Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The life span and levels of oxidative stress in foragers between feral and managed honey bee colonies.

Abstract

Molecular damage caused by oxidative stress may lead to organismal aging and result in acute mortality to organisms. Thus, oxidative stress resistance and longevity are closely linked. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are the most important managed pollinator in agriculture, but the long-term survival of honey bees is seriously threatened. Feral honey bee colonies can be used as natural resources to improve honey bee health. One question we ask here is whether feral honey bees are stress resistant or survive longer than managed bee populations. More work is needed to determine the impact of oxidative stress on honey bee health and survival. In this study, we used paired colony designs to compare the life span of worker bees (foragers) between feral and managed colonies and their levels of oxidative stress. Each pair of colonies shared similar foraging resources. The results indicated that foragers in feral colonies had longer survival times and life spans than those in managed colonies. The levels of oxidative stress from lipid damage content in feral colonies were higher than those in managed colonies, indicating that they used a tolerance mechanism rather than a repair mechanism to survive. Our study provides new insights into a colony difference in the physiology and oxidative stress resistance of feral honey bees compared with managed colony stocks.