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  1. Abstract Background

    Aluminum is the third most prevalent element in the earth’s crust. In most conditions, it is tightly bound to form inaccessible compounds, however in low soil pH, the ionized form of aluminum can be taken up by plant roots and distributed throughout the plant tissue. Following this uptake, nectar and pollen concentrations in low soil pH regions can reach nearly 300 mg/kg. Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) has been demonstrated following aluminum exposure in mammal and aquatic invertebrate species. In honey bees, behaviors consistent with AChE inhibition have been previously recorded; however, the physiological mechanism has not been tested, nor has aversive conditioning.


    This article presents results of ingested aqueous aluminum chloride exposure on AChE as well as acute exposure effects on aversive conditioning in anApis mellifera ligusticahive. Contrary to previous findings, AChE activity significantly increased as compared to controls following exposure to 300 mg/L Al3+. In aversive conditioning studies, using an automated shuttlebox, there were time and dose-dependent effects on learning and reduced movement following 75 and 300 mg/L exposures.


    These findings, in comparison to previous studies, suggest that aluminum toxicity in honey bees may depend on exposure period, subspecies, and study metrics. Further studies are encouraged at the moderate-high exposure concentrations asmore »there may be multiple variables that affect toxicity which should be teased apart further.

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  2. Abstract

    Honey bees, as many species of social insects, display a division of labor among colony members based on behavioral specializations related to age. Adult worker honey bees perform a series of tasks in the hive when they are young (such as brood care or nursing) and at ca. 2–3 wk of age, shift to foraging for nectar and pollen outside the hive. The transition to foraging involves changes in metabolism and neuroendocrine activities. These changes are associated with a suite of developmental genes. It was recently demonstrated that antibiotics influence behavioral development by accelerating or delaying the onset of foraging depending on timing of antibiotic exposure. To understand the mechanisms of these changes, we conducted a study on the effects of antibiotics on expression of candidate genes known to regulate behavioral development. We demonstrate a delay in the typical changes in gene expression over the lifetime of the individuals that were exposed to antibiotics during immature stage and adulthood. Additionally, we show an acceleration in the typical changes in gene expression on individuals that were expose to antibiotics only during immature stage. These results show that timing of antibiotic exposure alter the typical regulation of behavioral development by metabolicmore »and neuroendocrine processes.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 12, 2023
  4. Beekeeping is a cornerstone activity that has led to the human-mediated, global spread of western honey bees ( Apis mellifera L.) outside their native range of Europe, western Asia, and Africa. The exportation/importation of honey bees (i.e., transfer of honey bees or germplasm between countries) is regulated at the national level in many countries. Honey bees were first imported into the United States in the early 1600’s. Today, honey bee movement (i.e., transport of honey bees among states and territories) is regulated within the United States at the state, territory, and federal levels. At the federal level, honey bees present in the country (in any state or territory) can be moved among states and territories without federal restriction, with the exception of movement to Hawaii. In contrast, regulations at the state and territory levels vary substantially, ranging from no additional regulations beyond those stipulated at the federal level, to strict regulations for the introduction of live colonies, packaged bees, or queens. This variability can lead to inconsistencies in the application of regulations regarding the movement of honey bees among states and territories. In November 2020, we convened a technical working group (TWG), composed of academic and USDA personnel, to reviewmore »and summarize the (1) history of honey bee importation into/movement within the United States, (2) current regulations regarding honey bee movement and case studies on the application of those regulations, (3) benefits associated with moving honey bees within the United States, (4) risks associated with moving honey bees within the United States, and (5) risk mitigation strategies. This review will be helpful for developing standardized best practices for the safe movement of honey bees between the 48 contiguous states and other states/territories within the United States.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 31, 2023
  5. Kim, Hongkyun (Ed.)
    The Drosophila NMJ is a system of choice for investigating the mechanisms underlying the structural and functional modifications evoked during activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Because fly genetics allows considerable versatility, many strategies can be employed to elicit this activity. Here, we compare three different stimulation methods for eliciting activity-dependent changes in structure and function at the Drosophila NMJ. We find that the method using patterned stimulations driven by a K+-rich solution creates robust structural modifications but reduces muscle viability, as assessed by resting potential and membrane resistance. We argue that, using this method, electrophysiological studies that consider the frequency of events, rather than their amplitude, are the only reliable studies. We contrast these results with the expression of CsChrimson channels and red-light stimulation at the NMJ, as well as with the expression of TRPA channels and temperature stimulation. With both these methods we observed reliable modifications of synaptic structures and consistent changes in electrophysiological properties. Indeed, we observed a rapid appearance of immature boutons that lack postsynaptic differentiation, and a potentiation of spontaneous neurotransmission frequency. Surprisingly, a patterned application of temperature changes alone is sufficient to provoke both structural and functional plasticity. In this context, temperature-dependent TRPA channel activation induces additionalmore »structural plasticity but no further increase in the frequency of spontaneous neurotransmission, suggesting an uncoupling of these mechanisms.« less
  6. In the course of conducting honey bee experiments on the Greek Island of Lesbos we took the opportunity to observe the reactions of ants, Messor oertzeni Forel (Hymenoptera Formicidae Myrmicinae), to a baited ant trap placed in its main foraging path (active ingredient: sodium cacodylate). Each trap had three entrances and we tested five nests. For 14 days we observed the nests and photographs were taken daily to document our observations. Following a baseline condition in which none of the three entrances were open, one entrance was open. Several days later the entrance we opened was turned 90 degrees away from the main foraging trail and a second entrance was opened and placed in the same orientation as the first entrance (i.e., in the main foraging path). Our observations revealed that for four of the five ant colonies, the ants built a barrier around the opened entrance preventing other ants from entering the trap. The materials they used to bar the entrance was composed of twigs, pebbles and soil. We believe that the apparent ability of ants to avoid the effects of an insecticide by baring the entrance to a bait trap is a novel finding and should be replicatedmore »under more controlled conditions.« less
  7. O'Shea-Wheller, Thomas (Ed.)
    Abstract Honey bees utilize their circadian rhythms to accurately predict the time of day. This ability allows foragers to remember the specific timing of food availability and its location for several days. Previous studies have provided strong evidence toward light/dark cycles being the primary Zeitgeber for honey bees. Work in our laboratory described large individual variation in the endogenous period length of honey bee foragers from the same colony and differences in the endogenous rhythms under different constant temperatures. In this study, we further this work by examining the temperature inside the honey bee colony. By placing temperature and light data loggers at different locations inside the colony we measured temperature at various locations within the colony. We observed significant oscillations of the temperature inside the hive, that show seasonal patterns. We then simulated the observed temperature oscillations in the laboratory and found that using the temperature cycle as a Zeitgeber, foragers present large individual differences in the phase of locomotor rhythms for temperature. Moreover, foragers successfully synchronize their locomotor rhythms to these simulated temperature cycles. Advancing the cycle by six hours, resulting in changes in the phase of activity in some foragers in the assay. The results are shownmore »in this study highlight the importance of temperature as a potential Zeitgeber in the field. Future studies will examine the possible functional and evolutionary role of the observed phase differences of circadian rhythms.« less
  8. The role of the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CNR2) is still poorly described in sensory epithelia. We found strong cnr2 expression in hair cells (HCs) of the inner ear and the lateral line (LL), a superficial sensory structure in fish. Next, we demonstrated that sensory synapses in HCs were severely perturbed in larvae lacking cnr2. Appearance and distribution of presynaptic ribbons and calcium channels (Ca v 1.3) were profoundly altered in mutant animals. Clustering of membrane-associated guanylate kinase (MAGUK) in post-synaptic densities (PSDs) was also heavily affected, suggesting a role for cnr2 for maintaining the sensory synapse. Furthermore, vesicular trafficking in HCs was strongly perturbed suggesting a retrograde action of the endocannabinoid system (ECs) via cnr2 that was modulating HC mechanotransduction. We found similar perturbations in retinal ribbon synapses. Finally, we showed that larval swimming behaviors after sound and light stimulations were significantly different in mutant animals. Thus, we propose that cnr2 is critical for the processing of sensory information in the developing larva.