Hygienic behaviour of bee colonies and total protein content in the haemolymph of worker bees (Apis mellifera L.)

SVILEN LAZAROV, IVANKA ZHELYAZKOVA
Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Abstract

LAZAROV, S. AND I. ZHELYAZKOVA, 2018. Hygienic behaviour of bee colonies and total protein content in the haemolymph of worker bees (Apis mellifera L.). Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 24 (Suppl. 1): 156–161

Total protein content in the haemolymph of worker bees from families with varying degrees of hygienic behaviour has been determined. A total of 26 samples of haemolymph have been analysed, obtained from 250-300 bees from colonies with different manifestation of hygienic behaviour - superhygienic – those that clean over 95% of the cells with dead breed in a 5x5 cm area by the 24th hour after puncture; hygienic - colonies that clean more than 95% of the cells in the marked square by the 48th hour after puncture; nonhygienic - those that leave uncleaned cells in the area after the 48th hour. The total protein content of the haemolymph has been determined by the Bioret method. A variation in the mean values for total protein content of 13.14±3.94 g.l-1 has been found for the group of superhygienic bee colonies, up to 24.96±4.93 g.l-1 for the group of hygienic colonies. The greatest is the min/max difference in nonhygienic bee colonies, from 4.16 g.l-1 to 54.53 g.l-1. The determined LS estimate against the average for the model is positive (+1.93) in colonies with low level of manifestation of hygienic behaviour (nonhygienic), which is indicative of a tendency to increase the amount of total protein in the haemolymph of worker bees. The stated results suggest that the failure of these bee colonies to quickly detect and clean the sick larvae (in this case the dead larvae) puts them in a stressful situation. Probably, as a response, activation of the natural defense factors of the bee organism is triggered, incl. change in the protein composition of the haemolymph. The results of the present study show that the degree of hygienic behavior in bee colonies affects the total protein content in bee haemolymph.

Keywords: honey bees, hygienic behaviour, haemolymph, total proteins

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