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Volume 2012, Article ID 193029, 9 pages
Research Article

Effects of Long Distance Transportation on Honey Bee Physiology

1Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2Department of Laboratory Animal Science, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi 330006, China
3Bee Research Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA

Received 4 April 2012; Accepted 24 May 2012

Academic Editor: Tugrul Giray

Copyright © 2012 Kiheung Ahn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Despite the requirement of long distance transportation of honey bees used for pollination, we understand little how transportation affects honey bees. Three trials in three different states (CA, GA, and MI) were conducted to study the effects of long distance transportation on honey bee physiology. Newly emerged bees from one colony were split into two groups and introduced into a transported (T) colony or a stationary (S) colony in each trial. Volumes of hypopharyngeal gland acini in T colonies were significantly smaller than S colonies in all three trials. There were no significant differences between S and T colonies in juvenile hormone titers. Protein content in head showed no significant differences between S and T either in 7-day-old or 17-day-old bees of MI trial, but GA trial showed a significant reduction in bees experiencing transportation. Protein content in thorax was only measured in GA trial and was not significantly different between the two groups. Lipid content in abdomen was not significantly different between the S and T colonies in all three trials. This study suggests that bees experiencing transportation have trouble fully developing their food glands and this might affect their ability to nurse the next generation of workers.