The ambient temperature and relative humidity affect the metabolic and physiological responses of bees, thus affecting their life activities. However, the physiological changes in bee due to high temperature and high humidity remain poorly understood. In this study, we explored the effects of higher temperature and humidity on the epiphysiology of bees by evaluating the survival, tolerance and body water loss in two bee species (Apis cerana and Apis mellifera). We also evaluated the changes in the activity of antioxidant and detoxification enzymes in their body. We observed that under higher temperature and humidity conditions, the survival rate of A. mellifera was higher than that of A. cerana. On the other hand, a comparison of water loss between the two species revealed that A. mellifera lost more water. However, under extremely high temperature conditions, A. cerana was more tolerant than A. mellifera. Moreover, under higher temperature and humidity conditions, the activity of antioxidant and detoxification enzymes in bees was significantly increased. Overall, these results suggest that high temperatures can adversely affect bees. They not only affect the survival and water loss, but also stimulate oxidative stress in bees. However, unlike our previous understanding, high humidity can also adversely affect bees, although its effects are lower than that of temperature.
Li, X., Ma, W., Shen, J., Long, D., Feng, Y., Su, W., … Jiang, Y. (2019). Tolerance and response of two honeybee species Apis cerana and Apis mellifera to high temperature and relative humidity. PLoS ONE, 14(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217921