Effects of host, pathogen, and environmental factors on increased incidence of European foulbrood in honey bee colonies pollinating blueberries

The estimated value of honey bee pollination in the form of increased crop yields in Canada is $2 – $4 billion. In recent years, beekeepers pollinating blueberries have reported an increased incidence of European foulbrood (EFB). EFB is a bacterial disease of honey bee larvae which can lead to larval starvation and death. Risk factors for EFB disease during blueberry pollination include pesticide exposure, increased virulence of bacterial strain, decreased diversity or quality of pollen, and/or inadequate brood care; however, there is a lack of scientific evidence to determine which factors are responsible for the recent increased incidence of EFB. We will investigate interaction between host, pathogen, and environment to determine if any of these factors contribute to the increased susceptibility of honey bees to EFB. Through mitigation of the identified factors, we can enhance the health and productivity of honey bee colonies and the blueberry crops they pollinate.

Faculty Supervisor:

Elemir Simko


Ivanna Kozii



Animal science




University of Saskatchewan



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