Pathogen prevalence and abundance in honey bee colonies involved in almond pollination
Ian Cavigli, Katie F. Daughenbaugh, Madison Martin, Michael Lerch, Katie Banner, Emma Garcia, Laura M. Brutscher, Michelle L. Flenniken
Honey bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops. Since 2006, US beekeepers have experienced high annual honey bee colony losses, which may be attributed to multiple abiotic and biotic factors, including pathogens. However, the relative importance of these factors has not been fully elucidated. To identify the most prevalent pathogens and investigate the relationship between colony strength and health, we assessed pathogen occurrence, prevalence, and abundance in Western US honey bee colonies involved in almond pollination. The most prevalent pathogens were Black queen cell virus (BQCV), Lake Sinai virus 2 (LSV2), Sacbrood virus (SBV), Nosema ceranae, and trypanosomatids. Our results indicated that pathogen prevalence and abundance were associated with both sampling date and beekeeping operation, that prevalence was highest in honey bee samples obtained immediately after almond pollination, and that weak colonies had a greater mean pathogen prevalence than strong colonies.
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