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Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are instrumental in the pollination of many of earth’s crops and other plants. In the past few decades, honey bee populations have declined dramatically around the world, a trend which continues without a clear cause, endpoint, or solution. Agricultural chemicals, diseases, and parasites have all been cited as possible drivers of honey bee decline but recent study of these stressors has yielded much contradiction and few conclusive results. The present study investigates the effects of transportation––a novel stressor––on colony health by comparing 25 Transported and 24 Stationary colonies over a period of three summer months. Assessment of colony health was based on four variables: pesticide exposure, parasite loads of the parasitic mite Varroa destructor and the gut microbe Nosema, and the activity level of the hive. I expected that Transported hives would show higher levels of pesticides and parasites, and lower levels of activity than Stationary hives, indicating a lower level of overall colony health. Tests showed erratic patterns in parasite load, and zero presence of pesticide in the bees sampled, suggesting that transportation has little to do with colony health.
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McKee, Maxwell, "The Plight of the Honey Bee: Effects of Transportation on Colony Health" (2013). Senior Projects Fall 2013. 34.