All About Nosema – pg4

From: Page 36 Bee Craft Digital September 2011

Bee-Craft-Sept-11-pg36with 80% acetic acid which kills both nosema spores and EFB bacteria and no doubt some of the fungal pathogens too. Stack supers, sealed as tightly as possible, with an acetic acid pad (22–30 cm2 with 150 ml of acid per super box) over every two supers and leave for a week to 10 days. Use petroleum jelly to protect metal parts from the corrosive effects of acetic acid. Air the frames well to clear any remaining fumes before using them. Nosema spores are susceptible to a number of commonly used disinfectants. Tools should be cleaned routinely with a solution of washing soda while out-of-circulation hive boxes and other parts should be washed and flamed with a blowtorch before bringing them back into use.

Caution – use protective equipment when handling acetic acid or commonly used disinfectants. Be aware that acetic acid has a corrosive effect on metal hive parts

Related Viruses

Black queen cell virus, Kashmir bee virus and virus Y are all associated with nosema while virus X is associated with amoeba. It is not clear what the relationship between viruses and nosema actually is but it is thought that damage to the gut lining made by injecting the nosema sporoplasm makes it easier for viruses to the enter the cells. It may also work the other way round so that bees infected by virus become more susceptible to nosema.

Genetic Resistance

No genetic resistance to the parasite has been unequivocally demonstrated although it is not unrealistic to expect that bees should be more resistant to the original parasite, Nosema apis, than the more recently introduced N ceranae. However, the bees’ defence mechanisms protecting them from nosema are linked to seasonal weather patterns so it is difficult to assess the effect of the different pathology of N ceranae or the effects of continuing cool, wet summers.

Further Reading

Bailey, L and Ball, B. 1991. Honey Bee Pathology, 2nd ed. Academic Press.

Morse, RA and Flottum, K. (eds). 1997. Honey Bee Pests, Predators, and Diseases, 3rd ed. Root Publishing.

Aston, D and Bucknell, B. 2010. Keeping Healthy Honey Bees. Northern Bee Books.

Higes M, Martín R & Meana A (2006). Nosema ceranae, a new microsporidian parasite in honeybees in Europe. Journal of Invertebrate Pathol.ogy, 92, 93–95.

NBU (CSL/National Bee Unit) Fact Sheet no. 15.
Randy Oliver – scientific beekeeper website –

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