TABLE 3 

Practical steps for advancements

Challenge and step
1. Many microbes are important to bee biology, but often an experiment focuses on only one type. Simultaneous screening for 16S rRNA genes, 18S rRNA genes, and viruses is needed to yield a more comprehensive picture of the microbiome.
2. If simultaneous screening as proposed in step 1 is not feasible, archiving aliquots of DNA/RNA/whole samples will facilitate future identification of the other microbes.
3. Quantitative PCR of total individual (i.e., per bee) microbial loads will help with the interpretation of relative compositional data, as typically acquired by amplicon sequencing.
4. Proper metadata are needed for interpretation and comparison of results. As much information as possible should be recorded and made accessible for an experiment.
5. Standardized experimental bee lines should be established to control for host genetic differences between laboratories.
6. Standardization of protocols, such as the methods of isolation of host, bacterial, and viral DNA/RNA, is necessary for cross-study analysis.
7. Sampling and sequencing environmental sources, such as flowers and nest components, will help to understand the spread and transmission of bee microbes.
8. Bee microbiome researchers should be engaged to actively participate in the bee microbiome project and to help establish this necessary and important community service.