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Effects of Amitraz and Age on Sweetness Perception, Learning, and Memory in Apis mellifera Workers

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Effects of Amitraz and Age on Sweetness Perception, Learning, and Memory in Apis mellifera Workers
Huang, Ethan Wave
Pesticide use in colonies of Apis mellifera (honey bee) is widespread. Determining whether these pesticides have deleterious unwanted side effects on honey bee physiology and behavior is a challenging endeavor. Amitraz is a neuroactive formamidine pesticide applied to hives to manage Varroa destructor, an ectoparasite of honey bees. It is a high affinity octopaminergic agonist. Previous studies have described various effects (or no effects) of exposure to amitraz on honey bee sucrose sensitivity, learning, and memory but have not factored in age at exposure as a variable. With the goal of improving apicultural practices, this study conducted gustatory response assays, learning trials, and memory recall trials to examine the effects of amitraz and age on honey bees. Topical application of amitraz dissolved in acetone increased sucrose sensitivity in foraging age bees and restored original sensitivity in newly emerged bees after acetone alone decreased it. Topical amitraz dissolved in acetone had no effect on learning and memory in intermediate age and foraging age bees, whereas acetone alone hindered performance. These results are consistent with previous demonstrations that stimulation of octopamine receptors can increase sensitivity to sucrose and facilitate olfactory association learning. Although acetone is widely used in insect toxicological studies, alternative solvent vehicles are recommended for future studies. This study also highlighted the importance of age as a controlled experimental variable. Future experiments conducted on sublethal effects of pesticides should be based on standardized protocols.
Apis mellifera
Honey bee
Sucrose sensitivity
Fahrbach, Susan E (advisor)
Conner, William E (committee member)
Zeyl, Clifford W (committee member)
Ashley-Ross, Miriam (committee member)
2023-07-25T17:48:46Z (accessioned)
2024-06-06T08:30:10Z (available)
2023 (issued)
Biology (discipline)
2024-06-06 (terms)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/102280 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University

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