Interacting stressors matter: Diet quality and virus infection in honeybee health

Adam G. Dolezal, Jimena Carrillo-Tripp, Timothy M. Judd, W. Allen Miller, Bryony C. Bonning, Amy L. Toth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Honeybee population declines have been linked to multiple stressors, including reduced diet diversity and increased exposure to understudied viral pathogens. Despite interest in these factors, few experimental studies have explored the interaction between diet diversity and viral infection in honeybees. Here, we used a mixture of laboratory cage and small semi-field nucleus hive experiments to determine how these factors interact. In laboratory experiments, we found that high-quality diets (polyfloral pollen and high-quality single-source pollen) have the potential to reduce mortality in the face of infection with Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV). There was a significant interaction between diet and virus infection on mortality, even in the presence of high virus titres, suggesting that good diets can help bees tolerate virus infection. Further, we found that extreme stress in the form of pollen starvation in conjunction with IAPV infection increase exiting behaviour from small experimental hives. Finally, we showed that higher-quality pollen diets have significantly higher iron and calcium content, suggesting micronutrient deficiencies could be an under-explored area of bee nutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number181803
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Honeybee
  • Israeli acute paralysis virus
  • Micronutrients
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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