4.1.6. Health of source colonies used to obtain adult workers for laboratory experiments

Multiple environmental pressures, such as pests, pathogens, and agricultural practices, acting singly or in combination, can influence honey bee health (Neumann and Carreck, 2010; vanEngelsdorp and Meixner, 2010; Williams et al., 2010), and therefore potentially their response to experimental treatments.  Ideally, workers used for experiments, as well as the colonies they are sourced from, should be free of pathogens, parasites, pests, and contaminants. In most cases this may not be possible, so at the very least factors potentially confounding results should be stated. Colonies with clinical symptoms of disease (e.g. chalkbrood mummies, foulbrood scales, dysentery, and individuals with deformed wings) should not be used, and infestation levels of the parasitic mite Varroa destructor on adults should be below economic and treatment thresholds for the particular region and time of year.

The purpose of the experiment will determine if presence/absence of certain pathogens, parasites, and pests of honey bees need to be considered. Refer to respective BEEBOOK papers for pathogen-specific diagnostic methods (Anderson et al. (2013) for Tropilaelaps spp., de Graaf et al. (2013) for American foulbrood, de Miranda et al. (2013) for viruses, Dietemann et al. (2013) for Varroa spp., Ellis et al. (2013) for wax moth, Forsgren et al. (2013) for European foulbrood, Fries  et al. (2013) for Nosema spp., Jensen et al. (2013) for fungi, Neumann et al. (2013) for small hive beetle, and Sammataro et al. (2013) for tracheal mites).