4.1.7. Beekeeper management of source colonies used to obtain adult workers for laboratory experiments

Beekeeper management practices can greatly influence a honey bee colony. For example, miticides used to control V. destructor can be found at high levels in honey bee products (Mullin et al., 2010), and could potentially be responsible for sub-lethal or synergistic effects on individuals (Wu et al., 2011; Pettis et al., 2012). Additionally, pathogens can occur in bee products (Gilliam, 1979), and be a local source of infection (Fries, 1993). Both chemicals residues and pathogens can accumulate on comb over time. It is important to fully understand beekeeper management of source colonies in the months, and even years, preceding collection of honey bees for laboratory tests. This includes gathering information on timing and type of medications, addition or removal of honey supers, condition of comb (e.g. old versus new), timing of previous comb replacement, queen age, requeening events, and origin of honey bee materials (e.g. wax foundation sourced locally or not, organic versus non-organic, etc.). Workers should not be collected during, or within 8 weeks of, the application of any honey bee pest or parasite control treatment. This will ensure that newly emerging workers and most “summer” individuals performing tasks inside the hive were not exposed to treatments (Winston, 1987). Researchers should acknowledge that residues from some treatments may persist in honey bee products and colonies for an extended period (Lodesani et al., 2008; Mullin et al. 2010).

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