Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Within-colony transmission of Microsporidian and Trypanosomatid parasites in honey bee and bumble bee colonies


Pinilla-Gallego, Mario et al. (2021), Within-colony transmission of Microsporidian and Trypanosomatid parasites in honey bee and bumble bee colonies, Dryad, Dataset,


Parasites are commonly cited as one of the causes of population declines for both managed and wild bees. Epidemiological models sometimes assume that increasing the proportion of infected individuals in a group should increase transmission. However, social insects exhibit behaviors and traits which can dampen the link between pathogen pressure and disease spread. Understanding patterns of parasite transmission within colonies of social bees has important implications for how to control diseases within those colonies, and potentially the broader pollinator community. We used bumble bees (Bombus impatiens Cresson) and western honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) infected with the gut parasites Crithidia bombi (Lipa & Triggiani) and Nosema ceranae (Fries et al.), respectively, to understand how the initial proportion of infected individuals impacts within-colony spread and intensity of infection of the parasites. In bumble bees, we found that higher initial parasite prevalence increased both the final prevalence and intensity of infection of C. bombi. In honey bees, higher initial prevalence increased the intensity of infection in individual bees, but not the final prevalence of N. ceranae. Measures that reduce the probability of workers bringing parasites back to the nest may have implications for how to control transmission and/or severity of infection and disease outbreaks, which could also have important consequences for controlling disease spread back into the broader bee community. 

Usage Notes

This files contain the data of within colony transmission of Nosema ceranae in honey bee colonies and Crithidia bombi in Bombus impatiens colonies. It also contain the R code used to analysed the data. Check the README files for and explanation of the variable names in the data set


National Institutes of Health, Award: R01GM122062