Entomology, Department of


First Advisor

Judy Wu-Smart

Date of this Version



Karacoban, T. 2018. Viral prevalence among social bees in different landscapes. MS thesis. University of Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Entomology, Under the Supervision of Professor Judy Wu-Smart. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2018

Copyright (c) 2018 Tugce Karacoban


Honey bees and wild bees provide important pollination services to numerous crops and native plants. In recent years, declines in bee populations have highlighted the importance of the ecological services they provide and the need for more research into the reasons for their decline. Currently, many conservation efforts to mitigate bee losses include increasing forage and habitat, however, there is growing concern over the role interspecific pathogen transmission plays in bee decline. Viruses commonly found in honey bees may be transmitted and pose a threat to other bee species when bees come together at foraging sites. To elucidate the impact of viruses in bee health decline, I examined the roles flowers, bee management, land type, and foraging activity play in viral prevalence. Bees, pollen (collected from foraging bees), in-hive pollen stores, flowers, and other insects on flowers were analyzed for the presence of four common honey bee viruses using RT-PCR sequencing techniques. To further examine the role bee management and life history traits, such as sociality, may play in the transmission and or persistence of viruses, we compared viral profiles from two species of managed social bees (Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens) and two species of wild social bees (B. griseocollis, Halictus ligatus). Bees were also collected from different landscapes (urban, agricultural, roadsides and conservation parks) and from short, medium or long blooming plants to determine how floral traits and land management practices may impact viral profiles among bees.

Advisor: Judy Wu-Smart