Numerous diseases and parasites afflict the honey bee. This page
provides a brief overview of the three important diseases; American
foulbrood, varroa mites, and nosema disease.
To learn more about these and other disease please see our:
the only regulated bee disease in TN. The severity of this disease
warrants the state regulations regarding the transport of bees and comb,
and the state intervention when this disease occurs in an area. Contact
our state apiarist
for assistance with this disease. Pictured right is a stringy mass that
usually occurs with foulbrood in brood cells when probed with a match
stick. However this stringy mass later dries out. It will contain
millions of bacterial spores that will infect other larvae and hives. |
|Varroa mites are parasitic mites
that reproduce in capped honey bee pupal cells while parasitizing the
pupa and adult bees. A Varroa mite is seen in the left picture on the
lower part of the bee abdomen.
|Varroa mites transfer numerous viruses. Pictured
left is a conditioned called 'string wings' that usually occurs with
high levels of Varroa infestation.|
|Monitoring techniques, which are explained in "Beekeeping in TN",
should be conducted to determine if Varroa infestation levels are over
economic thresholds. Infestation at either low or high levels is normal.
If numbers of Varroa are high, Apilife-Var and Apigaurd have proven to
be an effective 'soft chemical' control. These products active
ingrediant is thymol. Pictured right is an Apilife-Var wafer broken into
four pieces and placed on the corners of the brood box on 3 occasions
spaced about one week apart when honey supers are NOT on the hive.
||Nosema disease is caused by single cell fungi that reproduce in the gut of the honey bee. Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae now commonly occur in honey bee populations in the USA. Traditionally, control of Nosema apis
has been maintained by annual treatments of Fumagillian-B, mixed in
sugar water, and feed to colonies when honey supers are NOT on the hive.
With the rise of Nosema ceranae, and its associated problems, research into monitoring techniques and different methods of control are underway.
Queens raised from disease and parasite resistant
stock are the foundation of an integrated pest management strategy to
keep bees healthy and alive. Marking such queens with paint as pictured
left, can help beekeepers determine if the queens they provided for
their colonies are still present.
|A solid brood pattern during a honey
flow in queen-right colonies, such as pictured above, is a strong
indication of a healthy hive. However, monitoring for diseases and
parasites, in even the healthest colonies has become a critical piece of
sustainable honey bee management.