Here we describe a new phenomenon, entombed pollen, which is highly associated with increased colony mortality. Entombed pollen is sunken, capped cells amidst "normal", uncapped cells of stored pollen, and some of the pollen contained within these cells is brick red in color. There appears to be a lack of microbial agents in the pollen, and larvae and adult bees do not have an increased rate of mortality when they are fed diets supplemented with entombed pollen in vitro, suggesting that the pollen itself is not directly responsible for increased colony mortality. However, the increased incidence of entombed pollen in reused wax comb suggests that there is a transmittable factor common to the phenomenon and colony mortality. In addition, there were elevated pesticide levels, notably of the fungicide chlorothalonil, in entombed pollen. Additional studies are needed to determine if there is a causal relationship between entombed pollen, chemical residues, and colony mortality.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics