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A New Threat to Honey Bees, the Parasitic Phorid Fly Apocephalus borealis

Figure 3

Rates of phorid parasitism in honey bees.

(A) Rates of parasitism for bees sampled from April 2009 through November 2010. Black solid line shows rates in stranded bees from under lights on the San Francisco State University campus, while the pink dashed line shows rates in foraging bees. Stranded bees found under lights were sampled at irregular intervals during 2009 and sampled every two days in 2010. Foragers were sampled monthly from our main study hive. A rate of zero indicates that samples from that period contained no parasitized bees. We compared rates of parasitism in stranded and active foraging bees collected at San Francisco State University from October 2009 through January 2010 and from July 2010 to December 2010 (when parasitism rates peaked). 2009–2010 peak rates of parasitism in samples of stranded bees (Mean = 60%, n = 276) were significantly higher than peak rates of parasitism in active foragers from our main study hive (Mean = 6%, n = 164) (χ2 = 126.7, d.f. 1, p<0.0001). This pattern repeated in 2010 when peak rates of parasitism in samples of stranded bees (Mean = 50%, n = 860) were again significantly higher than rates of parasitism in active foragers (Mean = 4%, n = 422) (χ2 = 255.3, d.f. 1, p<0.0001). (B) Proportion of honey bees parasitized by phorids in samples from stranded bees collected from the Hensill Hall landing under lights (dotted line) and from samples of bees collected from overnight hive enclosures on adjacent nights (solid line). Parasitism rates of bees trapped in the enclosures closely track rates in stranded bees found under lights during the same period and the number of bees found under lights significantly declined when the enclosure was in place (Welch's t-test p<0.0001) indicating that stranded bees came from our main study hive and were parasitized prior to abandoning the hive.

Figure 3