Project properties

Title Bee health in Sweden: Investigating behavioural defence strategies in mite resitant honey bees from the island of Gotland in Sweden.
Group Behavioural Ecology
Project type thesis
Credits 12-36
Supervisor(s) Séverine Kotrschal
(external Dr. Naomi Keehnen)
Examiner(s) Marc Naguib
Contact info severine.kotrschal@wur.nl
Begin date 2022/05/01
End date 2023/09/01
Description Healthy bees are crucial for the global food production. About one third of human diet directly or indirectly depends on successful pollination by bees. But the western honey bee struggles to survive. Colony numbers are rapidly declining partly due to the spread of introduced pathogens and pests. A small number of colonies however are resistant against certain diseases. The latter are of high economical and scientific value as they came up with an effective immune system and/or have evolved behavioral and colony-level mechanisms to protect their colonies. Such social defences are extensively studied in the honey bee (and other eusocial insects) and amongst others include allo-grooming which is the removal of infectious spores from infected nest mates, the collection and deposition of antimicrobial substances in the nest and social fever (raising the temperature in the hive to a pathogen unfriendly level by the collective contraction of flight muscles). In this project we will investigate behavioural defence mechanisms in the varroa mite resistant population of honey bees on the isolated island of Gotland in southern Sweden.
If you like bees, want to contribute to their protection and want to spend time outside in the Swedish summer, this project is for you. Fieldwork is possible between May and September.
Used skills Field work and bee handling required
Requirements Field work and bee handling required