Meeting Abstract

P3.5  Sunday, Jan. 6  Use of RFID tracking to detect effects of parasitism by Apocephalus borealis on the European honey bee, Apis mellifera QUOCK, C/D; San Francisco State University

Recently, Radio Frequency (RFID) systems, have been used to track various behavioral aspects of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera, and such systems have the potential to yield 24-hour activity patterns of marked foragers (Schneider et al., 2012; Pahl, et al., 2011). We have adapted this technology to study the possible effects of parasitism by the Phorid fly, Apocephalus borealis, on the lifespan and behavior of these worker bees. This phenomenon, first discovered on the San Francisco State University campus, was found to be closely correlated with apparent night abandonment by infected bees (Core et al., 2012). Similar patterns of hive abandonment have been associated with other, more enigmatic afflictions of honey bees (Dainat et al., 2012; Tokarz et al., 2011). Thus, understanding the onset of this behavior in this context may have broader applications. The use of such a system to attempt to shed more light on this host-parasite interaction is itself an example of a novel application of this technology.