Longevity of Apis mellifera workers fed on a diet incorporating entomopathogens

ABSTRACT: The present study had the objective of evaluating the longevity of A. mellifera workers fed on a diet incorporating commercial entomopathogens, Beauveria bassiana, and Bacillus thuringiensis. It also aimed at verifying possible morphological alterations in the midgut. To this purpose, the entomopathogens used were B. bassiana (Product A) (5.0 × 1011 viable conidia.kg-1), B. thuringiensis (Product B) (2.5 × 109 viable spores.g-1), and B. thuringiensis (Product C) (1.0 × 109 viable spores.g-1); and two controls: T1: sterilized distilled water, and T2: sterilized distilled water + Tween 80® (0.01%). For the bioassays, 2 mL of each treatment were incorporated into Candy paste. For each treatment, 80 bees were individually in flat bottom glass tubes (2.5 cm Ø) covered with voile, containing a piece of cotton soaked in water and Candy paste. These tubes were stored in a B.O.D (30 ± 2°C, R.H 70% ± 10%, 12 h), and mortality was evaluated every six hours, for 10 days. Soon after verifying mortality, two bees per treatment were selected for the removal of their midgut. Midgut samples were processed using standard methodology for Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). It was verified that products A, B, and C reduced the longevity of bees when compared to T1 and T2 controls. In the qualitative analyses carried out using SEM, it was not possible to observe external or internal morphological alterations to midgut tissues. Although products A, B, and C cause a reduction in longevity, their presence was not verified when tissues were analyzed using SEM.