Honey Bee Nutrition – Early Detection of Malnutrition and Colony Collapse

'Honey bees need a range of elements to satisfy their nutritional requirements for normal growth and development. These elements include proteins (amino acids), carbohydrates (sugars), minerals, fats/lipids (fatty acids), vitamins and water.'

Fat Bees - Skinny Bees, RIRDC

Honey Bee Nutrition - Early detection of malnutrition and colony collapse

In this presentation Clarisa Castaños discusses her work in developing a time point when honey bees are on a nutritional decline and how to determine the best nutritional management strategies to minimise the risk of productivity loss. 

Presenter: Clarisa Castaños

Clara Elisa Castaños Sánchez de la Barquera (Clarisa Castaños) is a PhD candidate and  works with the CRC for Honey Bee Products; Honey Bee Health Research Group, School of Molecular Sciences, University of Western Australia.

Clarisa was born and raised in Mexico, where she studied a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

During her Bachelor Degree studies, Clarisa became interested in different areas of the Biological Sciences, especially the fields of Genetics and Molecular Science. As the result, for her Bachelor Degree thesis, Clarisa worked on a project about genetics and DNA regulations of bacteria.

More than Molecular Sciences, Clarisa has always been interested in insects and their behaviour, so for her Master’s studies thesis she decided to focus on the physiology and ecology of damselflies, whilst at the same time collaborating in the same field with the study of other insects.

Because Clarisa wanted to keep on working with insects, but with a molecular approach, she came to Australia to study a PhD at the University of Western Australia. Here she joined the Honey Bee Health Research Group of Dr Julia Grassl working with the CRC for Honey Bee Products. As part of this research group, Clarisa is studying honey bee nutrition through biochemical technics and beekeeping skills, to improve beekeeping management strategies across the industry.

Presentation Synopsis

A healthy nutritional condition on managed honey bees is essential for the provision of pollination services and the optimal productivity of honey. One major issue beekeepers have to deal with is to detect when bees are going into a nutritional decline and to manage their recovery after a period of malnutrition.

Here we identify the time point when honey bees are on a nutritional decline and determine the best nutritional management strategies to minimize the risk of productivity loss.

Using Mass Spectrometry analyses we compared the metabolomic profiles of the bees at different time points of starvation and supplemental feeding. We identified differences in amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates and proteins expression that reflect changes in the bee’s physiology. Finally, the molecular profiles could be correlated with hive condition indicators such as brood and honey quantity, hive weight, temperature and humidity.

Additional information

To view Clarisa’s PPT presentation, please click on the link below.
Honey Bee Nutrition: Early detection of malnutrition and colony collapse

Clarissa at work

Presentation Sponsor: Spitwater SA

A word from spitwater

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