NOSEMA - often referred to as the silent killer of honeybee colonies, it can quickly become lethal if left unchecked and is caused by the single cell protozoan Nosema apis.
From the Fungai family, it affects adult honeybees by attacking the epithelial cells (lining of the ventriculus or stomach) of the bee which then preventing proper digestion and breakdown of food.
How does it do that you wonder? The fungus gains access to the gut via the bee’s trophallaxis, travelling through the esophagus into the honey crop and on into the pre-ventriculus when it does some reproduction. From the pre-ventriculus or honey crop, it travels into the stomach where the havoc starts.
In a healthy bee, the epithelial cells in the lining of the ventriculus are filled with digestive enzymes; when these cells break away from stomach lining, they explode and release the enzymes responsible for digestion. However, in a bee infected with Nosema, the spores of the Nosema apis protozoan enter the epithelial cells and as they mature they inhibit the growth of healthy enzymes. When the infected cell erupts, it releases the Nosema apis spores which, as previously stated, have now replaced digestive enzymes, so in fact, food is not digested and is expelled without benefit. The waste food that gets expelled inside the hive contaminates surfaces and the cycle continues as healthy bees come into to contact with contaminated waste. If it is not detected in time, the collapse of the colony is almost a certainty.
Conclusive identification can only be done through a microscope, a same day service offered through Abbigail Honey’s IPM program.
Offering a robust IPM assessment, Abbigail Honey offers advice to beekeepers on developing and implementing their own Integrated Pest Management program to ensure that the honeybee investment stays healthy and productive.
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