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Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) are important pollinators in natural and agricultural ecosystems, and yet are in significant decline due to several factors including parasites, pathogens, pesticides, and habitat loss. A new beehive construction called the FlowTM hive was developed in 2015 to allow honey to be harvested directly from the hive without opening it, resulting in an apparent decrease in stress to the bees. Here, we compared the Flow and traditional Langstroth hive constructions to determine if there were any significant differences in the bee microbiome. The bee-associated bacterial communities did not differ between hive constructions and varied only slightly over the course of a honey production season. Samples were dominated by taxa belonging to the Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bartonella, Snodgrassella, Gilliamella, and Frischella genera, as observed in previous studies. The top ten most abundant taxa made up the majority of the sequence data; however, many low abundance organisms were persistent across the majority of samples regardless of sampling time or hive type. We additionally compared different preparations of whole bee and dissected bee samples to elaborate on previous bee microbiome research. We found that bacterial sequences were overwhelming derived from the bee guts, and microbes on the bee surfaces (including pollen) contributed little to the overall microbiome of whole bees. Overall, the results indicate that different hive constructions and associated disturbance levels do not influence the bee gut microbiome, which has broader implications for supporting hive health.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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A sweet viscous liquid food, produced in the honey sacs of various bees from nectar collected from flowers. The nectar is ripened into honey by inversion of its sucrose sugar into fructose and glucose. It is somewhat acidic and has mild antiseptic properties, being sometimes used in the treatment of burns and lacerations.
The medical use of honey bee products such as BEE VENOM; HONEY; bee pollen; PROPOLIS; and royal jelly.
A technique used to separate particles according to their densities in a continuous density gradient. The sample is usually mixed with a solution of known gradient materials and subjected to centrifugation. Each particle sediments to the position at which the gradient density is equal to its own. The range of the density gradient is usually greater than that of the sample particles. It is used in purifying biological materials such as proteins, nucleic acids, organelles, and cell types.
The analysis of a chemical substance by inserting a sample into a carrier stream of reagent using a sample injection valve that propels the sample downstream where mixing occurs in a coiled tube, then passes into a flow-through detector and a recorder or other data handling device.
A type of scanning probe microscopy in which a very sharp conducting needle is swept just a few angstroms above the surface of a sample. The tiny tunneling current that flows between the sample and the needle tip is measured, and from this are produced three-dimensional topographs. Due to the poor electron conductivity of most biological samples, thin metal coatings are deposited on the sample.
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