Abstract In this study we show that honey bee colonies placed in a greenhouse for pollination of strawberry can simultaneously be used to indicate the presence of the plant pathogenic bacterium Erwinia pyrifoliae. This was demonstrated by using two methods of qualitative sacrificial and non-sacrificial bio sampling of the honey bee colony. A novel method for non-sacrificial subsampling, named the Beehold device, was applied. Applying the Beehold device did not disturb or affect negatively the honey bee colony. The study demonstrated that the integration of pollination service and bio-sampling functioned. In the sacrificially derived honey bee subsamples, E. pyrifoliae was detected prior to any visible infection in the plant; however, E. pyrifoliae was detected via non-sacrificial sampling at the same time as plant infection was first observed. The Beehold device is a practical tool for monitoring plant pathogens via forager bees during flowering until fruit onset, but is not as sensitive as directly sampling honey bees. Keywords: Beehold tube, bio sampling, Erwinia pyrifoliae, honey bee, non-sacrificial subsampling, sacrificial subsampling 1.
Perfect Match: Simultaneous Strawberry Pollination & Bio-Sampling of the Plant Pathogenic Bacterium
Dr. J.J.M. van der Steen (m) is teacher biologist (BSc) and environmentalist (MSc) by education. He worked from 1975 till 2017 in honeybee- bumblebee- and solitary bee research in institutes linked to Wageningen University and since 2004 in Wageningen University. He has been working on honeybee diseases amongst others on the interference of Nosema apis and the midgut microbiome of honeybees and varroa control strategies. He co-developed the indoor rearing on Bombus terrestris including bumblebee disease studies and diagnosis methods and developed a quality control system in bumble bee rearing. He conducted (citizen science) surveillance studies on winter mortality and vitality of the Dutch honeybee population. He is member of the Coloss network of bee researchers and was in the EC of the Coloss network from 2012 to 2016. He co-coordinated with dr R. Brodschneider from Graz university the Coloss citizen science project (2013- 2015) on pollen diversity in Europe. In ecotoxicology he implemented the GLP quality system in ecotoxicology studies with honeybees and bumblebees chaired the ICPPR bumblebee working group from 2002 to 2006 and the ICPPR non-apis working group from 2014 to 2017 developing standardized test protocols for bumblebees and solitary bees (Osmia sp.) laboratory and field. In 2010 he participated in a 2-year tripartite cooperation between The Netherlands Brazil and Kenia to develop laboratory tests for local pollinator species. Studies on interaction between the environment and honeybees and bumblebees focused on the bio-sampling capacity of the honeybee colony and the subsequent non-sacrificial subsampling of the honeybee colony resulted in the PhD thesis Beehold the colony of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) as a bio-sampler for pollutants and plant pathogens. He has published 23 peer-reviewed articles tens of popular scientific articles in beekeepers journals and 27 symposium- and conference abstracts.