation. PMID:27277408

  19. Role of Silicon Counteracting Cadmium Toxicity in Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.).

    PubMed

    Kabir, Ahmad H; Hossain, Mohammad M; Khatun, Most A; Mandal, Abul; Haider, Syed A

    2016-01-01

    Cadmium (Cd) is one of the most phytotoxic elements causing an agricultural problem and human health hazards. This work investigates whether and how silicon (Si) ameliorates Cd toxicity in Alfalfa. The addition of Si in Cd-stressed plants caused significant improvement in morpho-physiological features as well as total protein and membrane stability, indicating that Si does have critical roles in Cd detoxification in Alfalfa. Furthermore, Si supplementation in Cd-stressed plants showed a significant decrease in Cd and Fe concentrations in both roots and shoots compared with Cd-stressed plants, revealing that Si-mediated tolerance to Cd stress is associated with Cd inhibition in Alfalfa. Results also showed no significant changes in the expression of two metal chelators [MsPCS1 (phytochelatin synthase) and MsMT2 (metallothionein)] and PC (phytochelatin) accumulation, indicating that there may be no metal sequestration or change in metal sequestration following Si application under Cd stress in Alfalfa. We further performed a targeted study on the effect of Si on Fe uptake mechanisms. We observed the consistent reduction in Fe reductase activity, expression of Fe-related genes [MsIRT1 (Fe transporter), MsNramp1 (metal transporter) and OsFRO1 (ferric chelate reductase] and Fe chelators (citrate and malate) by Si application to Cd stress in roots of Alfalfa. These results support that limiting Fe uptake through the down-regulation of Fe acquisition mechanisms confers Si-mediated alleviation of Cd toxicity in Alfalfa. Finally, an increase of catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase activities along with elevated methionine and proline subjected to Si application might play roles, at least in part, to reduce H2O2 and to provide antioxidant defense against Cd stress in Alfalfa. The study shows evidence of the effect of Si on alleviating Cd toxicity in Alfalfa and can be further extended for phytoremediation of Cd toxicity in plants. PMID:27512401

  20. Role of Silicon Counteracting Cadmium Toxicity in Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)

    PubMed Central

    Kabir, Ahmad H.; Hossain, Mohammad M.; Khatun, Most A.; Mandal, Abul; Haider, Syed A.

    2016-01-01

    Cadmium (Cd) is one of the most phytotoxic elements causing an agricultural problem and human health hazards. This work investigates whether and how silicon (Si) ameliorates Cd toxicity in Alfalfa. The addition of Si in Cd-stressed plants caused significant improvement in morpho-physiological features as well as total protein and membrane stability, indicating that Si does have critical roles in Cd detoxification in Alfalfa. Furthermore, Si supplementation in Cd-stressed plants showed a significant decrease in Cd and Fe concentrations in both roots and shoots compared with Cd-stressed plants, revealing that Si-mediated tolerance to Cd stress is associated with Cd inhibition in Alfalfa. Results also showed no significant changes in the expression of two metal chelators [MsPCS1 (phytochelatin synthase) and MsMT2 (metallothionein)] and PC (phytochelatin) accumulation, indicating that there may be no metal sequestration or change in metal sequestration following Si application under Cd stress in Alfalfa. We further performed a targeted study on the effect of Si on Fe uptake mechanisms. We observed the consistent reduction in Fe reductase activity, expression of Fe-related genes [MsIRT1 (Fe transporter), MsNramp1 (metal transporter) and OsFRO1 (ferric chelate reductase] and Fe chelators (citrate and malate) by Si application to Cd stress in roots of Alfalfa. These results support that limiting Fe uptake through the down-regulation of Fe acquisition mechanisms confers Si-mediated alleviation of Cd toxicity in Alfalfa. Finally, an increase of catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase activities along with elevated methionine and proline subjected to Si application might play roles, at least in part, to reduce H2O2 and to provide antioxidant defense against Cd stress in Alfalfa. The study shows evidence of the effect of Si on alleviating Cd toxicity in Alfalfa and can be further extended for phytoremediation of Cd toxicity in plants. PMID:27512401

  1. Local production of agricultural fuel: conversion of alfalfa to ethanol. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Nelson, D.; Tjostem, J.; Koeltzow, D.E.

    1981-09-01

    Initial project goals were to determine the economic and technological feasibility of producing fuel grade ethanol from the sugars contained in alfalfa and other legumes using a small-scale, single-farm production facility. These data indicate that alfalfa from the field does have reducing sugar present before any breakdown due to the presence of the mold. There is also plenty of natural bacterial contamination which quickly depletes the sugar supply. However, if the alfalfa is autoclaved prior to incubation, the number of bacteria present in the samples is greatly reduced. There was no difference between the flasks which contained an inoculum of Tricoderma reesei and those that did not. Analysis of these solutions failed to show any trace of cellulase activity even after 288 hours (12 days). Therefore, one can also conclude that the Tricoderma reesei strain QM9414 does not grow on alfalfa under these conditions. Future experiments will involve different conditions of temperature and pH. Acid insoluble lignin levels in our 3rd cutting alfalfa samples range from 16.8% to 19.77% with an average of 18.3%. This agrees well with the levels of 13.8% and 15.9% reported by Linder, et al. Results of lipid, water, protein, lignin and cellulose analysis of alfalfa are given. Over 80% of the cellulose in alfalfa can be converted into glucose. Subsequent fermentation by S. carlisbergenois produced near theoretical yields of ethanol. However, the cost of the hay was $440.00; the market value of the ethanol was $120.00. The poor economics results since only 13.1% of the alfalfa contains cellulose. Results show that while production of ethanol from legume-type plants is technically possible, it is not economically feasible.

  2. Effects of Temperature on the Pathogenicity of Tylenchorhynchus clarus to Alfalfa and Observations on Feeding

    PubMed Central

    Noel, Gregory R.; Lownsbery, B. F.

    1978-01-01

    The involvement of Tylenchorhynchus clarus in plant disease is reported. Addition of a suspension of surface-axenized nematodes reduced top and root growth of alfalfa. Reproduction of T. clarus was greater at 24 and 27 than at 21 C. The interaction of nematodes with temperature did not produce significant effects on alfalfa growth in the 4.5-mo experimental period. T. clarus fed endo- and ectoparasitically. PMID:19305838

  3. [A contribution to an evalution of general combining ability of alfalfa clones].

    PubMed

    Crod, J

    1969-01-01

    Recombinational performance of different clones of alfalfa was compared in two types of seed : (a) produced by systematic mating of the clones and (b) produced by the polycross procedure. No basic differences between the two types of progeny were found for the characteristics investigated. Thus neither greater objectivity nor greater test efficiency of the polycross technique was demonstrated.Factors determining objective evaluation of general combining ability of alfalfa by means of the polycross test technique are discyssed.

  4. Proteomic Identification of Differentially Expressed Proteins during Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) Flower Development

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Lingling; Chen, Quanzhu; Zhu, Yanqiao; Hou, Longyu; Mao, Peisheng

    2016-01-01

    Flower development, pollination, and fertilization are important stages in the sexual reproduction process of plants; they are also critical steps in the control of seed formation and development. During alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) seed production, some distinct phenomena such as a low seed setting ratio, serious flower falling, and seed abortion commonly occur. However, the causes of these phenomena are complicated and largely unknown. An understanding of the mechanisms that regulate alfalfa flowering is important in order to increase seed yield. Hence, proteomic technology was used to analyze changes in protein expression during the stages of alfalfa flower development. Flower samples were collected at pre-pollination (S1), pollination (S2), and the post-pollination senescence period (S3). Twenty-four differentially expressed proteins were successfully identified, including 17 down-regulated in pollinated flowers, one up-regulated in pollinated and senesced flowers, and six up-regulated in senesced flowers. The largest proportions of the identified proteins were involved in metabolism, signal transduction, defense response, oxidation reduction, cell death, and programmed cell death (PCD). Their expression profiles demonstrated that energy metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, and amino acid metabolism provided the nutrient foundation for pollination in alfalfa. Furthermore, there were three proteins involved in multiple metabolic pathways: dual specificity kinase splA-like protein (kinase splALs), carbonic anhydrase, and NADPH: quinone oxidoreductase-like protein. Expression patterns of these proteins indicated that MAPK cascades regulated multiple processes, such as signal transduction, stress response, and cell death. PCD also played an important role in the alfalfa flower developmental process, and regulated both pollination and flower senescence. The current study sheds some light on protein expression profiles during alfalfa flower development and

  5. African bees to control African elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vollrath, Fritz; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2002-11-01

    Numbers of elephants have declined in Africa and Asia over the past 30 years while numbers of humans have increased, both substantially. Friction between these two keystone species is reaching levels which are worryingly high from an ecological as well as a political viewpoint. Ways and means must be found to keep the two apart, at least in areas sensitive to each species' survival. The aggressive African bee might be one such method. Here we demonstrate that African bees deter elephants from damaging the vegetation and trees which house their hives. We argue that bees can be employed profitably to protect not only selected trees, but also selected areas, from elephant damage.

  6. Bee Pollen: Chemical Composition and Therapeutic Application

    PubMed Central

    Komosinska-Vassev, Katarzyna; Olczyk, Pawel; Kaźmierczak, Justyna; Olczyk, Krystyna

    2015-01-01

    Bee pollen is a valuable apitherapeutic product greatly appreciated by the natural medicine because of its potential medical and nutritional applications. It demonstrates a series of actions such as antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anticancer immunostimulating, and local analgesic. Its radical scavenging potential has also been reported. Beneficial properties of bee pollen and the validity for their therapeutic use in various pathological condition have been discussed in this study and with the currently known mechanisms, by which bee pollen modulates burn wound healing process. PMID:25861358

  7. Genetic component in learning ability in bees.

    PubMed

    Kerr, W E; Moura Duarte, F A; Oliveira, R S

    1975-10-01

    Twenty-five bees, five from each of five hives, were trained to collect food at a table. When the bee reached the table, time was recorded for 12 visits. Then a blue and yellow pan was substituted for the original metal pan, and time and correct responses were recorded for 30 trips (discrimination phase). Finally, food was taken from the pan and extinction was recorded as incorrect responses for 20 visits. Variance analysis was carried out, and genetic variance was undetected for discrimination, but was detected for extinction. It is concluded that learning is very important for bees, so that any impairment in such ability affects colony survival.

  8. Synergistic effects of non-Apis bees and honey bees for pollination services.

    PubMed

    Brittain, Claire; Williams, Neal; Kremen, Claire; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2013-03-01

    In diverse pollinator communities, interspecific interactions may modify the behaviour and increase the pollination effectiveness of individual species. Because agricultural production reliant on pollination is growing, improving pollination effectiveness could increase crop yield without any increase in agricultural intensity or area. In California almond, a crop highly dependent on honey bee pollination, we explored the foraging behaviour and pollination effectiveness of honey bees in orchards with simple (honey bee only) and diverse (non-Apis bees present) bee communities. In orchards with non-Apis bees, the foraging behaviour of honey bees changed and the pollination effectiveness of a single honey bee visit was greater than in orchards where non-Apis bees were absent. This change translated to a greater proportion of fruit set in these orchards. Our field experiments show that increased pollinator diversity can synergistically increase pollination service, through species interactions that alter the behaviour and resulting functional quality of a dominant pollinator species. These results of functional synergy between species were supported by an additional controlled cage experiment with Osmia lignaria and Apis mellifera. Our findings highlight a largely unexplored facilitative component of the benefit of biodiversity to ecosystem services, and represent a way to improve pollinator-dependent crop yields in a sustainable manner.

  9. Why do leafcutter bees cut leaves? New insights into the early evolution of bees.

    PubMed

    Litman, Jessica R; Danforth, Bryan N; Eardley, Connal D; Praz, Christophe J

    2011-12-01

    Stark contrasts in clade species diversity are reported across the tree of life and are especially conspicuous when observed in closely related lineages. The explanation for such disparity has often been attributed to the evolution of key innovations that facilitate colonization of new ecological niches. The factors underlying diversification in bees remain poorly explored. Bees are thought to have originated from apoid wasps during the Mid-Cretaceous, a period that coincides with the appearance of angiosperm eudicot pollen grains in the fossil record. The reliance of bees on angiosperm pollen and their fundamental role as angiosperm pollinators have contributed to the idea that both groups may have undergone simultaneous radiations. We demonstrate that one key innovation--the inclusion of foreign material in nest construction--underlies both a massive range expansion and a significant increase in the rate of diversification within the second largest bee family, Megachilidae. Basal clades within the family are restricted to deserts and exhibit plesiomorphic features rarely observed among modern bees, but prevalent among apoid wasps. Our results suggest that early bees inherited a suite of behavioural traits that acted as powerful evolutionary constraints. While the transition to pollen as a larval food source opened an enormous ecological niche for the early bees, the exploitation of this niche and the subsequent diversification of bees only became possible after bees had evolved adaptations to overcome these constraints.

  10. Synergistic effects of non-Apis bees and honey bees for pollination services

    PubMed Central

    Brittain, Claire; Williams, Neal; Kremen, Claire; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2013-01-01

    In diverse pollinator communities, interspecific interactions may modify the behaviour and increase the pollination effectiveness of individual species. Because agricultural production reliant on pollination is growing, improving pollination effectiveness could increase crop yield without any increase in agricultural intensity or area. In California almond, a crop highly dependent on honey bee pollination, we explored the foraging behaviour and pollination effectiveness of honey bees in orchards with simple (honey bee only) and diverse (non-Apis bees present) bee communities. In orchards with non-Apis bees, the foraging behaviour of honey bees changed and the pollination effectiveness of a single honey bee visit was greater than in orchards where non-Apis bees were absent. This change translated to a greater proportion of fruit set in these orchards. Our field experiments show that increased pollinator diversity can synergistically increase pollination service, through species interactions that alter the behaviour and resulting functional quality of a dominant pollinator species. These results of functional synergy between species were supported by an additional controlled cage experiment with Osmia lignaria and Apis mellifera. Our findings highlight a largely unexplored facilitative component of the benefit of biodiversity to ecosystem services, and represent a way to improve pollinator-dependent crop yields in a sustainable manner. PMID:23303545

  11. Why do leafcutter bees cut leaves? New insights into the early evolution of bees.

    PubMed

    Litman, Jessica R; Danforth, Bryan N; Eardley, Connal D; Praz, Christophe J

    2011-12-01

    Stark contrasts in clade species diversity are reported across the tree of life and are especially conspicuous when observed in closely related lineages. The explanation for such disparity has often been attributed to the evolution of key innovations that facilitate colonization of new ecological niches. The factors underlying diversification in bees remain poorly explored. Bees are thought to have originated from apoid wasps during the Mid-Cretaceous, a period that coincides with the appearance of angiosperm eudicot pollen grains in the fossil record. The reliance of bees on angiosperm pollen and their fundamental role as angiosperm pollinators have contributed to the idea that both groups may have undergone simultaneous radiations. We demonstrate that one key innovation--the inclusion of foreign material in nest construction--underlies both a massive range expansion and a significant increase in the rate of diversification within the second largest bee family, Megachilidae. Basal clades within the family are restricted to deserts and exhibit plesiomorphic features rarely observed among modern bees, but prevalent among apoid wasps. Our results suggest that early bees inherited a suite of behavioural traits that acted as powerful evolutionary constraints. While the transition to pollen as a larval food source opened an enormous ecological niche for the early bees, the exploitation of this niche and the subsequent diversification of bees only became possible after bees had evolved adaptations to overcome these constraints. PMID:21490010

  12. [Determination of Hard Rate of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) Seeds with Near Infrared Spectroscopy].

    PubMed

    Wang, Xin-xun; Chen, Ling-ling; Zhang, Yun-wei; Mao, Pei-sheng

    2016-03-01

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is the most commonly grown forage crop due to its better quality characteristics and high adaptability in China. However, there was 20%-80% hard seeds in alfalfa which could not be identified easily from non hard seeds which would cause the loss of seed utilization value and plant production. This experiment was designed for 121 samples of alfalfa. Seeds were collected according to different regions, harvested year and varieties. 31 samples were artificial matched as hard rates ranging from 20% to 80% to establish a model for hard seed rate by near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) with Partial Least Square (PLS). The objective of this study was to establish a model and to estimate the efficiency of NIRS for determining hard rate of alfalfa seeds. The results showed that the correlation coefficient (R2(cal)) of calibration model was 0.981 6, root mean square error of cross validation (RMSECV) was 5.32, and the ratio of prediction to deviation (RPD) was 3.58. The forecast model in this experiment presented the satisfied precision. The proposed method using NIRS technology is feasible for identification and classification of hard seed in alfalfa. A new method, as nondestructive testing of hard seed rate, was provided to theoretical basis for fast nondestructive detection of hard seed rates in alfalfa. PMID:27400509

  13. Effects of engineered Sinorhizobium meliloti on cytokinin synthesis and tolerance of alfalfa to extreme drought stress.

    PubMed

    Xu, Ji; Li, Xiao-Lin; Luo, Li

    2012-11-01

    Cytokinin is required for the initiation of leguminous nitrogen fixation nodules elicited by rhizobia and the delay of the leaf senescence induced by drought stress. A few free-living rhizobia have been found to produce cytokinin. However, the effects of engineered rhizobia capable of synthesizing cytokinin on host tolerance to abiotic stresses have not yet been described. In this study, two engineered Sinorhizobium strains overproducing cytokinin were constructed. The tolerance of inoculated alfalfa plants to severe drought stress was assessed. The engineered strains, which expressed the Agrobacterium ipt gene under the control of different promoters, synthesized more zeatins than the control strain under free-living conditions, but their own growth was not affected. After a 4-week inoculation period, the effects of engineered strains on alfalfa growth and nitrogen fixation were similar to those of the control strain under nondrought conditions. After being subjected to severe drought stress, most of the alfalfa plants inoculated with engineered strains survived, and the nitrogenase activity in their root nodules showed no apparent change. A small elevation in zeatin concentration was observed in the leaves of these plants. The expression of antioxidant enzymes increased, and the level of reactive oxygen species decreased correspondingly. Although the ipt gene was transcribed in the bacteroids of engineered strains, the level of cytokinin in alfalfa nodules was identical to that of the control. These findings suggest that engineered Sinorhizobium strains synthesizing more cytokinin could improve the tolerance of alfalfa to severe drought stress without affecting alfalfa nodulation or nitrogen fixation.

  14. [Determination of Hard Rate of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) Seeds with Near Infrared Spectroscopy].

    PubMed

    Wang, Xin-xun; Chen, Ling-ling; Zhang, Yun-wei; Mao, Pei-sheng

    2016-03-01

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is the most commonly grown forage crop due to its better quality characteristics and high adaptability in China. However, there was 20%-80% hard seeds in alfalfa which could not be identified easily from non hard seeds which would cause the loss of seed utilization value and plant production. This experiment was designed for 121 samples of alfalfa. Seeds were collected according to different regions, harvested year and varieties. 31 samples were artificial matched as hard rates ranging from 20% to 80% to establish a model for hard seed rate by near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) with Partial Least Square (PLS). The objective of this study was to establish a model and to estimate the efficiency of NIRS for determining hard rate of alfalfa seeds. The results showed that the correlation coefficient (R2(cal)) of calibration model was 0.981 6, root mean square error of cross validation (RMSECV) was 5.32, and the ratio of prediction to deviation (RPD) was 3.58. The forecast model in this experiment presented the satisfied precision. The proposed method using NIRS technology is feasible for identification and classification of hard seed in alfalfa. A new method, as nondestructive testing of hard seed rate, was provided to theoretical basis for fast nondestructive detection of hard seed rates in alfalfa.

  15. Alfalfa varieties for biomass production. Task IId. Quarterly report, July 1, 1997--September 30, 1997

    SciTech Connect

    Sheaffer, C.; Martin, N.; Lamb, J.

    1997-10-30

    The use of alfalfa for biomass production may require harvest schedules and alfalfa varieties with different traits than currently marketed varieties. A late flower (2-cut) system may have several advantages compared to more frequent cutting systems because it can result in high stem yield, result in less trips over the field, allow more schedule flexibility, provide greater wildlife habitat, and allow greater alfalfa persistence. However, modem alfalfa varieties have been developed for a frequent harvest system with 3-4 cuttings per season. The objectives of this study were to determine the total biomass yield; leaf and stem biomass yield; and leaf and stem composition of alfalfa varieties subject to diverse harvest regimes. Alfalfa varieties included those currently marketed in the biomass region as well as experimental entries developed for lodging resistance and leaf retention. Harvest regimes included conventional strategies based on harvests at bud or first flower and a non-conventional strategy with harvests at late flower. Harvest regime had the most consistent and greatest effect on the variables studied. Forage yields were greater for the early flower regime. Harvests at earlier maturity frequently result in leafier, higher quality forage than harvest at late flower. 3 figs., 9 tabs.

  16. Optimization of enzyme-assisted extraction of polysaccharides from alfalfa and its antioxidant activity.

    PubMed

    Wang, Shaopu; Dong, Xiaofang; Tong, Jianming

    2013-11-01

    In this present study, an efficient complex enzyme-assisted extraction technology was developed and optimized to extract polysaccharides from alfalfa using four factors at five levels central composite rotatable response surface design (CCRD). The experimental data was fitted to a second order polynomial equation with high coefficient of determination values (R(2)>0.95). The results of statistical analysis showed that the linear and quadratic terms of these four variables had significant effects (P<0.05) on the yield of polysaccharides from alfalfa. The optimum conditions were as follows: enzyme concentration of 2.5%, 2.0%, 3.0% (weight of alfalfa) of cellulase, papain and pectase, extraction temperature 52.7 °C, extraction pH 3.87, ratio of water to raw material 78.92 mL/g and extraction time 2.73 h. Under the optimal conditions, the experimental extraction yield of alfalfa polysaccharides was 5.05 ± 0.02%, which was well matched with the value (5.09%) predicted by the CCRD model. Moreover, evaluation of the antioxidant activity of polysaccharides from alfalfa in vitro suggested that the polysaccharides had good antioxidant effect, especially scavenging activity for hydroxyl radical and DPPH radical, which indicated that the polysaccharides from alfalfa may be explored as a novel natural antioxidant.

  17. Seed coating with a neonicotinoid insecticide negatively affects wild bees.

    PubMed

    Rundlöf, Maj; Andersson, Georg K S; Bommarco, Riccardo; Fries, Ingemar; Hederström, Veronica; Herbertsson, Lina; Jonsson, Ove; Klatt, Björn K; Pedersen, Thorsten R; Yourstone, Johanna; Smith, Henrik G

    2015-05-01

    Understanding the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees is vital because of reported declines in bee diversity and distribution and the crucial role bees have as pollinators in ecosystems and agriculture. Neonicotinoids are suspected to pose an unacceptable risk to bees, partly because of their systemic uptake in plants, and the European Union has therefore introduced a moratorium on three neonicotinoids as seed coatings in flowering crops that attract bees. The moratorium has been criticized for being based on weak evidence, particularly because effects have mostly been measured on bees that have been artificially fed neonicotinoids. Thus, the key question is how neonicotinoids influence bees, and wild bees in particular, in real-world agricultural landscapes. Here we show that a commonly used insecticide seed coating in a flowering crop can have serious consequences for wild bees. In a study with replicated and matched landscapes, we found that seed coating with Elado, an insecticide containing a combination of the neonicotinoid clothianidin and the non-systemic pyrethroid β-cyfluthrin, applied to oilseed rape seeds, reduced wild bee density, solitary bee nesting, and bumblebee colony growth and reproduction under field conditions. Hence, such insecticidal use can pose a substantial risk to wild bees in agricultural landscapes, and the contribution of pesticides to the global decline of wild bees may have been underestimated. The lack of a significant response in honeybee colonies suggests that reported pesticide effects on honeybees cannot always be extrapolated to wild bees.

  18. Seed coating with a neonicotinoid insecticide negatively affects wild bees.

    PubMed

    Rundlöf, Maj; Andersson, Georg K S; Bommarco, Riccardo; Fries, Ingemar; Hederström, Veronica; Herbertsson, Lina; Jonsson, Ove; Klatt, Björn K; Pedersen, Thorsten R; Yourstone, Johanna; Smith, Henrik G

    2015-05-01

    Understanding the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees is vital because of reported declines in bee diversity and distribution and the crucial role bees have as pollinators in ecosystems and agriculture. Neonicotinoids are suspected to pose an unacceptable risk to bees, partly because of their systemic uptake in plants, and the European Union has therefore introduced a moratorium on three neonicotinoids as seed coatings in flowering crops that attract bees. The moratorium has been criticized for being based on weak evidence, particularly because effects have mostly been measured on bees that have been artificially fed neonicotinoids. Thus, the key question is how neonicotinoids influence bees, and wild bees in particular, in real-world agricultural landscapes. Here we show that a commonly used insecticide seed coating in a flowering crop can have serious consequences for wild bees. In a study with replicated and matched landscapes, we found that seed coating with Elado, an insecticide containing a combination of the neonicotinoid clothianidin and the non-systemic pyrethroid β-cyfluthrin, applied to oilseed rape seeds, reduced wild bee density, solitary bee nesting, and bumblebee colony growth and reproduction under field conditions. Hence, such insecticidal use can pose a substantial risk to wild bees in agricultural landscapes, and the contribution of pesticides to the global decline of wild bees may have been underestimated. The lack of a significant response in honeybee colonies suggests that reported pesticide effects on honeybees cannot always be extrapolated to wild bees. PMID:25901681

  19. Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens.

    PubMed

    Williams, Geoffrey R; Troxler, Aline; Retschnig, Gina; Roth, Kaspar; Yañez, Orlando; Shutler, Dave; Neumann, Peter; Gauthier, Laurent

    2015-01-01

    Queen health is crucial to colony survival of social bees. Recently, queen failure has been proposed to be a major driver of managed honey bee colony losses, yet few data exist concerning effects of environmental stressors on queens. Here we demonstrate for the first time that exposure to field-realistic concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides during development can severely affect queens of western honey bees (Apis mellifera). In pesticide-exposed queens, reproductive anatomy (ovaries) and physiology (spermathecal-stored sperm quality and quantity), rather than flight behaviour, were compromised and likely corresponded to reduced queen success (alive and producing worker offspring). This study highlights the detriments of neonicotinoids to queens of environmentally and economically important social bees, and further strengthens the need for stringent risk assessments to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services that are vulnerable to these substances. PMID:26459072

  20. Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens.

    PubMed

    Williams, Geoffrey R; Troxler, Aline; Retschnig, Gina; Roth, Kaspar; Yañez, Orlando; Shutler, Dave; Neumann, Peter; Gauthier, Laurent

    2015-10-13

    Queen health is crucial to colony survival of social bees. Recently, queen failure has been proposed to be a major driver of managed honey bee colony losses, yet few data exist concerning effects of environmental stressors on queens. Here we demonstrate for the first time that exposure to field-realistic concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides during development can severely affect queens of western honey bees (Apis mellifera). In pesticide-exposed queens, reproductive anatomy (ovaries) and physiology (spermathecal-stored sperm quality and quantity), rather than flight behaviour, were compromised and likely corresponded to reduced queen success (alive and producing worker offspring). This study highlights the detriments of neonicotinoids to queens of environmentally and economically important social bees, and further strengthens the need for stringent risk assessments to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services that are vulnerable to these substances.

  1. Ecotoxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to bees.

    PubMed

    Decourtye, Axel; Devillers, James

    2010-01-01

    This chapter reviews the available data on the toxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to bees that are the prominent and the most economically important group of pollinators worldwide. Classical and new methods developed to take into account the characteristics and different types of effects of the neonicotinoid insecticides to bees are described. The available toxicity results are critically analyzed. Thus, the nitro-substituted compounds (clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and its metabolites, thiamethoxam, nitenpyram) appear the most toxic to bees. The cyano-substituted neonicotinoids seem to exhibit a much lower toxicity (acetamiprid and thiacloprid). The chapter ends with suggestions for additional studies aiming at better assess the hazard of this important insecticide family to bees.

  2. Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Geoffrey R.; Troxler, Aline; Retschnig, Gina; Roth, Kaspar; Yañez, Orlando; Shutler, Dave; Neumann, Peter; Gauthier, Laurent

    2015-01-01

    Queen health is crucial to colony survival of social bees. Recently, queen failure has been proposed to be a major driver of managed honey bee colony losses, yet few data exist concerning effects of environmental stressors on queens. Here we demonstrate for the first time that exposure to field-realistic concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides during development can severely affect queens of western honey bees (Apis mellifera). In pesticide-exposed queens, reproductive anatomy (ovaries) and physiology (spermathecal-stored sperm quality and quantity), rather than flight behaviour, were compromised and likely corresponded to reduced queen success (alive and producing worker offspring). This study highlights the detriments of neonicotinoids to queens of environmentally and economically important social bees, and further strengthens the need for stringent risk assessments to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services that are vulnerable to these substances. PMID:26459072

  3. Mass envenomations by honey bees and wasps.

    PubMed Central

    Vetter, R S; Visscher, P K; Camazine, S

    1999-01-01

    Stinging events involving honey bees and wasps are rare; most deaths or clinically important incidents involve very few stings (< 10) and anaphylactic shock. However, mass stinging events can prove life-threatening via the toxic action of the venom when injected in large amounts. With the advent of the Africanized honey bee in the southwestern United States and its potential for further spread, mass envenomation incidents will increase. Here we review the literature on mass stinging events involving honey bees and wasps (i.e., yellowjackets, wasps, and hornets). Despite different venom composition in the two insect groups, both may cause systemic damage and involve hemolysis, rhabdomyolysis, and acute renal failure. Victim death may occur due to renal failure or cardiac complications. With supportive care, however, most victims should be able to survive attacks from hundreds of wasps or approximately 1000 honey bees. PMID:10344177

  4. Octopamine influences honey bee foraging preference

    PubMed Central

    Giray, Tugrul; Galindo, Alberto; Oskay, Devrim

    2010-01-01

    Colony condition and differences in individual preferences influence forage type collected by bees. Physiological bases for the changing preferences of individual foragers are just beginning to be examined. Recently, for honey bees octopamine is shown to influence age at onset of foraging and probability of dance for rewards. However, octopamine has not been causally linked with foraging preference in the field. We tested the hypothesis that changes in octopamine may alter forage type (preference hypothesis). We treated identified foragers orally with octopamine or its immediate precursor, tyramine, or sucrose syrup (control). Octopamine treated foragers switched type of material collected, control bees did not. Tyramine group results were not different from the control group. In addition, sugar concentrations of nectar collected by foragers after octopamine treatment were lower than before treatment, indicating change in preference. In contrast, before and after nectar concentrations for bees in the control group were similar. These results, taken together, support the preference hypothesis. PMID:17574568

  5. Field-level sublethal effects of approved bee hive chemicals on Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L).

    PubMed

    Berry, Jennifer A; Hood, W Michael; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Delaplane, Keith S

    2013-01-01

    In a study replicated across two states and two years, we tested the sublethal effects on honey bees of the miticides Apistan (tau fluvalinate) and Check Mite+ (coumaphos) and the wood preservative copper naphthenate applied at label rates in field conditions. A continuous covariate, a colony Varroa mite index, helped us disambiguate the effects of the chemicals on bees while adjusting for a presumed benefit of controlling mites. Mite levels in colonies treated with Apistan or Check Mite+ were not different from levels in non-treated controls. Experimental chemicals significantly decreased 3-day brood survivorship and increased construction of queen supercedure cells compared to non-treated controls. Bees exposed to Check Mite+ as immatures had higher legacy mortality as adults relative to non-treated controls, whereas bees exposed to Apistan had improved legacy mortality relative to non-treated controls. Relative to non-treated controls, Check Mite+ increased adult emergence weight. Although there was a treatment effect on a test of associative learning, it was not possible to statistically separate the treatment means, but bees treated with Apistan performed comparatively well. And finally, there were no detected effects of bee hive chemical on colony bee population, amount of brood, amount of honey, foraging rate, time required for marked released bees to return to their nest, percentage of released bees that return to the nest, and colony Nosema spore loads. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine sublethal effects of bee hive chemicals applied at label rates under field conditions while disambiguating the results from mite control benefits realized from the chemicals. Given the poor performance of the miticides at reducing mites and their inconsistent effects on the host, these results defend the use of bee health management practices that minimize use of exotic hive chemicals.

  6. Field-Level Sublethal Effects of Approved Bee Hive Chemicals on Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L)

    PubMed Central

    Berry, Jennifer A.; Hood, W. Michael; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Delaplane, Keith S.

    2013-01-01

    In a study replicated across two states and two years, we tested the sublethal effects on honey bees of the miticides Apistan (tau fluvalinate) and Check Mite+ (coumaphos) and the wood preservative copper naphthenate applied at label rates in field conditions. A continuous covariate, a colony Varroa mite index, helped us disambiguate the effects of the chemicals on bees while adjusting for a presumed benefit of controlling mites. Mite levels in colonies treated with Apistan or Check Mite+ were not different from levels in non-treated controls. Experimental chemicals significantly decreased 3-day brood survivorship and increased construction of queen supercedure cells compared to non-treated controls. Bees exposed to Check Mite+ as immatures had higher legacy mortality as adults relative to non-treated controls, whereas bees exposed to Apistan had improved legacy mortality relative to non-treated controls. Relative to non-treated controls, Check Mite+ increased adult emergence weight. Although there was a treatment effect on a test of associative learning, it was not possible to statistically separate the treatment means, but bees treated with Apistan performed comparatively well. And finally, there were no detected effects of bee hive chemical on colony bee population, amount of brood, amount of honey, foraging rate, time required for marked released bees to return to their nest, percentage of released bees that return to the nest, and colony Nosema spore loads. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine sublethal effects of bee hive chemicals applied at label rates under field conditions while disambiguating the results from mite control benefits realized from the chemicals. Given the poor performance of the miticides at reducing mites and their inconsistent effects on the host, these results defend the use of bee health management practices that minimize use of exotic hive chemicals. PMID:24204638

  7. Decline and conservation of bumble bees.

    PubMed

    Goulson, D; Lye, G C; Darvill, B

    2008-01-01

    Declines in bumble bee species in the past 60 years are well documented in Europe, where they are driven primarily by habitat loss and declines in floral abundance and diversity resulting from agricultural intensification. Impacts of habitat degradation and fragmentation are likely to be compounded by the social nature of bumble bees and their largely monogamous breeding system, which renders their effective population size low. Hence, populations are susceptible to stochastic extinction events and inbreeding. In North America, catastrophic declines of some bumble bee species since the 1990s are probably attributable to the accidental introduction of a nonnative parasite from Europe, a result of global trade in domesticated bumble bee colonies used for pollination of greenhouse crops. Given the importance of bumble bees as pollinators of crops and wildflowers, steps must be taken to prevent further declines. Suggested measures include tight regulation of commercial bumble bee use and targeted use of environmentally comparable schemes to enhance floristic diversity in agricultural landscapes. PMID:17803456

  8. Bumble bee fauna of Palouse Prairie: survey of native bee pollinators in a fragmented ecosystem

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees are dominant pollinators in the northern hemisphere, providing important pollination services for commercial crops and innumerable wild plants. Nationwide declines in several bumble bee species and habitat loss in multiple ecosystems have raised concern about conservation of this import...

  9. Imidacloprid alters foraging and decreases bee avoidance of predators.

    PubMed

    Tan, Ken; Chen, Weiwen; Dong, Shihao; Liu, Xiwen; Wang, Yuchong; Nieh, James C

    2014-01-01

    Concern is growing over the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides, which can impair honey bee cognition. We provide the first demonstration that sublethal concentrations of imidacloprid can harm honey bee decision-making about danger by significantly increasing the probability of a bee visiting a dangerous food source. Apis cerana is a native bee that is an important pollinator of agricultural crops and native plants in Asia. When foraging on nectar containing 40 µg/L (34 ppb) imidacloprid, honey bees (Apis cerana) showed no aversion to a feeder with a hornet predator, and 1.8 fold more bees chose the dangerous feeder as compared to control bees. Control bees exhibited significant predator avoidance. We also give the first evidence that foraging by A. cerana workers can be inhibited by sublethal concentrations of the pesticide, imidacloprid, which is widely used in Asia. Compared to bees collecting uncontaminated nectar, 23% fewer foragers returned to collect the nectar with 40 µg/L imidacloprid. Bees that did return respectively collected 46% and 63% less nectar containing 20 µg/L and 40 µg/L imidacloprid. These results suggest that the effects of neonicotinoids on honey bee decision-making and other advanced cognitive functions should be explored. Moreover, research should extend beyond the classic model, the European honey bee (A. mellifera), to other important bee species.

  10. Imidacloprid Alters Foraging and Decreases Bee Avoidance of Predators

    PubMed Central

    Tan, Ken; Chen, Weiwen; Dong, Shihao; Liu, Xiwen; Wang, Yuchong; Nieh, James C.

    2014-01-01

    Concern is growing over the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides, which can impair honey bee cognition. We provide the first demonstration that sublethal concentrations of imidacloprid can harm honey bee decision-making about danger by significantly increasing the probability of a bee visiting a dangerous food source. Apis cerana is a native bee that is an important pollinator of agricultural crops and native plants in Asia. When foraging on nectar containing 40 µg/L (34 ppb) imidacloprid, honey bees (Apis cerana) showed no aversion to a feeder with a hornet predator, and 1.8 fold more bees chose the dangerous feeder as compared to control bees. Control bees exhibited significant predator avoidance. We also give the first evidence that foraging by A. cerana workers can be inhibited by sublethal concentrations of the pesticide, imidacloprid, which is widely used in Asia. Compared to bees collecting uncontaminated nectar, 23% fewer foragers returned to collect the nectar with 40 µg/L imidacloprid. Bees that did return respectively collected 46% and 63% less nectar containing 20 µg/L and 40 µg/L imidacloprid. These results suggest that the effects of neonicotinoids on honey bee decision-making and other advanced cognitive functions should be explored. Moreover, research should extend beyond the classic model, the European honey bee (A. mellifera), to other important bee species. PMID:25025334

  11. The fungal symbiont of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants expresses the full spectrum of genes to degrade cellulose and other plant cell wall polysaccharides

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The fungus gardens of leaf-cutting ants are natural biomass conversion systems that turn fresh plant forage into fungal biomass to feed the farming ants. However, the decomposition potential of the symbiont Leucocoprinus gongylophorus for processing polysaccharides has remained controversial. We therefore used quantifiable DeepSAGE technology to obtain mRNA expression patterns of genes coding for secreted enzymes from top, middle, and bottom sections of a laboratory fungus-garden of Acromyrmex echinatior leaf-cutting ants. Results A broad spectrum of biomass-conversion-relevant enzyme genes was found to be expressed in situ: cellulases (GH3, GH5, GH6, GH7, AA9 [formerly GH61]), hemicellulases (GH5, GH10, CE1, GH12, GH74), pectinolytic enzymes (CE8, GH28, GH43, PL1, PL3, PL4), glucoamylase (GH15), α-galactosidase (GH27), and various cutinases, esterases, and lipases. In general, expression of these genes reached maximal values in the bottom section of the garden, particularly for an AA9 lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase and for a GH5 (endocellulase), a GH7 (reducing end-acting cellobiohydrolase), and a GH10 (xylanase), all containing a carbohydrate binding module that specifically binds cellulose (CBM1). Although we did not directly quantify enzyme abundance, the profile of expressed cellulase genes indicates that both hydrolytic and oxidative degradation is taking place. Conclusions The fungal symbiont of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants can degrade a large range of plant polymers, but the conversion of cellulose, hemicellulose, and part of the pectin occurs primarily towards the end of the decomposition process, i.e. in the bottom section of the fungus garden. These conversions are likely to provide nutrients for the fungus itself rather than for the ants, whose colony growth and reproductive success are limited by proteins obtained from ingesting fungal gongylidia. These specialized hyphal tips are hardly produced in the bottom section of fungus gardens

  12. Transcriptome Analysis of Resistant and Susceptible Alfalfa Cultivars Infected With Root-Knot Nematode Meloidogyne incognita

    PubMed Central

    Postnikova, Olga A.; Hult, Maria; Shao, Jonathan; Skantar, Andrea; Nemchinov, Lev G.

    2015-01-01

    Nematodes are one of the major limiting factors in alfalfa production. Root-knot nematodes (RKN, Meloidogyne spp.) are widely distributed and economically important sedentary endoparasites of agricultural crops and they may inflict significant damage to alfalfa fields. As of today, no studies have been published on global gene expression profiling in alfalfa infected with RKN or any other plant parasitic nematode. Very little information is available about molecular mechanisms that contribute to pathogenesis and defense responses in alfalfa against these pests and specifically against RKN. In this work, we performed root transcriptome analysis of resistant (cv. Moapa 69) and susceptible (cv. Lahontan) alfalfa cultivars infected with RKN Meloidogyne incognita, widespread root-knot nematode species and a major pest worldwide. A total of 1,701,622,580 pair-end reads were generated on an Illumina Hi-Seq 2000 platform from the roots of both cultivars and assembled into 45,595 and 47,590 transcripts in cvs Moapa 69 and Lahontan, respectively. Bioinformatic analysis revealed a number of common and unique genes that were differentially expressed in susceptible and resistant lines as a result of nematode infection. Although the susceptible cultivar showed a more pronounced defense response to the infection, feeding sites were successfully established in its roots. Characteristically, basal gene expression levels under normal conditions differed between the two cultivars as well, which may confer advantage to one of the genotypes toward resistance to nematodes. Differentially expressed genes were subsequently assigned to known Gene Ontology categories to predict their functional roles and associated biological processes. Real-time PCR validated expression changes in genes arbitrarily selected for experimental confirmation. Candidate genes that contribute to protection against M. incognita in alfalfa were proposed and alfalfa-nematode interactions with respect to resistance

  13. Alfalfa rapidly remediates excess inorganic nitrogen at a fertilizer spill site.

    PubMed

    Russelle, M P; Lamb, J F; Montgomery, B R; Elsenheimer, D W; Miller, B S; Vance, C P

    2001-01-01

    By 19%, standard remediation techniques had significantly reduced the concentration of nitrate nitrogen (NO3- -N) in local ground water at the site of a 1989 anhydrous ammonia spill, but NO3- -N concentrations in portions of the site still exceeded the public drinking water standard. Our objective was to determine whether local soil and ground water quality could be improved with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). A 3-yr study was conducted in replicated plots (24 by 30 m) located hydrologically upgradient of the ground water under the spill site. Three alfalfa entries ['Agate', Ineffective Agate (a non-N2-fixing elite germplasm similar to Agate), and MWNC-4 (an experimental germplasm)] were seeded in the spring of 1996. Corn (Zea mays L.) or wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was seeded adjacent to the alfalfa each year. Crops were irrigated with N-containing ground water to meet water demand. During the 3-yr period, about 540 kg of inorganic N was removed from the aquifer through irrigation of 4.9 million L water. Cumulative N removal from the site over 3 yr was 972 kg N ha(-1) in Ineffective Agate alfalfa hay, compared with 287 kg N ha(-1) for the annual cereal grain. Soil solution NO3- concentrations were reduced to low and stable levels by alfalfa, but were more variable under the annual crops. Ground water quality improved, as evidenced by irrigation water N concentration. We do not know how much N was removed by the N2-fixing alfalfas, but it appears that either fixing or non-N2-fixing alfalfa will effectively remove inorganic N from N-affected sites.

  14. Context affects nestmate recognition errors in honey bees and stingless bees.

    PubMed

    Couvillon, Margaret J; Segers, Francisca H I D; Cooper-Bowman, Roseanne; Truslove, Gemma; Nascimento, Daniela L; Nascimento, Fabio S; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2013-08-15

    Nestmate recognition studies, where a discriminator first recognises and then behaviourally discriminates (accepts/rejects) another individual, have used a variety of methodologies and contexts. This is potentially problematic because recognition errors in discrimination behaviour are predicted to be context-dependent. Here we compare the recognition decisions (accept/reject) of discriminators in two eusocial bees, Apis mellifera and Tetragonisca angustula, under different contexts. These contexts include natural guards at the hive entrance (control); natural guards held in plastic test arenas away from the hive entrance that vary either in the presence or absence of colony odour or the presence or absence of an additional nestmate discriminator; and, for the honey bee, the inside of the nest. For both honey bee and stingless bee guards, total recognition errors of behavioural discrimination made by guards (% nestmates rejected + % non-nestmates accepted) are much lower at the colony entrance (honey bee: 30.9%; stingless bee: 33.3%) than in the test arenas (honey bee: 60-86%; stingless bee: 61-81%; P<0.001 for both). Within the test arenas, the presence of colony odour specifically reduced the total recognition errors in honey bees, although this reduction still fell short of bringing error levels down to what was found at the colony entrance. Lastly, in honey bees, the data show that the in-nest collective behavioural discrimination by ca. 30 workers that contact an intruder is insufficient to achieve error-free recognition and is not as effective as the discrimination by guards at the entrance. Overall, these data demonstrate that context is a significant factor in a discriminators' ability to make appropriate recognition decisions, and should be considered when designing recognition study methodologies.

  15. Colonies of Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens) Produce Fewer Workers, Less Bee Biomass, and Have Smaller Mother Queens Following Fungicide Exposure.

    PubMed

    Bernauer, Olivia M; Gaines-Day, Hannah R; Steffan, Shawn A

    2015-06-01

    Bees provide vital pollination services to the majority of flowering plants in both natural and agricultural systems. Unfortunately, both native and managed bee populations are experiencing declines, threatening the persistence of these plants and crops. Agricultural chemicals are one possible culprit contributing to bee declines. Even fungicides, generally considered safe for bees, have been shown to disrupt honey bee development and impair bumble bee behavior. Little is known, however, how fungicides may affect bumble bee colony growth. We conducted a controlled cage study to determine the effects of fungicide exposure on colonies of a native bumble bee species (Bombus impatiens). Colonies of B. impatiens were exposed to flowers treated with field-relevant levels of the fungicide chlorothalonil over the course of one month. Colony success was assessed by the number and biomass of larvae, pupae, and adult bumble bees. Bumble bee colonies exposed to fungicide produced fewer workers, lower total bee biomass, and had lighter mother queens than control colonies. Our results suggest that fungicides negatively affect the colony success of a native bumble bee species and that the use of fungicides during bloom has the potential to severely impact the success of native bumble bee populations foraging in agroecosystems.

  16. Colonies of Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens) Produce Fewer Workers, Less Bee Biomass, and Have Smaller Mother Queens Following Fungicide Exposure.

    PubMed

    Bernauer, Olivia M; Gaines-Day, Hannah R; Steffan, Shawn A

    2015-01-01

    Bees provide vital pollination services to the majority of flowering plants in both natural and agricultural systems. Unfortunately, both native and managed bee populations are experiencing declines, threatening the persistence of these plants and crops. Agricultural chemicals are one possible culprit contributing to bee declines. Even fungicides, generally considered safe for bees, have been shown to disrupt honey bee development and impair bumble bee behavior. Little is known, however, how fungicides may affect bumble bee colony growth. We conducted a controlled cage study to determine the effects of fungicide exposure on colonies of a native bumble bee species (Bombus impatiens). Colonies of B. impatiens were exposed to flowers treated with field-relevant levels of the fungicide chlorothalonil over the course of one month. Colony success was assessed by the number and biomass of larvae, pupae, and adult bumble bees. Bumble bee colonies exposed to fungicide produced fewer workers, lower total bee biomass, and had lighter mother queens than control colonies. Our results suggest that fungicides negatively affect the colony success of a native bumble bee species and that the use of fungicides during bloom has the potential to severely impact the success of native bumble bee populations foraging in agroecosystems. PMID:26463198

  17. Colonies of Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens) Produce Fewer Workers, Less Bee Biomass, and Have Smaller Mother Queens Following Fungicide Exposure

    PubMed Central

    Bernauer, Olivia M.; Gaines-Day, Hannah R.; Steffan, Shawn A.

    2015-01-01

    Bees provide vital pollination services to the majority of flowering plants in both natural and agricultural systems. Unfortunately, both native and managed bee populations are experiencing declines, threatening the persistence of these plants and crops. Agricultural chemicals are one possible culprit contributing to bee declines. Even fungicides, generally considered safe for bees, have been shown to disrupt honey bee development and impair bumble bee behavior. Little is known, however, how fungicides may affect bumble bee colony growth. We conducted a controlled cage study to determine the effects of fungicide exposure on colonies of a native bumble bee species (Bombus impatiens). Colonies of B. impatiens were exposed to flowers treated with field-relevant levels of the fungicide chlorothalonil over the course of one month. Colony success was assessed by the number and biomass of larvae, pupae, and adult bumble bees. Bumble bee colonies exposed to fungicide produced fewer workers, lower total bee biomass, and had lighter mother queens than control colonies. Our results suggest that fungicides negatively affect the colony success of a native bumble bee species and that the use of fungicides during bloom has the potential to severely impact the success of native bumble bee populations foraging in agroecosystems. PMID:26463198

  18. Relationship of red and photographic infrared spectral radiances to alfalfa biomass, forage water content, percentage canopy cover, and severity of drought stress

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tucker, C. J.; Elgin, J. H., Jr.; Mcmurtrey, J. E., III

    1979-01-01

    Red and photographic infrared spectral data were collected using a handheld radiometer for two cuttings of alfalfa. Significant linear and non-linear correlation coefficients were found between the spectral variables and plant height, biomass, forage water content, and estimated canopy cover for the earlier alfalfa cutting. The alfalfa of later cutting experienced a period of severe drought stress which limited growth. The spectral variables were found to be highly correlated with the estimated drought scores for this alfalfa cutting.

  19. The formulation makes the honey bee poison.

    PubMed

    Mullin, Christopher A; Chen, Jing; Fine, Julia D; Frazier, Maryann T; Frazier, James L

    2015-05-01

    Dr. Fumio Matsumura's legacy embraced a passion for exploring environmental impacts of agrochemicals on non-target species such as bees. Why most formulations are more toxic to bees than respective active ingredients and how pesticides interact to cause pollinator decline cannot be answered without understanding the prevailing environmental chemical background to which bees are exposed. Modern pesticide formulations and seed treatments, particularly when multiple active ingredients are blended, require proprietary adjuvants and inert ingredients to achieve high efficacy for targeted pests. Although we have found over 130 different pesticides and metabolites in beehive samples, no individual pesticide or amount correlates with recent bee declines. Recently we have shown that honey bees are sensitive to organosilicone surfactants, nonylphenol polyethoxylates and the solvent N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), widespread co-formulants used in agrochemicals and frequent pollutants within the beehive. Effects include learning impairment for adult bees and chronic toxicity in larval feeding bioassays. Multi-billion pounds of formulation ingredients like NMP are used and released into US environments. These synthetic organic chemicals are generally recognized as safe, have no mandated tolerances, and residues remain largely unmonitored. In contrast to finding about 70% of the pesticide active ingredients searched for in our pesticide analysis of beehive samples, we have found 100% of the other formulation ingredients targeted for analysis. These 'inerts' overwhelm the chemical burden from active pesticide, drug and personal care ingredients with which they are formulated. Honey bees serve as an optimal terrestrial bioindicator to determine if 'the formulation and not just the dose makes the poison'. PMID:25987217

  20. The formulation makes the honey bee poison.

    PubMed

    Mullin, Christopher A; Chen, Jing; Fine, Julia D; Frazier, Maryann T; Frazier, James L

    2015-05-01

    Dr. Fumio Matsumura's legacy embraced a passion for exploring environmental impacts of agrochemicals on non-target species such as bees. Why most formulations are more toxic to bees than respective active ingredients and how pesticides interact to cause pollinator decline cannot be answered without understanding the prevailing environmental chemical background to which bees are exposed. Modern pesticide formulations and seed treatments, particularly when multiple active ingredients are blended, require proprietary adjuvants and inert ingredients to achieve high efficacy for targeted pests. Although we have found over 130 different pesticides and metabolites in beehive samples, no individual pesticide or amount correlates with recent bee declines. Recently we have shown that honey bees are sensitive to organosilicone surfactants, nonylphenol polyethoxylates and the solvent N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), widespread co-formulants used in agrochemicals and frequent pollutants within the beehive. Effects include learning impairment for adult bees and chronic toxicity in larval feeding bioassays. Multi-billion pounds of formulation ingredients like NMP are used and released into US environments. These synthetic organic chemicals are generally recognized as safe, have no mandated tolerances, and residues remain largely unmonitored. In contrast to finding about 70% of the pesticide active ingredients searched for in our pesticide analysis of beehive samples, we have found 100% of the other formulation ingredients targeted for analysis. These 'inerts' overwhelm the chemical burden from active pesticide, drug and personal care ingredients with which they are formulated. Honey bees serve as an optimal terrestrial bioindicator to determine if 'the formulation and not just the dose makes the poison'.

  1. Pollution monitoring of Puget Sound with honey bees

    SciTech Connect

    Bromenshenk, J.J.; Carlson, S.R.; Simpson, J.C.; Thomas, J.M.

    1985-02-08

    To show that honey bees are effective biological monitors of environmental contaminants over large geographic areas, beekeepers of Puget Sound, Washington, collected pollen and bees for chemical analysis. From these data, kriging maps of arsenic, cadmium, and fluoride were generated. Results, based on actual concentrations of contaminants in bee tissues, show that the greatest concentrations of contaminants occur close to Commencement Bay and that honey bees are effective as large-scale monitors. 27 references, 2 figures.

  2. A pest is a pest is a pest? The dilemma of neotropical leaf-cutting ants: Keystone taxa of natural ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fowler, Harold G.; Pagani, Maria Inez; da Silva, Osvaldo Aulino; Forti, Luis Carlos; da Silva, Virgilio Pereira; de Vasconcelos, Heraldo Luis

    1989-11-01

    Leaf-cutting ants of the genera Acromyrmex and Atta are considered the principal polyphagous pests of the Neotropics Although some members of these genera are of economic importance, have a broad geographic distribution, and are extremely good colonizers, others are endemic and closely interact with native ecosystems. Control is generally practiced against any colony, irrespective of its taxonomic status. Indiscriminate control coupled with habitat destruction threatens endemic species with extinction, and, through habitat simplification, favors other pest species. As nests of Atta are large, having several square meters of nest surface, the endemic taxa can be easily used as environmental indicators for natural ecosystems Likewise, the pest species can be used to detect environmental disturbance As these ants are keystone species and easily identified by nonspecialists, efforts should be made to integrate these into viable conservation programs

  3. Characterization of peptides in ensiled alfalfa treated with different chemical additives.

    PubMed

    Ding, Wurong; Guo, Xusheng; Ataku, Kazuo

    2013-12-01

    Effects of different chemical additives on peptide composition in ensiled alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) were investigated by using gel filtration and determination of N characteristics. The alfalfa silages were prepared untreated (control) or with formic acid, formaldehyde or tannic acid as additives at ensiling. All additives reduced non-protein N (NPN), ammonia nitrogen (NH3 -N) and amino acid N (AA-N) in the ensiled forage, and the most effective reduction of NPN and AA-N was observed in the formaldehyde-treated silages. Peptides in the control silage were mainly dipeptides to peptides with five amino acid residues. Most peptides in the formic acid-treated silage contained 4-12 amino acid residues. Although most peptides in the formaldehyde-treated silages contained 4-6 amino acid residues, there was a considerable proportion of peptides with 7-11 amino acid residues. Tannic acid had little effect on peptide size of ensiled alfalfa extract in which most peptides contained 5-6 amino acid residues. Peptide size in formic acid-treated alfalfa silage was greater than that in the other treatments. Addition of formic acid and formaldehyde not only increased the peptide concentration in alfalfa silage, but enlarged the peptide size.

  4. The Role of Proanthocyanidins Complex in Structure and Nutrition Interaction in Alfalfa Forage.

    PubMed

    Jonker, Arjan; Yu, Peiqiang

    2016-01-01

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is one of the main forages grown in the world. Alfalfa is a winter hardy, drought tolerant, N-fixing legume with a good longevity, high yield, high nutrient levels, high digestibility, unique structural to non-structural components ratio, high dry matter intake, and high animal productivity per hectare. However, its main limitation is its excessively rapid initial rate of protein degradation in the rumen, which results in pasture bloat and inefficient use of protein with consequent excessive excretions of nitrogen into the environment. Proanthocyanidins are secondary plant metabolites that can bind with protein and thereby reduce the rate and extent of ruminal protein degradation. However, these secondary metabolites do not accumulate in alfalfa. This review aims to firstly describe the events involved in the rapid release of protein from alfalfa and its effect on ruminant nutrition, environmental pollution, and pasture bloat; secondly, to describe occurrence, structure, functions and benefits of moderate amounts of proanthocyanidin; and finally, to describe the development of alfalfa which accumulates moderate amounts of proanthocyanidins. The emphasis of this review focuses on the role of proanthocyanidins compounds in structure and nutrition interaction in ruminant livestock systems. PMID:27223279

  5. Analysis of antioxidant enzyme activity during germination of alfalfa under salt and drought stresses.

    PubMed

    Wang, Wen-Bin; Kim, Yun-Hee; Lee, Haeng-Soon; Kim, Ki-Yong; Deng, Xi-Ping; Kwak, Sang-Soo

    2009-07-01

    To understand the adaptability of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) to environmental stresses, we analyzed the activity of several antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and catalase (CAT), in alfalfa shoots and roots subjected to salt and drought stresses during germination. The germination rate of six alfalfa cultivars was comparatively studied under 200 mM NaCl or 35% PEG treatment. Alfalfa Xinmu No. 1 and Northstar varieties were selected as stress-tolerant and -sensitive cultivars, respectively, and were used for further characterization. After NaCl or PEG treatment, Xinmu No. 1 showed enhanced seedling growth, compared with Northstar. Xinmu No. 1 also exhibited low levels of hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) production and lipid peroxidation, compared with Northstar. In addition, Xinmu No. 1 showed higher enzymatic activity of SOD, APX, CAT, and POD in its shoots and roots than Northstar. These results seem to indicate that Xinmu No. 1 cultivar's tolerance to salt or drought stresses during germination is associated with enhanced activity of antioxidant enzymes. This study highlights the importance of antioxidant enzymes in the establishment of alfalfa seedlings under drought and salinity conditions typical of desertification.

  6. The Role of Proanthocyanidins Complex in Structure and Nutrition Interaction in Alfalfa Forage

    PubMed Central

    Jonker, Arjan; Yu, Peiqiang

    2016-01-01

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is one of the main forages grown in the world. Alfalfa is a winter hardy, drought tolerant, N-fixing legume with a good longevity, high yield, high nutrient levels, high digestibility, unique structural to non-structural components ratio, high dry matter intake, and high animal productivity per hectare. However, its main limitation is its excessively rapid initial rate of protein degradation in the rumen, which results in pasture bloat and inefficient use of protein with consequent excessive excretions of nitrogen into the environment. Proanthocyanidins are secondary plant metabolites that can bind with protein and thereby reduce the rate and extent of ruminal protein degradation. However, these secondary metabolites do not accumulate in alfalfa. This review aims to firstly describe the events involved in the rapid release of protein from alfalfa and its effect on ruminant nutrition, environmental pollution, and pasture bloat; secondly, to describe occurrence, structure, functions and benefits of moderate amounts of proanthocyanidin; and finally, to describe the development of alfalfa which accumulates moderate amounts of proanthocyanidins. The emphasis of this review focuses on the role of proanthocyanidins compounds in structure and nutrition interaction in ruminant livestock systems. PMID:27223279

  7. Accumulation and residue of napropamide in alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and soil involved in toxic response.

    PubMed

    Cui, Li E; Yang, Hong

    2011-06-15

    Napropamide belongs to the amide herbicide family and widely used to control weeds in farmland. Intensive use of the herbicide has resulted in widespread contamination to ecosystems. The present study demonstrated an analysis on accumulation of the toxic pesticide napropamide in six genotypes of alfalfa (Medicago sativa), along with biological parameters and its residues in soils. Soil was treated with napropamide at 3 mg kg(-1) dry soil and alfalfa plants were cultured for 10 or 30 d, respectively. The maximum value for napropamide accumulation is 0.426 mg kg(-1) in shoots and 2.444 mg kg(-1) in roots. The napropamide-contaminated soil with alfalfa cultivation had much lower napropamide concentrations than the control (soil without alfalfa cultivation). Also, the content of napropamide residue in the rhizosphere was significantly lower than that in the non-rhizosphere soil. M. sativa exposed to 3 mg kg(-1) napropamide showed inhibited growth. Further analysis revealed that plants treated with napropamide accumulated more reactive oxygen species (O(2)(-) and H(2)O(2)) and less amounts of chlorophyll. However, not all cultivars showed oxidative injury, suggesting that the alfalfa cultivars display different tolerance to napropamide. PMID:21439724

  8. Transgenic alfalfa plants expressing the sweetpotato Orange gene exhibit enhanced abiotic stress tolerance.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhi; Ke, Qingbo; Kim, Myoung Duck; Kim, Sun Ha; Ji, Chang Yoon; Jeong, Jae Cheol; Lee, Haeng-Soon; Park, Woo Sung; Ahn, Mi-Jeong; Li, Hongbing; Xu, Bingcheng; Deng, Xiping; Lee, Sang-Hoon; Lim, Yong Pyo; Kwak, Sang-Soo

    2015-01-01

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), a perennial forage crop with high nutritional content, is widely distributed in various environments worldwide. We recently demonstrated that the sweetpotato Orange gene (IbOr) is involved in increasing carotenoid accumulation and enhancing resistance to multiple abiotic stresses. In this study, in an effort to improve the nutritional quality and environmental stress tolerance of alfalfa, we transferred the IbOr gene into alfalfa (cv. Xinjiang Daye) under the control of an oxidative stress-inducible peroxidase (SWPA2) promoter through Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Among the 11 transgenic alfalfa lines (referred to as SOR plants), three lines (SOR2, SOR3, and SOR8) selected based on their IbOr transcript levels were examined for their tolerance to methyl viologen (MV)-induced oxidative stress in a leaf disc assay. The SOR plants exhibited less damage in response to MV-mediated oxidative stress and salt stress than non-transgenic plants. The SOR plants also exhibited enhanced tolerance to drought stress, along with higher total carotenoid levels. The results suggest that SOR alfalfa plants would be useful as forage crops with improved nutritional value and increased tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses, which would enhance the development of sustainable agriculture on marginal lands.

  9. Simple and rapid CE-UV method for the assessment of trail pheromone compounds of leaf-cutting ants' venom glands.

    PubMed

    Leitão, Amanda Araujo; Miranda, Paulo Cesar Muniz de Lacerda; Simionato, Ana Valéria Colnaghi

    2011-04-01

    Leaf-cutting ants cause large losses in several crops around the world. In the ant species Atta sexdens, each colony comprises up to 5 million individuals. In order to keep a close connection among such a large number of individuals, an efficient chemical communication system is necessary. Among other different substances, these animals use alkylpyrazines to mark their trails and to guide ant workers from the nest to their sources of food. In this study, CE-UV was used to apply a method for qualitative analysis of venom gland components of leaf-cutting ants. Mobility of these compounds proved to be a function of the ionization capability of these bases as well as their volumes. Migration order was thoroughly explained in terms of such parameters. The best analysis conditions were achieved with a BGE composed by 0.8% formic acid plus 20% methanol in water, hydrodynamic injection, and application of external pressure. Such analysis conditions may be easily applied in CE-MS analyses as well. CE-UV analyses proved to be as adequate as GC to analyze such compounds due to system detectability (LD ≅ 0.005 mmol/L), separation efficiency (from 5.07×10(4) to 1.23×10(5) theoretical plates), and resolution (minimum of 2.35). In addition, analysis time was ca. 15  min, which shows another advantage of CE analysis when compared with GC. Although the analytes are found in concentrations as low as 50  ng/venom glands, four putative pyrazine ring moiety substances could be detected in real samples, due to sample stacking and use of a capillary with extended detection cell. PMID:21462224

  10. 29 CFR 780.123 - Raising of bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Raising of bees. 780.123 Section 780.123 Labor Regulations... Raising of Livestock, Bees, Fur-Bearing Animals, Or Poultry § 780.123 Raising of bees. The term “raising of * * * bees” refers to all of those activities customarily performed in connection with...

  11. 29 CFR 780.123 - Raising of bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Raising of bees. 780.123 Section 780.123 Labor Regulations... Raising of Livestock, Bees, Fur-Bearing Animals, Or Poultry § 780.123 Raising of bees. The term “raising of * * * bees” refers to all of those activities customarily performed in connection with...

  12. 29 CFR 780.123 - Raising of bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Raising of bees. 780.123 Section 780.123 Labor Regulations... Raising of Livestock, Bees, Fur-Bearing Animals, Or Poultry § 780.123 Raising of bees. The term “raising of * * * bees” refers to all of those activities customarily performed in connection with...

  13. Assessing Patterns of Admixture and Ancestry in Canadian Honey Bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Canada has a large beekeeping industry comprised of 8483 beekeepers managing 672094 23 colonies. Canadian honey bees, like all honey bees in the New World, originate from centuries of importation of predominately European honey bees, but their precise ancestry remains unknown. There have been no i...

  14. The honey bee parasite Nosema ceranae: transmissible via food exchange?

    PubMed

    Smith, Michael L

    2012-01-01

    Nosema ceranae, a newly introduced parasite of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, is contributing to worldwide colony losses. Other Nosema species, such as N. apis, tend to be associated with increased defecation and spread via a fecal-oral pathway, but because N. ceranae does not induce defecation, it may instead be spread via an oral-oral pathway. Cages that separated older infected bees from young uninfected bees were used to test whether N. ceranae can be spread during food exchange. When cages were separated by one screen, food could be passed between the older bees and the young bees, but when separated by two screens, food could not be passed between the two cages. Young uninfected bees were also kept isolated in cages, as a solitary control. After 4 days of exposure to the older bees, and 10 days to incubate infections, young bees were more likely to be infected in the 1-Screen Test treatment vs. the 2-Screen Test treatment (P=0.0097). Young bees fed by older bees showed a 13-fold increase in mean infection level relative to young bees not fed by older bees (1-Screen Test 40.8%; 2-Screen Test 3.4%; Solo Control 2.8%). Although fecal-oral transmission is still possible in this experimental design, oral-oral infectivity could help explain the rapid spread of N. ceranae worldwide.

  15. Creating and Evaluating Artificial Domiciles for Bumble Bees

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Golick, Douglas A.; Ellis, Marion D.; Beecham, Brady

    2006-01-01

    Bumble bees are valuable pollinators of native and cultivated flora. Despite our knowledge of bumble bee nest site selection, most efforts to attract bumble bees to artificial domiciles have been met with limited success. Creating and evaluating artificial domiciles provides students an opportunity to investigate a real problem. In this lesson,…

  16. 29 CFR 780.123 - Raising of bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Raising of bees. 780.123 Section 780.123 Labor Regulations... Raising of Livestock, Bees, Fur-Bearing Animals, Or Poultry § 780.123 Raising of bees. The term “raising of * * * bees” refers to all of those activities customarily performed in connection with...

  17. The Thinker versus a Quilting Bee: Contrasting Images.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thayer-Bacon, Barbara J.

    1999-01-01

    Offers the image of the quilting bee as a contrasting representation of critical thinking (or constructive thinking), comparing the two images, discussing a quilting bee representation of knowledge construction in terms of the tools used by quilters (knowers), and summarizing the transformation of critical thinking theory that a quilting bee image…

  18. 29 CFR 780.123 - Raising of bees.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Raising of bees. 780.123 Section 780.123 Labor Regulations... Raising of Livestock, Bees, Fur-Bearing Animals, Or Poultry § 780.123 Raising of bees. The term “raising of * * * bees” refers to all of those activities customarily performed in connection with...

  19. Multiyear survey targeting disease incidence in US honey bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The US National Honey Bee Disease Survey sampled colony pests and diseases from 2009 to 2014. We verified the absence of Tropilaelaps spp., the Asian honey bee (Apis cerana), and slow bee paralysis virus. Endemic health threats were quantified, including Varroa destructor, Nosema spp., and eight hon...

  20. Effect of synthetic auxin herbicides on seed development and viability in genetically-engineered glyphosate-resistant alfalfa

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Feral populations of cultivated crops have the potential to function as bridges and reservoirs that contribute to the unwanted movement of novel genetically engineered (GE) traits. Recognizing that feral alfalfa has the potential to lower genetic purity in alfalfa seed production fields when it is g...

  1. In vitro ruminal fermentation of treated alfalfa silage using ruminal inocula from high and low feed-efficient lactating cows

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The objective was to assess the effect of two additives on alfalfa silage and on in vitro ruminal fermentation when using ruminal inocula prepared from high feed-efficient (HE) and low feed-efficient (LE) lactating cows. Second and third cut alfalfa was harvested at 40% bloom stage, treated with con...

  2. Alfalfa varieties differ markedly in seedling survival when interseeded into corn and treated with prohexadione-calcium

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Interseeded alfalfa could serve as a dual purpose crop for providing groundcover during silage corn production and forage during subsequent years of production, but this system has been unworkable because competition between the co-planted crops often leads to stand failure of interseeded alfalfa. R...

  3. Effects of dairy slurry application and bale moisture concentration on voluntary intake and digestibility of alfalfa silage by sheep

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Dairy slurry is used commonly as a fertilizer in agriculture. However, residual effects of slurry application on intake and digestibility of alfalfa silage from subsequent harvests are not well known. The objective of this study was to determine if moisture concentration of alfalfa silage and timing...

  4. Transgene silencing of sucrose synthase in alfalfa stem vascular tissue by a truncated phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase: sucrose synthase construct

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An important role of sucrose synthase (SUS, EC 2.4.1.13) in plants is to provide UDP-glucose needed for cellulose synthesis in cell walls. We examined if over-expressing SUS in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) would increase cellulose content of stem cell walls. Alfalfa plants were transformed with two ...

  5. Does bee pollen cause to eosinophilic gastroenteropathy?

    PubMed

    Güç, Belgin Usta; Asilsoy, Suna; Canan, Oğuz; Kayaselçuk, Fazilet

    2015-09-01

    Bee pollen is given to children by mothers in order to strengthen their immune systems. There are no studies related with the side effects of bee polen in the literature. In this article, the literature was reviewed by presenting a case of allergic eosinophilic gastropathy related with bee polen. A 5-year old child was admitted due to abdominal pain. Edema was detected on the eyelids and pretibial region. In laboratory investigations, pathology was not detected in terms of hepatic and renal causes that would explain the protein loss of the patient diagnosed with hypoproteinemia and hypoalbuminemia. Urticaria was detected during the follow-up visit. When the history of the patient was deepened, it was learned that bee pollen was given to the patient every day. The total eosinophil count was found to be 1 800/mm(3). Allergic gastroenteropathy was considered because of hypereosinophilia and severe abdominal pain and endoscopy was performed. Biopsy revealed abundant eosinophils in the whole gastric mucosa. A diagnosis of allergic eosinophilic gastropathy was made. Bee polen was discontinued. Abdominal pain and edema disappeared in five days. Four weeks later, the levels of serum albumin and total eosinophil returned to normal. PMID:26568697

  6. Social apoptosis in honey bee superorganisms.

    PubMed

    Page, Paul; Lin, Zheguang; Buawangpong, Ninat; Zheng, Huoqing; Hu, Fuliang; Neumann, Peter; Chantawannakul, Panuwan; Dietemann, Vincent

    2016-01-01

    Eusocial insect colonies form superorganisms, in which nestmates cooperate and use social immunity to combat parasites. However, social immunity may fail in case of emerging diseases. This is the case for the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, which switched hosts from the Eastern honeybee, Apis cerana, to the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, and currently is the greatest threat to A. mellifera apiculture globally. Here, we show that immature workers of the mite's original host, A. cerana, are more susceptible to V. destructor infestations than those of its new host, thereby enabling more efficient social immunity and contributing to colony survival. This counterintuitive result shows that susceptible individuals can foster superorganism survival, offering empirical support to theoretical arguments about the adaptive value of worker suicide in social insects. Altruistic suicide of immature bees constitutes a social analogue of apoptosis, as it prevents the spread of infections by sacrificing parts of the whole organism, and unveils a novel form of transgenerational social immunity in honey bees. Taking into account the key role of susceptible immature bees in social immunity will improve breeding efforts to mitigate the unsustainably high colony losses of Western honey bees due to V. destructor infestations worldwide. PMID:27264643

  7. Honey Bee Infecting Lake Sinai Viruses.

    PubMed

    Daughenbaugh, Katie F; Martin, Madison; Brutscher, Laura M; Cavigli, Ian; Garcia, Emma; Lavin, Matt; Flenniken, Michelle L

    2015-06-23

    Honey bees are critical pollinators of important agricultural crops. Recently, high annual losses of honey bee colonies have prompted further investigation of honey bee infecting viruses. To better characterize the recently discovered and very prevalent Lake Sinai virus (LSV) group, we sequenced currently circulating LSVs, performed phylogenetic analysis, and obtained images of LSV2. Sequence analysis resulted in extension of the LSV1 and LSV2 genomes, the first detection of LSV4 in the US, and the discovery of LSV6 and LSV7. We detected LSV1 and LSV2 in the Varroa destructor mite, and determined that a large proportion of LSV2 is found in the honey bee gut, suggesting that vector-mediated, food-associated, and/or fecal-oral routes may be important for LSV dissemination. Pathogen-specific quantitative PCR data, obtained from samples collected during a small-scale monitoring project, revealed that LSV2, LSV1, Black queen cell virus (BQCV), and Nosema ceranae were more abundant in weak colonies than strong colonies within this sample cohort. Together, these results enhance our current understanding of LSVs and illustrate the importance of future studies aimed at investigating the role of LSVs and other pathogens on honey bee health at both the individual and colony levels.

  8. Honey Bee Infecting Lake Sinai Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Daughenbaugh, Katie F.; Martin, Madison; Brutscher, Laura M.; Cavigli, Ian; Garcia, Emma; Lavin, Matt; Flenniken, Michelle L.

    2015-01-01

    Honey bees are critical pollinators of important agricultural crops. Recently, high annual losses of honey bee colonies have prompted further investigation of honey bee infecting viruses. To better characterize the recently discovered and very prevalent Lake Sinai virus (LSV) group, we sequenced currently circulating LSVs, performed phylogenetic analysis, and obtained images of LSV2. Sequence analysis resulted in extension of the LSV1 and LSV2 genomes, the first detection of LSV4 in the US, and the discovery of LSV6 and LSV7. We detected LSV1 and LSV2 in the Varroa destructor mite, and determined that a large proportion of LSV2 is found in the honey bee gut, suggesting that vector-mediated, food-associated, and/or fecal-oral routes may be important for LSV dissemination. Pathogen-specific quantitative PCR data, obtained from samples collected during a small-scale monitoring project, revealed that LSV2, LSV1, Black queen cell virus (BQCV), and Nosema ceranae were more abundant in weak colonies than strong colonies within this sample cohort. Together, these results enhance our current understanding of LSVs and illustrate the importance of future studies aimed at investigating the role of LSVs and other pathogens on honey bee health at both the individual and colony levels. PMID:26110586

  9. Social apoptosis in honey bee superorganisms

    PubMed Central

    Page, Paul; Lin, Zheguang; Buawangpong, Ninat; Zheng, Huoqing; Hu, Fuliang; Neumann, Peter; Chantawannakul, Panuwan; Dietemann, Vincent

    2016-01-01

    Eusocial insect colonies form superorganisms, in which nestmates cooperate and use social immunity to combat parasites. However, social immunity may fail in case of emerging diseases. This is the case for the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, which switched hosts from the Eastern honeybee, Apis cerana, to the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, and currently is the greatest threat to A. mellifera apiculture globally. Here, we show that immature workers of the mite’s original host, A. cerana, are more susceptible to V. destructor infestations than those of its new host, thereby enabling more efficient social immunity and contributing to colony survival. This counterintuitive result shows that susceptible individuals can foster superorganism survival, offering empirical support to theoretical arguments about the adaptive value of worker suicide in social insects. Altruistic suicide of immature bees constitutes a social analogue of apoptosis, as it prevents the spread of infections by sacrificing parts of the whole organism, and unveils a novel form of transgenerational social immunity in honey bees. Taking into account the key role of susceptible immature bees in social immunity will improve breeding efforts to mitigate the unsustainably high colony losses of Western honey bees due to V. destructor infestations worldwide. PMID:27264643

  10. Stingless Bees as Alternative Pollinators of Canola.

    PubMed

    Witter, Sidia; Nunes-Silva, Patrícia; Lisboa, Bruno B; Tirelli, Flavia P; Sattler, Aroni; Both Hilgert-Moreira, Suzane; Blochtein, Betina

    2015-06-01

    Alternative pollinators can ensure pollination services if the availability of the managed or most common pollinator is compromised. In this study, the behavior and pollination efficiency of Apis mellifera L. and two species of stingless bees, Plebeia emerina Friese and Tetragonisca fiebrigi Schwarz, were evaluated and compared in flowers of Brassica napus L. 'Hyola 61'. A. mellifera was an efficient pollinator when collecting nectar because it effectively touched the reproductive organs of the flower. In contrast, stingless bees were efficient pollinators only when collecting pollen. The number of pollen grains deposited on the stigma after a single visit by worker bees of the three species was greater than the number of grains resulting from pollination without the bee visits. On average, the three species deposited enough pollen grains to fertilize all of the flower ovules. A. mellifera and P. emerina had similar pollination efficiency because no significant differences were observed in the characteristics of the siliques produced. Although T. fiebrigi is also an effective pollinator, the seed mass produced by their pollination was lower. Native bees promoted similar rates of fruit set compared with A. mellifera. Thus, P. emerina has potential to be used for pollination in canola crops. PMID:26470207

  11. Stingless Bees as Alternative Pollinators of Canola.

    PubMed

    Witter, Sidia; Nunes-Silva, Patrícia; Lisboa, Bruno B; Tirelli, Flavia P; Sattler, Aroni; Both Hilgert-Moreira, Suzane; Blochtein, Betina

    2015-06-01

    Alternative pollinators can ensure pollination services if the availability of the managed or most common pollinator is compromised. In this study, the behavior and pollination efficiency of Apis mellifera L. and two species of stingless bees, Plebeia emerina Friese and Tetragonisca fiebrigi Schwarz, were evaluated and compared in flowers of Brassica napus L. 'Hyola 61'. A. mellifera was an efficient pollinator when collecting nectar because it effectively touched the reproductive organs of the flower. In contrast, stingless bees were efficient pollinators only when collecting pollen. The number of pollen grains deposited on the stigma after a single visit by worker bees of the three species was greater than the number of grains resulting from pollination without the bee visits. On average, the three species deposited enough pollen grains to fertilize all of the flower ovules. A. mellifera and P. emerina had similar pollination efficiency because no significant differences were observed in the characteristics of the siliques produced. Although T. fiebrigi is also an effective pollinator, the seed mass produced by their pollination was lower. Native bees promoted similar rates of fruit set compared with A. mellifera. Thus, P. emerina has potential to be used for pollination in canola crops.

  12. Global information sampling in the honey bee

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Brian R.

    2008-06-01

    Central to the question of task allocation in social insects is how workers acquire information. Patrolling is a curious behavior in which bees meander over the face of the comb inspecting cells. Several authors have suggested it allows bees to collect global information, but this has never been formally evaluated. This study explores this hypothesis by answering three questions. First, do bees gather information in a consistent manner as they patrol? Second, do they move far enough to get a sense of task demand in distant areas of the nest? And third, is patrolling a commonly performed task? Focal animal observations were used to address the first two predictions, while a scan sampling study was used to address the third. The results were affirmative for each question. While patrolling, workers collected information by performing periodic clusters of cell inspections. Patrolling bees not only traveled far enough to frequently change work zone; they often visited every part of the nest. Finally, the majority of the bees in the middle-age caste were shown to move throughout the nest over the course of a few hours in a manner suggestive of patrolling. Global information collection is contrary to much current theory, which assumes that workers respond to local information only. This study thus highlights the nonmutually exclusive nature of various information collection regimes in social insects.

  13. Mapping Sleeping Bees within Their Nest: Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Worker Honey Bee Sleep

    PubMed Central

    Klein, Barrett Anthony; Stiegler, Martin; Klein, Arno; Tautz, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

    Patterns of behavior within societies have long been visualized and interpreted using maps. Mapping the occurrence of sleep across individuals within a society could offer clues as to functional aspects of sleep. In spite of this, a detailed spatial analysis of sleep has never been conducted on an invertebrate society. We introduce the concept of mapping sleep across an insect society, and provide an empirical example, mapping sleep patterns within colonies of European honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Honey bees face variables such as temperature and position of resources within their colony's nest that may impact their sleep. We mapped sleep behavior and temperature of worker bees and produced maps of their nest's comb contents as the colony grew and contents changed. By following marked bees, we discovered that individuals slept in many locations, but bees of different worker castes slept in different areas of the nest relative to position of the brood and surrounding temperature. Older worker bees generally slept outside cells, closer to the perimeter of the nest, in colder regions, and away from uncapped brood. Younger worker bees generally slept inside cells and closer to the center of the nest, and spent more time asleep than awake when surrounded by uncapped brood. The average surface temperature of sleeping foragers was lower than the surface temperature of their surroundings, offering a possible indicator of sleep for this caste. We propose mechanisms that could generate caste-dependent sleep patterns and discuss functional significance of these patterns. PMID:25029445

  14. Mapping sleeping bees within their nest: spatial and temporal analysis of worker honey bee sleep.

    PubMed

    Klein, Barrett Anthony; Stiegler, Martin; Klein, Arno; Tautz, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

    Patterns of behavior within societies have long been visualized and interpreted using maps. Mapping the occurrence of sleep across individuals within a society could offer clues as to functional aspects of sleep. In spite of this, a detailed spatial analysis of sleep has never been conducted on an invertebrate society. We introduce the concept of mapping sleep across an insect society, and provide an empirical example, mapping sleep patterns within colonies of European honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Honey bees face variables such as temperature and position of resources within their colony's nest that may impact their sleep. We mapped sleep behavior and temperature of worker bees and produced maps of their nest's comb contents as the colony grew and contents changed. By following marked bees, we discovered that individuals slept in many locations, but bees of different worker castes slept in different areas of the nest relative to position of the brood and surrounding temperature. Older worker bees generally slept outside cells, closer to the perimeter of the nest, in colder regions, and away from uncapped brood. Younger worker bees generally slept inside cells and closer to the center of the nest, and spent more time asleep than awake when surrounded by uncapped brood. The average surface temperature of sleeping foragers was lower than the surface temperature of their surroundings, offering a possible indicator of sleep for this caste. We propose mechanisms that could generate caste-dependent sleep patterns and discuss functional significance of these patterns. PMID:25029445

  15. Mapping sleeping bees within their nest: spatial and temporal analysis of worker honey bee sleep.

    PubMed

    Klein, Barrett Anthony; Stiegler, Martin; Klein, Arno; Tautz, Jürgen

    2014-01-01

    Patterns of behavior within societies have long been visualized and interpreted using maps. Mapping the occurrence of sleep across individuals within a society could offer clues as to functional aspects of sleep. In spite of this, a detailed spatial analysis of sleep has never been conducted on an invertebrate society. We introduce the concept of mapping sleep across an insect society, and provide an empirical example, mapping sleep patterns within colonies of European honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). Honey bees face variables such as temperature and position of resources within their colony's nest that may impact their sleep. We mapped sleep behavior and temperature of worker bees and produced maps of their nest's comb contents as the colony grew and contents changed. By following marked bees, we discovered that individuals slept in many locations, but bees of different worker castes slept in different areas of the nest relative to position of the brood and surrounding temperature. Older worker bees generally slept outside cells, closer to the perimeter of the nest, in colder regions, and away from uncapped brood. Younger worker bees generally slept inside cells and closer to the center of the nest, and spent more time asleep than awake when surrounded by uncapped brood. The average surface temperature of sleeping foragers was lower than the surface temperature of their surroundings, offering a possible indicator of sleep for this caste. We propose mechanisms that could generate caste-dependent sleep patterns and discuss functional significance of these patterns.

  16. The early bee catches the flower - circadian rhythmicity influences learning performance in honey bees, Apis mellifera

    PubMed Central

    Lehmann, Marina; Gustav, David

    2010-01-01

    Circadian rhythmicity plays an important role for many aspects of honey bees’ lives. However, the question whether it also affects learning and memory remained unanswered. To address this question, we studied the effect of circadian timing on olfactory learning and memory in honey bees Apis mellifera using the olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex paradigm. Bees were differentially conditioned to odours and tested for their odour learning at four different “Zeitgeber” time points. We show that learning behaviour is influenced by circadian timing. Honey bees perform best in the morning compared to the other times of day. Additionally, we found influences of the light condition bees were trained at on the olfactory learning. This circadian-mediated learning is independent from feeding times bees were entrained to, indicating an inherited and not acquired mechanism. We hypothesise that a co-evolutionary mechanism between the honey bee as a pollinator and plants might be the driving force for the evolution of the time-dependent learning abilities of bees. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00265-010-1026-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. PMID:21350590

  17. BeeDoctor, a Versatile MLPA-Based Diagnostic Tool for Screening Bee Viruses

    PubMed Central

    De Smet, Lina; Ravoet, Jorgen; de Miranda, Joachim R.; Wenseleers, Tom; Mueller, Matthias Y.; Moritz, Robin F. A.; de Graaf, Dirk C.

    2012-01-01

    The long-term decline of managed honeybee hives in the world has drawn significant attention to the scientific community and bee-keeping industry. A high pathogen load is believed to play a crucial role in this phenomenon, with the bee viruses being key players. Most of the currently characterized honeybee viruses (around twenty) are positive stranded RNA viruses. Techniques based on RNA signatures are widely used to determine the viral load in honeybee colonies. High throughput screening for viral loads necessitates the development of a multiplex polymerase chain reaction approach in which different viruses can be targeted simultaneously. A new multiparameter assay, called “BeeDoctor”, was developed based on multiplex-ligation probe dependent amplification (MLPA) technology. This assay detects 10 honeybee viruses in one reaction. “BeeDoctor” is also able to screen selectively for either the positive strand of the targeted RNA bee viruses or the negative strand, which is indicative for active viral replication. Due to its sensitivity and specificity, the MLPA assay is a useful tool for rapid diagnosis, pathogen characterization, and epidemiology of viruses in honeybee populations. “BeeDoctor” was used for screening 363 samples from apiaries located throughout Flanders; the northern half of Belgium. Using the “BeeDoctor”, virus infections were detected in almost eighty percent of the colonies, with deformed wing virus by far the most frequently detected virus and multiple virus infections were found in 26 percent of the colonies. PMID:23144717

  18. The challenge of accurately documenting bee species richness in agroecosystems: bee diversity in eastern apple orchards.

    PubMed

    Russo, Laura; Park, Mia; Gibbs, Jason; Danforth, Bryan

    2015-09-01

    Bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops, and bee diversity has been shown to be closely associated with pollination, a valuable ecosystem service. Higher functional diversity and species richness of bees have been shown to lead to higher crop yield. Bees simultaneously represent a mega-diverse taxon that is extremely challenging to sample thoroughly and an important group to understand because of pollination services. We sampled bees visiting apple blossoms in 28 orchards over 6 years. We used species rarefaction analyses to test for the completeness of sampling and the relationship between species richness and sampling effort, orchard size, and percent agriculture in the surrounding landscape. We performed more than 190 h of sampling, collecting 11,219 specimens representing 104 species. Despite the sampling intensity, we captured <75% of expected species richness at more than half of the sites. For most of these, the variation in bee community composition between years was greater than among sites. Species richness was influenced by percent agriculture, orchard size, and sampling effort, but we found no factors explaining the difference between observed and expected species richness. Competition between honeybees and wild bees did not appear to be a factor, as we found no correlation between honeybee and wild bee abundance. Our study shows that the pollinator fauna of agroecosystems can be diverse and challenging to thoroughly sample. We demonstrate that there is high temporal variation in community composition and that sites vary widely in the sampling effort required to fully describe their diversity. In order to maximize pollination services provided by wild bee species, we must first accurately estimate species richness. For researchers interested in providing this estimate, we recommend multiyear studies and rarefaction analyses to quantify the gap between observed and expected species richness.

  19. Native and Non-Native Supergeneralist Bee Species Have Different Effects on Plant-Bee Networks

    PubMed Central

    Giannini, Tereza C.; Garibaldi, Lucas A.; Acosta, Andre L.; Silva, Juliana S.; Maia, Kate P.; Saraiva, Antonio M.; Guimarães, Paulo R.; Kleinert, Astrid M. P.

    2015-01-01

    Supergeneralists, defined as species that interact with multiple groups of species in ecological networks, can act as important connectors of otherwise disconnected species subsets. In Brazil, there are two supergeneralist bees: the honeybee Apis mellifera, a non-native species, and Trigona spinipes, a native stingless bee. We compared the role of both species and the effect of geographic and local factors on networks by addressing three questions: 1) Do both species have similar abundance and interaction patterns (degree and strength) in plant-bee networks? 2) Are both species equally influential to the network structure (nestedness, connectance, and plant and bee niche overlap)? 3) How are these species affected by geographic (altitude, temperature, precipitation) and local (natural vs. disturbed habitat) factors? We analyzed 21 plant-bee weighted interaction networks, encompassing most of the main biomes in Brazil. We found no significant difference between both species in abundance, in the number of plant species with which each bee species interacts (degree), and in the sum of their dependencies (strength). Structural equation models revealed the effect of A. mellifera and T. spinipes, respectively, on the interaction network pattern (nestedness) and in the similarity in bee’s interactive partners (bee niche overlap). It is most likely that the recent invasion of A. mellifera resulted in its rapid settlement inside the core of species that retain the largest number of interactions, resulting in a strong influence on nestedness. However, the long-term interaction between native T. spinipes and other bees most likely has a more direct effect on their interactive behavior. Moreover, temperature negatively affected A. mellifera bees, whereas disturbed habitats positively affected T. spinipes. Conversely, precipitation showed no effect. Being positively (T. spinipes) or indifferently (A. mellifera) affected by disturbed habitats makes these species prone to

  20. The challenge of accurately documenting bee species richness in agroecosystems: bee diversity in eastern apple orchards.

    PubMed

    Russo, Laura; Park, Mia; Gibbs, Jason; Danforth, Bryan

    2015-09-01

    Bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops, and bee diversity has been shown to be closely associated with pollination, a valuable ecosystem service. Higher functional diversity and species richness of bees have been shown to lead to higher crop yield. Bees simultaneously represent a mega-diverse taxon that is extremely challenging to sample thoroughly and an important group to understand because of pollination services. We sampled bees visiting apple blossoms in 28 orchards over 6 years. We used species rarefaction analyses to test for the completeness of sampling and the relationship between species richness and sampling effort, orchard size, and percent agriculture in the surrounding landscape. We performed more than 190 h of sampling, collecting 11,219 specimens representing 104 species. Despite the sampling intensity, we captured <75% of expected species richness at more than half of the sites. For most of these, the variation in bee community composition between years was greater than among sites. Species richness was influenced by percent agriculture, orchard size, and sampling effort, but we found no factors explaining the difference between observed and expected species richness. Competition between honeybees and wild bees did not appear to be a factor, as we found no correlation between honeybee and wild bee abundance. Our study shows that the pollinator fauna of agroecosystems can be diverse and challenging to thoroughly sample. We demonstrate that there is high temporal variation in community composition and that sites vary widely in the sampling effort required to fully describe their diversity. In order to maximize pollination services provided by wild bee species, we must first accurately estimate species richness. For researchers interested in providing this estimate, we recommend multiyear studies and rarefaction analyses to quantify the gap between observed and expected species richness. PMID:26380684

  1. The challenge of accurately documenting bee species richness in agroecosystems: bee diversity in eastern apple orchards

    PubMed Central

    Russo, Laura; Park, Mia; Gibbs, Jason; Danforth, Bryan

    2015-01-01

    Bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops, and bee diversity has been shown to be closely associated with pollination, a valuable ecosystem service. Higher functional diversity and species richness of bees have been shown to lead to higher crop yield. Bees simultaneously represent a mega-diverse taxon that is extremely challenging to sample thoroughly and an important group to understand because of pollination services. We sampled bees visiting apple blossoms in 28 orchards over 6 years. We used species rarefaction analyses to test for the completeness of sampling and the relationship between species richness and sampling effort, orchard size, and percent agriculture in the surrounding landscape. We performed more than 190 h of sampling, collecting 11,219 specimens representing 104 species. Despite the sampling intensity, we captured <75% of expected species richness at more than half of the sites. For most of these, the variation in bee community composition between years was greater than among sites. Species richness was influenced by percent agriculture, orchard size, and sampling effort, but we found no factors explaining the difference between observed and expected species richness. Competition between honeybees and wild bees did not appear to be a factor, as we found no correlation between honeybee and wild bee abundance. Our study shows that the pollinator fauna of agroecosystems can be diverse and challenging to thoroughly sample. We demonstrate that there is high temporal variation in community composition and that sites vary widely in the sampling effort required to fully describe their diversity. In order to maximize pollination services provided by wild bee species, we must first accurately estimate species richness. For researchers interested in providing this estimate, we recommend multiyear studies and rarefaction analyses to quantify the gap between observed and expected species richness. PMID:26380684

  2. First Complete Genome Sequence of Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus Isolated from Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) in China.

    PubMed

    Li, Beibei; Hou, Chunsheng; Deng, Shuai; Zhang, Xuefeng; Chu, Yanna; Yuan, Chunying; Diao, Qingyun

    2016-01-01

    Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is a serious viral disease affecting adult bees. We report here the complete genome sequence of CBPV, which was isolated from a honey bee colony with the symptom of severe crawling. The genome of CBPV consists of two segments, RNA 1 and RNA 2, containing respective overlapping fragments. PMID:27491983

  3. Solitary invasive orchid bee outperforms co-occurring native bees to promote fruit set in an invasive Solanum.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Little is known about the potential effects of naturalized solitary or semi-social bees on the environment. We took advantage of the recent naturalization of an orchid bee, Euglossa viridissima, in southern Florida to study the effects of this semi-social bee on reproduction of Solanum torvum, an in...

  4. First Complete Genome Sequence of Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus Isolated from Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) in China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Beibei; Deng, Shuai; Zhang, Xuefeng; Chu, Yanna; Yuan, Chunying

    2016-01-01

    Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is a serious viral disease affecting adult bees. We report here the complete genome sequence of CBPV, which was isolated from a honey bee colony with the symptom of severe crawling. The genome of CBPV consists of two segments, RNA 1 and RNA 2, containing respective overlapping fragments. PMID:27491983

  5. [Effects of continuous cropping of wheat and alfalfa on soil enzyme activities and nutrients].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Li-Qiong; Hao, Ming-De; Zang, Yi-Fei; Li, Li-Xia

    2014-11-01

    Based on a long-term rotation and fertilization experiment in Changwu, Shaanxi, China, we determined the enzymatic activities and nutrients in soils after 27 years continuous cropping of alfalfa and wheat, respectively. The activities of invertase, urease and phosphatase were not affected by fertilization treatment within each cropping system, but they were significantly higher in the alfalfa continuous cropping system than in the wheat continuous cropping system under each fertilization treatment. The activity of hydrogen peroxidase was not affected by the type of cropping system or fertilization treatment. Across the cropping systems, the activities of soil urease, phosphatase and hydrogen peroxidase were higher while soil invertase activity was lower in N, P and manure (NPM) combined treatment compared with the other fertilization treatments. The accumulations of soil organic matter, total nitrogen and available nitrogen were greater in the alfalfa cropping system than in the wheat continuous cropping system, and the NPM treatment could improve the soil fertility.

  6. The Undergraduate ALFALFA Team: A Model for Involving Undergraduates in Large Astronomy Collaborations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Craig, David W.; Koopmann, Rebecca A.; Haynes, Martha P.; Undergraduate ALFALFA Team, ALFALFA Team

    2016-01-01

    The NSF-sponsored Undergraduate ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Team (UAT) has allowed faculty and students from a wide range of public and private colleges and especially those with small astronomy programs to learn how science is accomplished in a large collaboration while contributing to the scientific goals of a legacy radio astronomy survey. This effort has been made possible through the collaboration of the ALFALFA PIs and graduate students, Arecibo Observatory staff, and the faculty at 19 undergraduate-focussed institutions. In this talk, we will discuss how the UAT model works for the ALFALFA project and lessons learned from our efforts over the 8 years of grant funding. We will provide suggestions on how the model could be applied to other legacy projects, particularly in such areas as online collaboration and software usage by undergraduates. This work has been supported by NSF grants AST-0724918/0902211, AST-075267/0903394, AST-0725380, and AST-1211005.

  7. [Effects of continuous cropping of wheat and alfalfa on soil enzyme activities and nutrients].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Li-Qiong; Hao, Ming-De; Zang, Yi-Fei; Li, Li-Xia

    2014-11-01

    Based on a long-term rotation and fertilization experiment in Changwu, Shaanxi, China, we determined the enzymatic activities and nutrients in soils after 27 years continuous cropping of alfalfa and wheat, respectively. The activities of invertase, urease and phosphatase were not affected by fertilization treatment within each cropping system, but they were significantly higher in the alfalfa continuous cropping system than in the wheat continuous cropping system under each fertilization treatment. The activity of hydrogen peroxidase was not affected by the type of cropping system or fertilization treatment. Across the cropping systems, the activities of soil urease, phosphatase and hydrogen peroxidase were higher while soil invertase activity was lower in N, P and manure (NPM) combined treatment compared with the other fertilization treatments. The accumulations of soil organic matter, total nitrogen and available nitrogen were greater in the alfalfa cropping system than in the wheat continuous cropping system, and the NPM treatment could improve the soil fertility. PMID:25898616

  8. Collective thermoregulation in bee clusters.

    PubMed

    Ocko, Samuel A; Mahadevan, L

    2014-02-01

    Swarming is an essential part of honeybee behaviour, wherein thousands of bees cling onto each other to form a dense cluster that may be exposed to the environment for several days. This cluster has the ability to maintain its core temperature actively without a central controller. We suggest that the swarm cluster is akin to an active porous structure whose functional requirement is to adjust to outside conditions by varying its porosity to control its core temperature. Using a continuum model that takes the form of a set of advection-diffusion equations for heat transfer in a mobile porous medium, we show that the equalization of an effective 'behavioural pressure', which propagates information about the ambient temperature through variations in density, leads to effective thermoregulation. Our model extends and generalizes previous models by focusing the question of mechanism on the form and role of the behavioural pressure, and allows us to explain the vertical asymmetry of the cluster (as a consequence of buoyancy-driven flows), the ability of the cluster to overpack at low ambient temperatures without breaking up at high ambient temperatures, and the relative insensitivity to large variations in the ambient temperature. Our theory also makes testable hypotheses for the response of the cluster to external temperature inhomogeneities and suggests strategies for biomimetic thermoregulation. PMID:24335563

  9. Collective thermoregulation in bee clusters.

    PubMed

    Ocko, Samuel A; Mahadevan, L

    2014-02-01

    Swarming is an essential part of honeybee behaviour, wherein thousands of bees cling onto each other to form a dense cluster that may be exposed to the environment for several days. This cluster has the ability to maintain its core temperature actively without a central controller. We suggest that the swarm cluster is akin to an active porous structure whose functional requirement is to adjust to outside conditions by varying its porosity to control its core temperature. Using a continuum model that takes the form of a set of advection-diffusion equations for heat transfer in a mobile porous medium, we show that the equalization of an effective 'behavioural pressure', which propagates information about the ambient temperature through variations in density, leads to effective thermoregulation. Our model extends and generalizes previous models by focusing the question of mechanism on the form and role of the behavioural pressure, and allows us to explain the vertical asymmetry of the cluster (as a consequence of buoyancy-driven flows), the ability of the cluster to overpack at low ambient temperatures without breaking up at high ambient temperatures, and the relative insensitivity to large variations in the ambient temperature. Our theory also makes testable hypotheses for the response of the cluster to external temperature inhomogeneities and suggests strategies for biomimetic thermoregulation.

  10. Collective thermoregulation in bee clusters

    PubMed Central

    Ocko, Samuel A.; Mahadevan, L.

    2014-01-01

    Swarming is an essential part of honeybee behaviour, wherein thousands of bees cling onto each other to form a dense cluster that may be exposed to the environment for several days. This cluster has the ability to maintain its core temperature actively without a central controller. We suggest that the swarm cluster is akin to an active porous structure whose functional requirement is to adjust to outside conditions by varying its porosity to control its core temperature. Using a continuum model that takes the form of a set of advection–diffusion equations for heat transfer in a mobile porous medium, we show that the equalization of an effective ‘behavioural pressure’, which propagates information about the ambient temperature through variations in density, leads to effective thermoregulation. Our model extends and generalizes previous models by focusing the question of mechanism on the form and role of the behavioural pressure, and allows us to explain the vertical asymmetry of the cluster (as a consequence of buoyancy-driven flows), the ability of the cluster to overpack at low ambient temperatures without breaking up at high ambient temperatures, and the relative insensitivity to large variations in the ambient temperature. Our theory also makes testable hypotheses for the response of the cluster to external temperature inhomogeneities and suggests strategies for biomimetic thermoregulation. PMID:24335563

  11. Assessing the Spatial Variability of Alfalfa Yield Using Satellite Imagery and Ground-Based Data.

    PubMed

    Kayad, Ahmed G; Al-Gaadi, Khalid A; Tola, ElKamil; Madugundu, Rangaswamy; Zeyada, Ahmed M; Kalaitzidis, Chariton

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the temporal and spatial variability in a crop yield is viewed as one of the key steps in the implementation of precision agriculture practices. Therefore, a study on a center pivot irrigated 23.5 ha field in Saudi Arabia was conducted to assess the variability in alfalfa yield using Landsat-8 imagery and a hay yield monitor data. In addition, the study was designed to also explore the potential of predicting the alfalfa yield using vegetation indices. A calibrated yield monitor mounted on a large rectangular hay baler was used to measure the actual alfalfa yield for four alfalfa harvests performed in the period from October 2013 to May 2014. A total of 18 Landsat-8 images, representing different crop growth stages, were used to derive different vegetation indices (VIs). Data from the yield monitor was used to generate yield maps, which illustrated a definite spatial variation in alfalfa yield across the experimental field for the four studied harvests as indicated by the high spatial correlation values (0.75 to 0.97) and the low P-values (4.7E-103 to 8.9E-27). The yield monitor-measured alfalfa actual yield was compared to the predicted yield form the Vis. Results of the study showed that there was a correlation between actual and predicted yield. The highest correlations were observed between actual yield and the predicted using NIR reflectance, SAVI and NDVI with maximum correlation coefficients of 0.69, 0.68 and 0.63, respectively.

  12. Assessing the Spatial Variability of Alfalfa Yield Using Satellite Imagery and Ground-Based Data

    PubMed Central

    Kayad, Ahmed G.; Al-Gaadi, Khalid A.; Tola, ElKamil; Madugundu, Rangaswamy; Zeyada, Ahmed M.; Kalaitzidis, Chariton

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the temporal and spatial variability in a crop yield is viewed as one of the key steps in the implementation of precision agriculture practices. Therefore, a study on a center pivot irrigated 23.5 ha field in Saudi Arabia was conducted to assess the variability in alfalfa yield using Landsat-8 imagery and a hay yield monitor data. In addition, the study was designed to also explore the potential of predicting the alfalfa yield using vegetation indices. A calibrated yield monitor mounted on a large rectangular hay baler was used to measure the actual alfalfa yield for four alfalfa harvests performed in the period from October 2013 to May 2014. A total of 18 Landsat-8 images, representing different crop growth stages, were used to derive different vegetation indices (VIs). Data from the yield monitor was used to generate yield maps, which illustrated a definite spatial variation in alfalfa yield across the experimental field for the four studied harvests as indicated by the high spatial correlation values (0.75 to 0.97) and the low P-values (4.7E-103 to 8.9E-27). The yield monitor-measured alfalfa actual yield was compared to the predicted yield form the Vis. Results of the study showed that there was a correlation between actual and predicted yield. The highest correlations were observed between actual yield and the predicted using NIR reflectance, SAVI and NDVI with maximum correlation coefficients of 0.69, 0.68 and 0.63, respectively. PMID:27281189

  13. Assessing the Spatial Variability of Alfalfa Yield Using Satellite Imagery and Ground-Based Data.

    PubMed

    Kayad, Ahmed G; Al-Gaadi, Khalid A; Tola, ElKamil; Madugundu, Rangaswamy; Zeyada, Ahmed M; Kalaitzidis, Chariton

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the temporal and spatial variability in a crop yield is viewed as one of the key steps in the implementation of precision agriculture practices. Therefore, a study on a center pivot irrigated 23.5 ha field in Saudi Arabia was conducted to assess the variability in alfalfa yield using Landsat-8 imagery and a hay yield monitor data. In addition, the study was designed to also explore the potential of predicting the alfalfa yield using vegetation indices. A calibrated yield monitor mounted on a large rectangular hay baler was used to measure the actual alfalfa yield for four alfalfa harvests performed in the period from October 2013 to May 2014. A total of 18 Landsat-8 images, representing different crop growth stages, were used to derive different vegetation indices (VIs). Data from the yield monitor was used to generate yield maps, which illustrated a definite spatial variation in alfalfa yield across the experimental field for the four studied harvests as indicated by the high spatial correlation values (0.75 to 0.97) and the low P-values (4.7E-103 to 8.9E-27). The yield monitor-measured alfalfa actual yield was compared to the predicted yield form the Vis. Results of the study showed that there was a correlation between actual and predicted yield. The highest correlations were observed between actual yield and the predicted using NIR reflectance, SAVI and NDVI with maximum correlation coefficients of 0.69, 0.68 and 0.63, respectively. PMID:27281189

  14. Predictive Markers of Honey Bee Colony Collapse

    PubMed Central

    Dainat, Benjamin; Evans, Jay D.; Chen, Yan Ping; Gauthier, Laurent; Neumann, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Across the Northern hemisphere, managed honey bee colonies, Apis mellifera, are currently affected by abrupt depopulation during winter and many factors are suspected to be involved, either alone or in combination. Parasites and pathogens are considered as principal actors, in particular the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, associated viruses and the microsporidian Nosema ceranae. Here we used long term monitoring of colonies and screening for eleven disease agents and genes involved in bee immunity and physiology to identify predictive markers of honeybee colony losses during winter. The data show that DWV, Nosema ceranae, Varroa destructor and Vitellogenin can be predictive markers for winter colony losses, but their predictive power strongly depends on the season. In particular, the data support that V. destructor is a key player for losses, arguably in line with its specific impact on the health of individual bees and colonies. PMID:22384162

  15. Why do Varroa mites prefer nurse bees?

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Xianbing; Huang, Zachary Y.; Zeng, Zhijiang

    2016-01-01

    The Varroa mite, Varroa destructor, is an acarine ecto-parasite on Apis mellifera. It is the worst pest of Apis mellifera, yet its reproductive biology on the host is not well understood. In particular, the significance of the phoretic stage, when mites feed on adult bees for a few days, is not clear. In addition, it is not clear whether the preference of mites for nurses observed in the laboratory also happens inside real colonies. We show that Varroa mites prefer nurses over both newly emerged bees and forgers in a colony setting. We then determined the mechanism behind this preference. We show that this preference maximizes Varroa fitness, although due to the fact that each mite must find a second host (a pupa) to reproduce, the fitness benefit to the mites is not immediate but delayed. Our results suggest that the Varroa mite is a highly adapted parasite for honey bees. PMID:27302644

  16. Chronic sublethal stress causes bee colony failure.

    PubMed

    Bryden, John; Gill, Richard J; Mitton, Robert A A; Raine, Nigel E; Jansen, Vincent A A

    2013-12-01

    Current bee population declines and colony failures are well documented yet poorly understood and no single factor has been identified as a leading cause. The evidence is equivocal and puzzling: for instance, many pathogens and parasites can be found in both failing and surviving colonies and field pesticide exposure is typically sublethal. Here, we investigate how these results can be due to sublethal stress impairing colony function. We mathematically modelled stress on individual bees which impairs colony function and found how positive density dependence can cause multiple dynamic outcomes: some colonies fail while others thrive. We then exposed bumblebee colonies to sublethal levels of a neonicotinoid pesticide. The dynamics of colony failure, which we observed, were most accurately described by our model. We argue that our model can explain the enigmatic aspects of bee colony failures, highlighting an important role for sublethal stress in colony declines.

  17. Genomics of the honey bee microbiome

    PubMed Central

    Moran, Nancy A.

    2015-01-01

    The guts of honey bee workers contain a distinctive community of bacterial species. They are microaerophilic or anaerobic, and were not clearly deliniated by earlier studies relying on laboratory culture of isolates under atmospheric oxygen levels. Recently, a more complete picture of the potential metabolism and functions of these bacteria has been possible, using genomic approaches based on metagenomic samples, as well as cultured isolates. Of these, most are host-restricted and are generally absent outside adult guts. These species include both Gram negative groups, such as Gilliamella apicola and Snodgrassella alvi, and Gram positive groups such as certain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. These gut bacterial species appear to have undergone long term coevolution with honey bee and, in some cases, bumble bee hosts. Prediction of gene functions from genome sequences suggests roles in nutrition, digestion, and potentially in defense against pathogens. In particular, genes for sugar utilization and carbohydrate breakdown are enriched in G. apicola and the Lactobacillus species. PMID:26140264

  18. Predictive markers of honey bee colony collapse.

    PubMed

    Dainat, Benjamin; Evans, Jay D; Chen, Yan Ping; Gauthier, Laurent; Neumann, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Across the Northern hemisphere, managed honey bee colonies, Apis mellifera, are currently affected by abrupt depopulation during winter and many factors are suspected to be involved, either alone or in combination. Parasites and pathogens are considered as principal actors, in particular the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, associated viruses and the microsporidian Nosema ceranae. Here we used long term monitoring of colonies and screening for eleven disease agents and genes involved in bee immunity and physiology to identify predictive markers of honeybee colony losses during winter. The data show that DWV, Nosema ceranae, Varroa destructor and Vitellogenin can be predictive markers for winter colony losses, but their predictive power strongly depends on the season. In particular, the data support that V. destructor is a key player for losses, arguably in line with its specific impact on the health of individual bees and colonies.

  19. Chronic sublethal stress causes bee colony failure.

    PubMed

    Bryden, John; Gill, Richard J; Mitton, Robert A A; Raine, Nigel E; Jansen, Vincent A A

    2013-12-01

    Current bee population declines and colony failures are well documented yet poorly understood and no single factor has been identified as a leading cause. The evidence is equivocal and puzzling: for instance, many pathogens and parasites can be found in both failing and surviving colonies and field pesticide exposure is typically sublethal. Here, we investigate how these results can be due to sublethal stress impairing colony function. We mathematically modelled stress on individual bees which impairs colony function and found how positive density dependence can cause multiple dynamic outcomes: some colonies fail while others thrive. We then exposed bumblebee colonies to sublethal levels of a neonicotinoid pesticide. The dynamics of colony failure, which we observed, were most accurately described by our model. We argue that our model can explain the enigmatic aspects of bee colony failures, highlighting an important role for sublethal stress in colony declines. PMID:24112478

  20. Chronic sublethal stress causes bee colony failure

    PubMed Central

    Bryden, John; Gill, Richard J; Mitton, Robert A A; Raine, Nigel E; Jansen, Vincent A A; Hodgson, David

    2013-01-01

    Current bee population declines and colony failures are well documented yet poorly understood and no single factor has been identified as a leading cause. The evidence is equivocal and puzzling: for instance, many pathogens and parasites can be found in both failing and surviving colonies and field pesticide exposure is typically sublethal. Here, we investigate how these results can be due to sublethal stress impairing colony function. We mathematically modelled stress on individual bees which impairs colony function and found how positive density dependence can cause multiple dynamic outcomes: some colonies fail while others thrive. We then exposed bumblebee colonies to sublethal levels of a neonicotinoid pesticide. The dynamics of colony failure, which we observed, were most accurately described by our model. We argue that our model can explain the enigmatic aspects of bee colony failures, highlighting an important role for sublethal stress in colony declines. PMID:24112478

  1. Anaphylactic reaction after ingestion of local bee pollen.

    PubMed

    Mansfield, L E; Goldstein, G B

    1981-09-01

    A patient is presented who experienced an anaphylactic reaction after ingesting locally produced bee pollen to treat his spring hay fever. Evaluation revealed the patient to be extremely sensitive to mesquite pollen, a major component of the bee pollen he ingested. Passive transfer skin testing and neutralization techniques suggested that the mesquite pollen was the allergen which caused his anaphylactic reaction. Four other allergic patients were known to have systemic reactions after taking bee pollen. The patients received no warning that the bee pollen was potentially dangerous to an allergic person. It is recommended that vendors of bee pollen be required to alert allergic patients about possible risks.

  2. [Cation exchanges during the process of Cd(2+) absorption by Alfalfa in aqueous solutions].

    PubMed

    Li, Yue-Peng; Yin, Hua; Ye, Jin-Shao; Peng, Hua; Qin, Hua-Ming; Long, Yan; He, Bao-Yan; Zhang, Na; Tong, Yao; Peng, Su-Fen

    2011-11-01

    A hydroponic experiment was conducted to investigate the cation exchanges during the process of Cd2+ absorption by Alfalfa in aqueous solution. The absorption efficiency of Alfalfa plants with 0-10 mg x L(-1) Cd2+ treatments, changes of Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+ and NH4(+) concentration, and the variation of pH values at different absorption time (0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24 and 72 h) were studied separately. The multiple linear regressions between Cd2+ absorption and cation variation were analyzed. The results indicated that when Cd2+ concentrations were 0.1, 1, 5, 10 mg x L(-1), the absorption efficiencies of Cd2+ by Alfalfa after 72 h were 85.86%, 52.14%, 15.97% and 7.81%. Cation exchange was involved in the removal of Cd2+ by Alfalfa in aqueous solution. Except for NH4(+), the concentrations of cationic metals Na+, K+, Mg2+ and Ca2+ in aqueous solution increased over time, which increased 11.30% - 61.72%, 21.44% - 98.73%, 24.09% - 8.90% and 37.04% - 191.96%, respectively. Kinetic studies illuminated that the release of Na+, K+, Mg2+ and Ca2+ by Alfalfa in Cd2+ solution with initial concentrations of 0, 0. 1, 1, 5, 10 mg x L(-1) best fitted pseudo-second-order equation,while the NH4(+) release fitted this model when Cd2+ concentrations were 1, 5, 10 mg x L(-1). The gradual decrease of pH during adsorption of Cd2+ by Alfalfa was observed. As the competition ion of Cd2+, H+ might affect the capacity of Alfalfa root system to absorb Cd2+. The ternary linear equation results demonstrated that the content of Cd2+ absorption by Alfalfa strongly related with the release of Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+. And this exchange mainly occurred among Cd2+ and divalent cations. PMID:22295633

  3. Omega-3 deficiency impairs honey bee learning.

    PubMed

    Arien, Yael; Dag, Arnon; Zarchin, Shlomi; Masci, Tania; Shafir, Sharoni

    2015-12-22

    Deficiency in essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly the long-chain form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has been linked to health problems in mammals, including many mental disorders and reduced cognitive performance. Insects have very low long-chain PUFA concentrations, and the effect of omega-3 deficiency on cognition in insects has not been studied. We show a low omega-6:3 ratio of pollen collected by honey bee colonies in heterogenous landscapes and in many hand-collected pollens that we analyzed. We identified Eucalyptus as an important bee-forage plant particularly poor in omega-3 and high in the omega-6:3 ratio. We tested the effect of dietary omega-3 deficiency on olfactory and tactile associative learning of the economically highly valued honey bee. Bees fed either of two omega-3-poor diets, or Eucalyptus pollen, showed greatly reduced learning abilities in conditioned proboscis-extension assays compared with those fed omega-3-rich diets, or omega-3-rich pollen mixture. The effect on performance was not due to reduced sucrose sensitivity. Omega-3 deficiency also led to smaller hypopharyngeal glands. Bee brains contained high omega-3 concentrations, which were only slightly affected by diet, suggesting additional peripheral effects on learning. The shift from a low to high omega-6:3 ratio in the Western human diet is deemed a primary cause of many diseases and reduced mental health. A similar shift seems to be occurring in bee forage, possibly an important factor in colony declines. Our study shows the detrimental effect on cognitive performance of omega-3 deficiency in a nonmammal. PMID:26644556

  4. Impact of electric fields on honey bees

    SciTech Connect

    Bindokas, V.P.

    1985-01-01

    Biological effects in honey bee colonies under a 765-kV, 60-Hz transmission line (electric (E) field = 7 kV/m) were confirmed using controlled dosimetry and treatment reversal to replicate findings within the same season. Hives in the same environment but shielded from E field are normal, suggesting effects are caused by interaction of E field with the hive. Bees flying through the ambient E field are not demonstrably affected. Different thresholds and severity of effects were found in colonies exposed to 7, 5.5, 4.1, 1.8, and 0.65 to 0.85 kV/m at incremental distances from the line. Most colonies exposed at 7 kV/m failed in 8 weeks and failed to overwinter at greater than or equal to4.1 kV/m. Data suggest the limit of a biological effects corridor lies between 15 and 27 m (4.1 and 1.8 kV/m) beyond the outer phase of the transmission line. Mechanisms to explain colony disturbance fall into two categories, direct perception of enhanced in-hive E fields, and perception of shock from induced currents. The same effects induced in colonies with total-hive E-field exposure can be reproduced with shock or E-field exposure of worker bees in extended hive entranceways (= porches). Full-scale experiments demonstrate bee exposure to E fields including 100 kV/m under moisture-free conditions within a non-conductive porch causes no detectable effect on colony behavior. Exposure of bees on a conductive (e.g. wet) substrate produces been disturbance, increased mortality, abnormal propolization, and possible impairment of colony growth. Thresholds for effects caused by step-potential-induced currents are: 275-350 nA - disturbance of single bees; 600 nA - onset of abnormal propolization; and 900 nA - sting.

  5. Omega-3 deficiency impairs honey bee learning

    PubMed Central

    Arien, Yael; Dag, Arnon; Zarchin, Shlomi; Masci, Tania

    2015-01-01

    Deficiency in essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly the long-chain form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has been linked to health problems in mammals, including many mental disorders and reduced cognitive performance. Insects have very low long-chain PUFA concentrations, and the effect of omega-3 deficiency on cognition in insects has not been studied. We show a low omega-6:3 ratio of pollen collected by honey bee colonies in heterogenous landscapes and in many hand-collected pollens that we analyzed. We identified Eucalyptus as an important bee-forage plant particularly poor in omega-3 and high in the omega-6:3 ratio. We tested the effect of dietary omega-3 deficiency on olfactory and tactile associative learning of the economically highly valued honey bee. Bees fed either of two omega-3–poor diets, or Eucalyptus pollen, showed greatly reduced learning abilities in conditioned proboscis-extension assays compared with those fed omega-3–rich diets, or omega-3–rich pollen mixture. The effect on performance was not due to reduced sucrose sensitivity. Omega-3 deficiency also led to smaller hypopharyngeal glands. Bee brains contained high omega-3 concentrations, which were only slightly affected by diet, suggesting additional peripheral effects on learning. The shift from a low to high omega-6:3 ratio in the Western human diet is deemed a primary cause of many diseases and reduced mental health. A similar shift seems to be occurring in bee forage, possibly an important factor in colony declines. Our study shows the detrimental effect on cognitive performance of omega-3 deficiency in a nonmammal. PMID:26644556

  6. Pathogen webs in collapsing honey bee colonies.

    PubMed

    Cornman, R Scott; Tarpy, David R; Chen, Yanping; Jeffreys, Lacey; Lopez, Dawn; Pettis, Jeffery S; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis; Evans, Jay D

    2012-01-01

    Recent losses in honey bee colonies are unusual in their severity, geographical distribution, and, in some cases, failure to present recognized characteristics of known disease. Domesticated honey bees face numerous pests and pathogens, tempting hypotheses that colony collapses arise from exposure to new or resurgent pathogens. Here we explore the incidence and abundance of currently known honey bee pathogens in colonies suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), otherwise weak colonies, and strong colonies from across the United States. Although pathogen identities differed between the eastern and western United States, there was a greater incidence and abundance of pathogens in CCD colonies. Pathogen loads were highly covariant in CCD but not control hives, suggesting that CCD colonies rapidly become susceptible to a diverse set of pathogens, or that co-infections can act synergistically to produce the rapid depletion of workers that characterizes the disorder. We also tested workers from a CCD-free apiary to confirm that significant positive correlations among pathogen loads can develop at the level of individual bees and not merely as a secondary effect of CCD. This observation and other recent data highlight pathogen interactions as important components of bee disease. Finally, we used deep RNA sequencing to further characterize microbial diversity in CCD and non-CCD hives. We identified novel strains of the recently described Lake Sinai viruses (LSV) and found evidence of a shift in gut bacterial composition that may be a biomarker of CCD. The results are discussed with respect to host-parasite interactions and other environmental stressors of honey bees.

  7. Pathogen Webs in Collapsing Honey Bee Colonies

    PubMed Central

    Cornman, R. Scott; Tarpy, David R.; Chen, Yanping; Jeffreys, Lacey; Lopez, Dawn; Pettis, Jeffery S.; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis; Evans, Jay D.

    2012-01-01

    Recent losses in honey bee colonies are unusual in their severity, geographical distribution, and, in some cases, failure to present recognized characteristics of known disease. Domesticated honey bees face numerous pests and pathogens, tempting hypotheses that colony collapses arise from exposure to new or resurgent pathogens. Here we explore the incidence and abundance of currently known honey bee pathogens in colonies suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), otherwise weak colonies, and strong colonies from across the United States. Although pathogen identities differed between the eastern and western United States, there was a greater incidence and abundance of pathogens in CCD colonies. Pathogen loads were highly covariant in CCD but not control hives, suggesting that CCD colonies rapidly become susceptible to a diverse set of pathogens, or that co-infections can act synergistically to produce the rapid depletion of workers that characterizes the disorder. We also tested workers from a CCD-free apiary to confirm that significant positive correlations among pathogen loads can develop at the level of individual bees and not merely as a secondary effect of CCD. This observation and other recent data highlight pathogen interactions as important components of bee disease. Finally, we used deep RNA sequencing to further characterize microbial diversity in CCD and non-CCD hives. We identified novel strains of the recently described Lake Sinai viruses (LSV) and found evidence of a shift in gut bacterial composition that may be a biomarker of CCD. The results are discussed with respect to host-parasite interactions and other environmental stressors of honey bees. PMID:22927991

  8. Omega-3 deficiency impairs honey bee learning.

    PubMed

    Arien, Yael; Dag, Arnon; Zarchin, Shlomi; Masci, Tania; Shafir, Sharoni

    2015-12-22

    Deficiency in essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly the long-chain form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has been linked to health problems in mammals, including many mental disorders and reduced cognitive performance. Insects have very low long-chain PUFA concentrations, and the effect of omega-3 deficiency on cognition in insects has not been studied. We show a low omega-6:3 ratio of pollen collected by honey bee colonies in heterogenous landscapes and in many hand-collected pollens that we analyzed. We identified Eucalyptus as an important bee-forage plant particularly poor in omega-3 and high in the omega-6:3 ratio. We tested the effect of dietary omega-3 deficiency on olfactory and tactile associative learning of the economically highly valued honey bee. Bees fed either of two omega-3-poor diets, or Eucalyptus pollen, showed greatly reduced learning abilities in conditioned proboscis-extension assays compared with those fed omega-3-rich diets, or omega-3-rich pollen mixture. The effect on performance was not due to reduced sucrose sensitivity. Omega-3 deficiency also led to smaller hypopharyngeal glands. Bee brains contained high omega-3 concentrations, which were only slightly affected by diet, suggesting additional peripheral effects on learning. The shift from a low to high omega-6:3 ratio in the Western human diet is deemed a primary cause of many diseases and reduced mental health. A similar shift seems to be occurring in bee forage, possibly an important factor in colony declines. Our study shows the detrimental effect on cognitive performance of omega-3 deficiency in a nonmammal.

  9. Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus and Nosema ceranae Experimental Co-Infection of Winter Honey Bee Workers (Apis mellifera L.)

    PubMed Central

    Toplak, Ivan; Jamnikar Ciglenečki, Urška; Aronstein, Katherine; Gregorc, Aleš

    2013-01-01

    Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is an important viral disease of adult bees which induces significant losses in honey bee colonies. Despite comprehensive research, only limited data is available from experimental infection for this virus. In the present study winter worker bees were experimentally infected in three different experiments. Bees were first inoculated per os (p/o) or per cuticle (p/c) with CBPV field strain M92/2010 in order to evaluate the virus replication in individual bees. In addition, potential synergistic effects of co-infection with CBPV and Nosema ceranae (N. ceranae) on bees were investigated. In total 558 individual bees were inoculated in small cages and data were analyzed using quantitative real time RT-PCR (RT-qPCR). Our results revealed successful replication of CBPV after p/o inoculation, while it was less effective when bees were inoculated p/c. Dead bees harbored about 1,000 times higher copy numbers of the virus than live bees. Co-infection of workers with CBPV and N. ceranae using either method of virus inoculation (p/c or p/o) showed increased replication ability for CBPV. In the third experiment the effect of inoculation on bee mortality was evaluated. The highest level of bee mortality was observed in a group of bees inoculated with CBPV p/o, followed by a group of workers simultaneously inoculated with CBPV and N. ceranae p/o, followed by the group inoculated with CBPV p/c and the group with only N. ceranae p/o. The experimental infection with CBPV showed important differences after p/o or p/c inoculation in winter bees, while simultaneous infection with CBPV and N. ceranae suggesting a synergistic effect after inoculation. PMID:24056674

  10. Chronic bee paralysis virus and Nosema ceranae experimental co-infection of winter honey bee workers (Apis mellifera L.).

    PubMed

    Toplak, Ivan; Jamnikar Ciglenečki, Urška; Aronstein, Katherine; Gregorc, Aleš

    2013-09-01

    Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is an important viral disease of adult bees which induces significant losses in honey bee colonies. Despite comprehensive research, only limited data is available from experimental infection for this virus. In the present study winter worker bees were experimentally infected in three different experiments. Bees were first inoculated per os (p/o) or per cuticle (p/c) with CBPV field strain M92/2010 in order to evaluate the virus replication in individual bees. In addition, potential synergistic effects of co-infection with CBPV and Nosema ceranae (N. ceranae) on bees were investigated. In total 558 individual bees were inoculated in small cages and data were analyzed using quantitative real time RT-PCR (RT-qPCR). Our results revealed successful replication of CBPV after p/o inoculation, while it was less effective when bees were inoculated p/c. Dead bees harbored about 1,000 times higher copy numbers of the virus than live bees. Co-infection of workers with CBPV and N. ceranae using either method of virus inoculation (p/c or p/o) showed increased replication ability for CBPV. In the third experiment the effect of inoculation on bee mortality was evaluated. The highest level of bee mortality was observed in a group of bees inoculated with CBPV p/o, followed by a group of workers simultaneously inoculated with CBPV and N. ceranae p/o, followed by the group inoculated with CBPV p/c and the group with only N. ceranae p/o. The experimental infection with CBPV showed important differences after p/o or p/c inoculation in winter bees, while simultaneous infection with CBPV and N. ceranae suggesting a synergistic effect after inoculation.

  11. Nosema ceranae in European honey bees (Apis mellifera).

    PubMed

    Fries, Ingemar

    2010-01-01

    Nosema ceranae is a microsporidian parasite described from the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana. The parasite is cross-infective with the European honey bee, Apis mellifera. It is not known when or where N. ceranae first infected European bees, but N. ceranae has probably been infecting European bees for at least two decades. N. ceranae appears to be replacing Nosema apis, at least in some populations of European honey bees. This replacement is an enigma because the spores of the new parasite are less durable than those of N. apis. Virulence data at both the individual bee and at the colony level are conflicting possibly because the impact of this parasite differs in different environments. The recent advancements in N. ceranae genetics, with a draft assembly of the N. ceranae genome available, are discussed and the need for increased research on the impacts of this parasite on European honey bees is emphasized. PMID:19909977

  12. Nosema ceranae in European honey bees (Apis mellifera).

    PubMed

    Fries, Ingemar

    2010-01-01

    Nosema ceranae is a microsporidian parasite described from the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana. The parasite is cross-infective with the European honey bee, Apis mellifera. It is not known when or where N. ceranae first infected European bees, but N. ceranae has probably been infecting European bees for at least two decades. N. ceranae appears to be replacing Nosema apis, at least in some populations of European honey bees. This replacement is an enigma because the spores of the new parasite are less durable than those of N. apis. Virulence data at both the individual bee and at the colony level are conflicting possibly because the impact of this parasite differs in different environments. The recent advancements in N. ceranae genetics, with a draft assembly of the N. ceranae genome available, are discussed and the need for increased research on the impacts of this parasite on European honey bees is emphasized.

  13. Can poisons stimulate bees? Appreciating the potential of hormesis in bee-pesticide research.

    PubMed

    Cutler, G Christopher; Rix, Rachel R

    2015-10-01

    Hormesis, a biphasic dose response whereby exposure to low doses of a stressor can stimulate biological processes, has been reported in many organisms, including pest insects when they are exposed to low doses of a pesticide. However, awareness of the hormesis phenomenon seems to be limited among bee researchers, in spite of the increased emphasis of late on pollinator toxicology and risk assessment. In this commentary, we show that there are several examples in the literature of substances that are toxic to bees at high doses but stimulatory at low doses. Appreciation of the hormetic dose response by bee researchers will improve our fundamental understanding of how bees respond to low doses of chemical stressors, and may be useful in pollinator risk assessment.

  14. Local bumble bee decline linked to recovery of honey bees, drought effects on floral resources.

    PubMed

    Thomson, Diane M

    2016-10-01

    Time series of abundances are critical for understanding how abiotic factors and species interactions affect population dynamics, but are rarely linked with experiments and also scarce for bee pollinators. This gap is important given concerns about declines in some bee species. I monitored honey bee (Apis mellifera) and bumble bee (Bombus spp.) foragers in coastal California from 1999, when feral A. mellifera populations were low due to Varroa destructor, until 2014. Apis mellifera increased substantially, except between 2006 and 2011, coinciding with declines in managed populations. Increases in A. mellifera strongly correlated with declines in Bombus and reduced diet overlap between them, suggesting resource competition consistent with past experimental results. Lower Bombus numbers also correlated with diminished floral resources. Declines in floral abundances were associated with drought and reduced spring rainfall. These results illustrate how competition with an introduced species may interact with climate to drive local decline of native pollinators. PMID:27539950

  15. Local bumble bee decline linked to recovery of honey bees, drought effects on floral resources.

    PubMed

    Thomson, Diane M

    2016-10-01

    Time series of abundances are critical for understanding how abiotic factors and species interactions affect population dynamics, but are rarely linked with experiments and also scarce for bee pollinators. This gap is important given concerns about declines in some bee species. I monitored honey bee (Apis mellifera) and bumble bee (Bombus spp.) foragers in coastal California from 1999, when feral A. mellifera populations were low due to Varroa destructor, until 2014. Apis mellifera increased substantially, except between 2006 and 2011, coinciding with declines in managed populations. Increases in A. mellifera strongly correlated with declines in Bombus and reduced diet overlap between them, suggesting resource competition consistent with past experimental results. Lower Bombus numbers also correlated with diminished floral resources. Declines in floral abundances were associated with drought and reduced spring rainfall. These results illustrate how competition with an introduced species may interact with climate to drive local decline of native pollinators.

  16. Visible and near-infrared spectroscopy detects queen honey bee insemination

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The abdomens of honey bee queens, the heads of worker bees, and the ventriculi of worker bees were analyzed by visible and near-infrared spectroscopy. Mated honey bee queens could be distinguished from virgin queens by their spectra with 100% accuracy. Also, the heads of worker bees taken from the...

  17. Visible and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Detects Honey Bee Queen Insemination

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The abdomens of honey bee queens, the heads of worker bees, and the ventriculi of worker bees were analyzed by visible and near-infrared spectroscopy. Mated honey bee queens could be distinguished from virgin queens by their spectra with 100% accuracy. Also, the heads of worker bees taken from the ...

  18. Chem I Supplement: Bee Sting: The Chemistry of an Insect Venom.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Connor, Rod; Peck, Larry

    1980-01-01

    Considers various aspects of bee stings including the physical mechanism of the venom apparatus in the bee, categorization of physiological responses of nonprotected individuals to bee sting, chemical composition of bee venom and the mechanisms of venom action, and areas of interest in the synthesis of bee venom. (CS)

  19. Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline

    PubMed Central

    Bromenshenk, Jerry J.; Henderson, Colin B.; Wick, Charles H.; Stanford, Michael F.; Zulich, Alan W.; Jabbour, Rabih E.; Deshpande, Samir V.; McCubbin, Patrick E.; Seccomb, Robert A.; Welch, Phillip M.; Williams, Trevor; Firth, David R.; Skowronski, Evan; Lehmann, Margaret M.; Bilimoria, Shan L.; Gress, Joanna; Wanner, Kevin W.; Cramer, Robert A.

    2010-01-01

    Background In 2010 Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), again devastated honey bee colonies in the USA, indicating that the problem is neither diminishing nor has it been resolved. Many CCD investigations, using sensitive genome-based methods, have found small RNA bee viruses and the microsporidia, Nosema apis and N. ceranae in healthy and collapsing colonies alike with no single pathogen firmly linked to honey bee losses. Methodology/Principal Findings We used Mass spectrometry-based proteomics (MSP) to identify and quantify thousands of proteins from healthy and collapsing bee colonies. MSP revealed two unreported RNA viruses in North American honey bees, Varroa destructor-1 virus and Kakugo virus, and identified an invertebrate iridescent virus (IIV) (Iridoviridae) associated with CCD colonies. Prevalence of IIV significantly discriminated among strong, failing, and collapsed colonies. In addition, bees in failing colonies contained not only IIV, but also Nosema. Co-occurrence of these microbes consistently marked CCD in (1) bees from commercial apiaries sampled across the U.S. in 2006–2007, (2) bees sequentially sampled as the disorder progressed in an observation hive colony in 2008, and (3) bees from a recurrence of CCD in Florida in 2009. The pathogen pairing was not observed in samples from colonies with no history of CCD, namely bees from Australia and a large, non-migratory beekeeping business in Montana. Laboratory cage trials with a strain of IIV type 6 and Nosema ceranae confirmed that co-infection with these two pathogens was more lethal to bees than either pathogen alone. Conclusions/Significance These findings implicate co-infection by IIV and Nosema with honey bee colony decline, giving credence to older research pointing to IIV, interacting with Nosema and mites, as probable cause of bee losses in the USA, Europe, and Asia. We next need to characterize the IIV and Nosema that we detected and develop management practices to reduce honey bee losses

  20. Minimizing the time and cost of production of transgenic alfalfa libraries using the highly efficient completely sequenced vector pPZP200BAR.

    PubMed

    Jozefkowicz, Cintia; Bottero, Emilia; Pascuan, Cecilia; Pagano, Elba; Ayub, Nicolás Daniel; Soto, Gabriela

    2016-09-01

    Alfalfa is the most important forage legume worldwide. However, similar to other minor forage crops, it is usually harvested along with weeds, which decrease its nutrient quality and thus reduce its high value in the market. In addition, weeds reduce alfalfa yield by about 50 %. Although weeds are the limiting factor for alfalfa production, little progress has been made in the incorporation of herbicide-tolerant traits into commercial alfalfa. This is partially due to the high times and costs needed for the production of vast numbers of transgenic alfalfa events as an empirical approach to bypass the random transgenic silencing and for the identification of an event with optimal transgene expression. In this focus article, we report the complete sequence of pPZP200BAR and the extremely high efficiency of this binary vector in alfalfa transformation, opening the way for rapid and inexpensive production of transgenic events for alfalfa improvement public programs.

  1. Minimizing the time and cost of production of transgenic alfalfa libraries using the highly efficient completely sequenced vector pPZP200BAR.

    PubMed

    Jozefkowicz, Cintia; Bottero, Emilia; Pascuan, Cecilia; Pagano, Elba; Ayub, Nicolás Daniel; Soto, Gabriela

    2016-09-01

    Alfalfa is the most important forage legume worldwide. However, similar to other minor forage crops, it is usually harvested along with weeds, which decrease its nutrient quality and thus reduce its high value in the market. In addition, weeds reduce alfalfa yield by about 50 %. Although weeds are the limiting factor for alfalfa production, little progress has been made in the incorporation of herbicide-tolerant traits into commercial alfalfa. This is partially due to the high times and costs needed for the production of vast numbers of transgenic alfalfa events as an empirical approach to bypass the random transgenic silencing and for the identification of an event with optimal transgene expression. In this focus article, we report the complete sequence of pPZP200BAR and the extremely high efficiency of this binary vector in alfalfa transformation, opening the way for rapid and inexpensive production of transgenic events for alfalfa improvement public programs. PMID:27447893

  2. Pesticides and reduced-risk insecticides, native bees and pantropical stingless bees: pitfalls and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Barbosa, Wagner F; Smagghe, Guy; Guedes, Raul Narciso C

    2015-08-01

    Although invertebrates generally have a low public profile, the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., is a flagship species whose popularity likely derives from the products it provides and its perceived ecological services. Therefore, the raging debate regarding honey bee decline has surpassed the realm of beekeepers, academia, industry and regulatory agencies and now also encompasses non-governmental agencies, media, fiction writers and the general public. The early interest and concern about honey bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) soon shifted to the bigger issue of pollinator decline, with a focus on the potential involvement of pesticides in such a phenomenon. Pesticides were previously recognised as the potential culprits of the reported declines, particularly the neonicotinoid insecticides owing to their widespread and peculiar use in agriculture. However, the evidence for the potential pivotal role of these neonicotinoids in honey bee decline remains a matter of debate, with an increased recognition of the multifactorial nature of the problem and the lack of a direct association between the noted decline and neonicotinoid use. The focus on the decline of honey bee populations subsequently spread to other species, and bumblebees became another matter of concern, particularly in Europe and the United States. Other bee species, ones that are particularly important in other regions of the world, remain the object of little concern (unjustifiably so). Furthermore, the continuous focus on neonicotinoids is also in need of revision, as the current evidence suggests that a broad spectrum of compounds deserve attention. Here we address both shortcomings.

  3. Distinctive Gut Microbiota of Honey Bees Assessed Using Deep Sampling from Individual Worker Bees

    PubMed Central

    Moran, Nancy A.; Hansen, Allison K.; Powell, J. Elijah; Sabree, Zakee L.

    2012-01-01

    Surveys of 16S rDNA sequences from the honey bee, Apis mellifera, have revealed the presence of eight distinctive bacterial phylotypes in intestinal tracts of adult worker bees. Because previous studies have been limited to relatively few sequences from samples pooled from multiple hosts, the extent of variation in this microbiota among individuals within and between colonies and locations has been unclear. We surveyed the gut microbiota of 40 individual workers from two sites, Arizona and Maryland USA, sampling four colonies per site. Universal primers were used to amplify regions of 16S ribosomal RNA genes, and amplicons were sequenced using 454 pyrotag methods, enabling analysis of about 330,000 bacterial reads. Over 99% of these sequences belonged to clusters for which the first blastn hits in GenBank were members of the known bee phylotypes. Four phylotypes, one within Gammaproteobacteria (corresponding to “Candidatus Gilliamella apicola”) one within Betaproteobacteria (“Candidatus Snodgrassella alvi”), and two within Lactobacillus, were present in every bee, though their frequencies varied. The same typical bacterial phylotypes were present in all colonies and at both sites. Community profiles differed significantly among colonies and between sites, mostly due to the presence in some Arizona colonies of two species of Enterobacteriaceae not retrieved previously from bees. Analysis of Sanger sequences of rRNA of the Snodgrassella and Gilliamella phylotypes revealed that single bees contain numerous distinct strains of each phylotype. Strains showed some differentiation between localities, especially for the Snodgrassella phylotype. PMID:22558460

  4. Way-finding in displaced clock-shifted bees proves bees use a cognitive map

    PubMed Central

    Cheeseman, James F.; Millar, Craig D.; Greggers, Uwe; Lehmann, Konstantin; Pawley, Matthew D. M.; Gallistel, Charles R.; Warman, Guy R.; Menzel, Randolf

    2014-01-01

    Mammals navigate by means of a metric cognitive map. Insects, most notably bees and ants, are also impressive navigators. The question whether they, too, have a metric cognitive map is important to cognitive science and neuroscience. Experimentally captured and displaced bees often depart from the release site in the compass direction they were bent on before their capture, even though this no longer heads them toward their goal. When they discover their error, however, the bees set off more or less directly toward their goal. This ability to orient toward a goal from an arbitrary point in the familiar environment is evidence that they have an integrated metric map of the experienced environment. We report a test of an alternative hypothesis, which is that all the bees have in memory is a collection of snapshots that enable them to recognize different landmarks and, associated with each such snapshot, a sun-compass–referenced home vector derived from dead reckoning done before and after previous visits to the landmark. We show that a large shift in the sun-compass rapidly induced by general anesthesia does not alter the accuracy or speed of the homeward-oriented flight made after the bees discover the error in their initial postrelease flight. This result rules out the sun-referenced home-vector hypothesis, further strengthening the now extensive evidence for a metric cognitive map in bees. PMID:24889633

  5. Bees' subtle colour preferences: how bees respond to small changes in pigment concentration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papiorek, Sarah; Rohde, Katja; Lunau, Klaus

    2013-07-01

    Variability in flower colour of animal-pollinated plants is common and caused, inter alia, by inter-individual differences in pigment concentrations. If and how pollinators, especially bees, respond to these small differences in pigment concentration is not known, but it is likely that flower colour variability impacts the choice behaviour of all flower visitors that exhibit innate and learned colour preferences. In behavioural experiments, we simulated varying pigment concentrations and studied its impact on the colour choices of bumblebees and honeybees. Individual bees were trained to artificial flowers having a specific concentration of a pigment, i.e. Acridine Orange or Aniline Blue, and then given the simultaneous choice between three test colours including the training colour, one colour of lower and one colour of higher pigment concentration. For each pigment, two set-ups were provided, covering the range of low to middle and the range of middle to high pigment concentrations. Despite the small bee-subjective perceptual contrasts between the tested stimuli and regardless of training towards medium concentrations, bees preferred neither the training stimuli nor the stimuli offering the highest pigment concentration but more often chose those stimuli offering the highest spectral purity and the highest chromatic contrast against the background. Overall, this study suggests that bees choose an intermediate pigment concentration due to its optimal conspicuousness. It is concluded that the spontaneous preferences of bees for flower colours of high spectral purity might exert selective pressure on the evolution of floral colours and of flower pigmentation.

  6. Pesticides and reduced-risk insecticides, native bees and pantropical stingless bees: pitfalls and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Barbosa, Wagner F; Smagghe, Guy; Guedes, Raul Narciso C

    2015-08-01

    Although invertebrates generally have a low public profile, the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., is a flagship species whose popularity likely derives from the products it provides and its perceived ecological services. Therefore, the raging debate regarding honey bee decline has surpassed the realm of beekeepers, academia, industry and regulatory agencies and now also encompasses non-governmental agencies, media, fiction writers and the general public. The early interest and concern about honey bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) soon shifted to the bigger issue of pollinator decline, with a focus on the potential involvement of pesticides in such a phenomenon. Pesticides were previously recognised as the potential culprits of the reported declines, particularly the neonicotinoid insecticides owing to their widespread and peculiar use in agriculture. However, the evidence for the potential pivotal role of these neonicotinoids in honey bee decline remains a matter of debate, with an increased recognition of the multifactorial nature of the problem and the lack of a direct association between the noted decline and neonicotinoid use. The focus on the decline of honey bee populations subsequently spread to other species, and bumblebees became another matter of concern, particularly in Europe and the United States. Other bee species, ones that are particularly important in other regions of the world, remain the object of little concern (unjustifiably so). Furthermore, the continuous focus on neonicotinoids is also in need of revision, as the current evidence suggests that a broad spectrum of compounds deserve attention. Here we address both shortcomings. PMID:25892651

  7. Way-finding in displaced clock-shifted bees proves bees use a cognitive map.

    PubMed

    Cheeseman, James F; Millar, Craig D; Greggers, Uwe; Lehmann, Konstantin; Pawley, Matthew D M; Gallistel, Charles R; Warman, Guy R; Menzel, Randolf

    2014-06-17

    Mammals navigate by means of a metric cognitive map. Insects, most notably bees and ants, are also impressive navigators. The question whether they, too, have a metric cognitive map is important to cognitive science and neuroscience. Experimentally captured and displaced bees often depart from the release site in the compass direction they were bent on before their capture, even though this no longer heads them toward their goal. When they discover their error, however, the bees set off more or less directly toward their goal. This ability to orient toward a goal from an arbitrary point in the familiar environment is evidence that they have an integrated metric map of the experienced environment. We report a test of an alternative hypothesis, which is that all the bees have in memory is a collection of snapshots that enable them to recognize different landmarks and, associated with each such snapshot, a sun-compass-referenced home vector derived from dead reckoning done before and after previous visits to the landmark. We show that a large shift in the sun-compass rapidly induced by general anesthesia does not alter the accuracy or speed of the homeward-oriented flight made after the bees discover the error in their initial postrelease flight. This result rules out the sun-referenced home-vector hypothesis, further strengthening the now extensive evidence for a metric cognitive map in bees.

  8. Fixed-precision sequential sampling plans for estimating alfalfa caterpillar, Colias lesbia, egg density in alfalfa, Medicago sativa, fields in Córdoba, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Serra, Gerardo V; Porta, Norma C La; Avalos, Susana; Mazzuferi, Vilma

    2013-01-01

    The alfalfa caterpillar, Colias lesbia (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae), is a major pest of alfalfa, Medicago sativa L. (Fabales: Fabaceae), crops in Argentina. Its management is based mainly on chemical control of larvae whenever the larvae exceed the action threshold. To develop and validate fixed-precision sequential sampling plans, an intensive sampling programme for C. lesbia eggs was carried out in two alfalfa plots located in the Province of Córdoba, Argentina, from 1999 to 2002. Using Resampling for Validation of Sampling Plans software, 12 additional independent data sets were used to validate the sequential sampling plan with precision levels of 0.10 and 0.25 (SE/mean), respectively. For a range of mean densities of 0.10 to 8.35 eggs/sample, an average sample size of only 27 and 26 sample units was required to achieve a desired precision level of 0.25 for the sampling plans of Green and Kuno, respectively. As the precision level was increased to 0.10, average sample size increased to 161 and 157 sample units for the sampling plans of Green and Kuno, respectively. We recommend using Green's sequential sampling plan because it is less sensitive to changes in egg density. These sampling plans are a valuable tool for researchers to study population dynamics and to evaluate integrated pest management strategies.

  9. Fixed-Precision Sequential Sampling Plans for Estimating Alfalfa Caterpillar, Colias lesbia, Egg Density in Alfalfa, Medicago sativa, Fields in Córdoba, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Serra, Gerardo V.; Porta, Norma C. La; Avalos, Susana; Mazzuferi, Vilma

    2013-01-01

    The alfalfa caterpillar, Colias lesbia (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae), is a major pest of alfalfa, Medicago sativa L. (Fabales: Fabaceae), crops in Argentina. Its management is based mainly on chemical control of larvae whenever the larvae exceed the action threshold. To develop and validate fixed-precision sequential sampling plans, an intensive sampling programme for C. lesbia eggs was carried out in two alfalfa plots located in the Province of Córdoba, Argentina, from 1999 to 2002. Using Resampling for Validation of Sampling Plans software, 12 additional independent data sets were used to validate the sequential sampling plan with precision levels of 0.10 and 0.25 (SE/mean), respectively. For a range of mean densities of 0.10 to 8.35 eggs/sample, an average sample size of only 27 and 26 sample units was required to achieve a desired precision level of 0.25 for the sampling plans of Green and Kuno, respectively. As the precision level was increased to 0.10, average sample size increased to 161 and 157 sample units for the sampling plans of Green and Kuno, respectively. We recommend using Green's sequential sampling plan because it is less sensitive to changes in egg density. These sampling plans are a valuable tool for researchers to study population dynamics and to evaluate integrated pest management strategies. PMID:23909840

  10. Antibacterial properties of propolis (bee glue).

    PubMed Central

    Grange, J M; Davey, R W

    1990-01-01

    Propolis (bee glue) was found to have antibacterial activity against a range of commonly encountered cocci and Gram-positive rods, including the human tubercle bacillus, but only limited activity against Gram-negative bacilli. These findings confirm previous reports of antimicrobial properties of this material, possibly attributable to its high flavonoid content. PMID:2182860

  11. Testing Honey Bees' Avoidance of Predators

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robinson, Jesse Wade; Nieh, James C.; Goodale, Eben

    2012-01-01

    Many high school science students do not encounter opportunities for authentic science inquiry in their formal coursework. Ecological field studies can provide such opportunities. The purpose of this project was to teach students about the process of science by designing and conducting experiments on whether and how honey bees (Apis mellifera)…

  12. Octopamine modulates honey bee dance behavior

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bees communicate the location and desirability of valuable forage sites to their nest mates via an elaborate, symbolic ‘dance language’. The dance language is a uniquely complex communication system in invertebrates, and the neural mechanisms that generate dances are largely unknown. Here we ...

  13. Predictive markers of honey bee colony collapse

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Managed honey bee colonies are currently affected by abrupt depopulation during winter and many factors are suspected to be involved, either alone or in combination. Pathogens are considered as principal actors, contributing to weaken colony health and leaving room for secondary infections. In parti...

  14. Tragedy of the commons in Melipona bees.

    PubMed Central

    Wenseleers, Tom; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2004-01-01

    In human society selfish use of common resources can lead to disaster, a situation known as the 'tragedy of the commons' (TOC). Although a TOC is usually prevented by coercion, theory predicts that close kinship ties can also favour reduced exploitation. We test this prediction using data on a TOC occurring in Melipona bee societies. PMID:15504003

  15. Tragedy of the commons in Melipona bees.

    PubMed

    Wenseleers, Tom; Ratnieks, Francis L W

    2004-08-01

    In human society selfish use of common resources can lead to disaster, a situation known as the 'tragedy of the commons' (TOC). Although a TOC is usually prevented by coercion, theory predicts that close kinship ties can also favour reduced exploitation. We test this prediction using data on a TOC occurring in Melipona bee societies.

  16. Geography and Teaching: National Geography Bee?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Eichen, Marc

    1988-01-01

    Questions value of the National Geography Bee proposed by the National Geographic Society because the public may see geography content as unrelated facts; students may not be motivated; and content can be trivialized. Encourages group competitions that focus on conceptual and regional themes combined with societal, environmental, and locational…

  17. Quiz Time in the Classroom: Spelling Bee.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fox, Annie

    1982-01-01

    "Spelling Bee" is a computer program (Applesoft Basic), suitable for grades K-3, consisting of several "modes" and 11 units of spelling words. "Modes" include Demonstration (teacher preview of lessons), Learning Management (test preparation), Tutorial (student practice), and Drill (spelling test, which can be designed to meet individual student…

  18. Integrated protein production and electricity generation using renewable alfalfa feedstock in a combination advanced IGCC and feed processing arrangement

    SciTech Connect

    DeLong, M.M.; Oelke, E.A.; Hanson, C.

    1999-07-01

    A feasibility study was conducted to determine the viability of a co-production concept of alfalfa leaf meal as a concentrated protein animal feed and the generation of electricity from the remaining stem material. Alfalfa is a well-known and widely-planted crop that offers environmental and soil conservation advantages when grown as a 4-year segment in a 7-year rotation with corn and soybeans. Alfalfa fixes nitrogen from the air, thereby enhancing soil nitrogen and decreasing the need for manufactured nitrogen fertilizer. With alfalfa yields of 8.96 metric tonnes/hectare (4 dry tons per acre) per year and with separated alfalfa leaves being sold as a high-value animal feed, separated alfalfa stems can be economically viable fuel feedstock for a gasifier/combined cycle power plant. This paper reports on a feasibility study for an integrated biomass power system, where an energy crop (alfalfa) is coupled to a processing plant and a power plant (integrated gasification combined cycle with hot gas cleanup) in a way that benefits the joint venture of an alfalfa producers cooperative and a utility entity. The sale of a mid-level protein animal feed-co-product and electricity both support the production cost of alfalfa. The co-product/fuel processing operation uses a common train of equipment, thereby requiring neither product to carry the total cost. The power plant provides an important continuous demand for the feedstock and results in continuous supply of leaf product to provide a reliable supply needed for the leaf meal product. This concept provides a means for rural economic development with a sustainable approach to production agriculture.

  19. Effects of alfalfa hay inclusion rate on productivity of lactating dairy cattle fed wet corn gluten feed-based diets.

    PubMed

    Mullins, C R; Grigsby, K N; Bradford, B J

    2009-07-01

    An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of varying the alfalfa inclusion rate in diets containing 31% (dry matter basis) wet corn gluten feed (Sweet Bran, Cargill Inc.). Eighty primiparous and multiparous Holstein cows averaging 178 +/- 90 d in milk (mean +/- SD) were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 sequences in a 4 x 4 Latin square design with 28-d periods. Treatments were diets containing 0, 7, 14, or 21% alfalfa on a dry matter basis, with corn silage, corn grain, soybean meal, expeller soybean meal, and mineral supplements varying across diets to maintain uniform nutrient densities. Diets were formulated for similar crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, and nonfiber carbohydrate concentrations. Feed intake, milk production, body weight, and body condition score were monitored, and linear and quadratic effects of increasing the alfalfa inclusion rate were assessed using mixed model analysis. As the alfalfa inclusion rate increased, dry matter intake tended to increase linearly (26.7, 27.3, 27.4, and 27.5 kg/d for 0, 7, 14, and 21% alfalfa, respectively), and solids-corrected milk (29.9, 30.2, 30.8, and 30.5 kg/d) and energy-corrected milk production (32.9, 33.3, 33.8, and 33.6 kg/d) tended to increase linearly. Body weight gain decreased linearly (22.9, 18.0, 11.2, and 9.5 kg/28 d) with increasing alfalfa inclusion rate. Although increasing the inclusion rate of alfalfa increased the proportion of large particles in the diets, treatments had no effect on milk fat yield or concentration. Feeding more alfalfa (up to 21% of dry matter) tended to increase milk yield while decreasing body weight gain, suggesting that metabolizable energy utilization shifted from body weight gain to milk production in these treatments. However, adding alfalfa to the diet had only minor effects on productivity.

  20. Canopy visible and near-infrared reflectance data to estimate alfalfa nutritive attributes before harvest

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Proximal sensing could help improve profit margins by timing the cutting or harvesting of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), in rapid assessment of nutritive values, such as total nitrogen (N), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent fiber (ADF) as well as nutritive quality indicators such as r...