Selection and Development of Australian Hygienic Honey Bee Lines,

Bee Scientifics

  • Project code: PRJ-009904

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

  • Project completion date: Thursday, February 14, 2019

  • National Priority: HBE-Improve hive productivity with innovative pest and disease control, feeding, breeding, and automation solutions


Proposed is a 3 year project commencing September 2015 ending September 2018 working with beekeepers in Australia to map genotypes of Ascosphaera apis and investigate breeding social and innate resistance to this pathogen.
The project aims to:
1. Genotype Australian strains of Ascosphaera apis;
2. Identify lines of honey bees that currently exhibit rapid hygienic behavior using two different methods of testing for hygienic behaviour: freeze killed brood and pin killed brood assays
3. Investigate colony level resistance to chalkbrood through hygienic behaviour;
4. Investigate innate larval immunity to chalkbrood infection;
5. Explore the potential of using marker assisted selection for breeding innate resistance to chalkbrood;
6. Relay findings back to queen producers with a view of continuing to develop disease resistant lines of honey bees
This research serves both the honey bee and pollination reliant industries by working toward improving endemic disease resistance of Australian honey bee stocks while preparing for living with Varroa.


Honey Bee

Research Organisation

Bee Scientifics

Objective Summary

The objectives of this project are:
1. Create a temporal and spatial resolution of Ascospharea apis strain distribution in Australia;
2. Identify hygienic lines of honey bees in Australia;
3. Compare two methods for assessing the hygienic behaviour of honey bee colonies increasing the accessibility of breeding for hygienic behaviour in commercial operations;
4. Understand social and innate mechanisms for chalkbrood resistance in honey bees
5. Determine the feasibility of using marker assisted selection for breeding innate resistance to chalkbrood;
6. Provide science based information to the beekeeping industry about breeding disease resistant honey bees
These objectives serve to the wider goal of improving the endemic pest and disease resistance of Australian honey bee stocks, improving beekeeper capacity for selecting for beneficial traits and preparing for living with exotic pests and diseases, particularly the economically devastating Varroa mite.
Project Deliverables
Information generated from this project will be delivered to the beekeeping and scientific community in the following ways:
1. The project will be summarised and reported on at each state apiarist conference;
2. Scientific papers will be submitted for acceptance in scientific journals in coordination with doctorate studies at La Trobe University;
3. Interpretation of data and associated recommendations concerning best management practices will be publically available;
4. Field Days will be organised in association with state beekeeping organisation to demonstrate these methods