Molecular diagnostics for temperature stress and pesticide stress on queens

Honey bee colony health and productivity is intrinsically linked to the quality of the queen. Unfortunately, queen quality is compromised by stressors such as extreme temperatures and pesticide exposure. When queens are heat- and cold-shocked, the viability of their stored sperm drastically decreases, causing colonies to dwindle, produce less honey, and ultimately fail. Pesticide exposure has similar effects. But we currently don’t have diagnostic tools for identifying root causes of queen failure, so beekeepers are often simply left guessing or wondering why. Some queen tests exist, such as measuring sperm viability from dissected spermathecae, but they have limited practical utility because they still do not identify the underlying cause of viability losses. This project aims to develop molecular diagnostic tests for heat-stress, cold-stress, and pesticide-stress events for queens as a further step towards evidence-based colony management

Faculty Supervisor:

Leonard Foster


Abigail Chapman;Mopelola (Lola) Akinlaja


Canadian Honey Council


Biochemistry / Molecular biology




University of British Columbia



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