Source colonies

Colonies should be ‘healthy’, and quantitatively and qualitatively assessed, as described above and elsewhere in the BEEBOOK  (the paper on estimating colony strength (Delaplane et al., 2013)), to demonstrate zero or low infection of major pathogens or parasites, including N. apis, N. ceranae (this paper), and the mite Varroa destructor (see the BEEBOOK paper on varroa (Dietemann et al., 2013)).

Because Nosema interacts with pesticides (Alaux et al., 2010a), colonies likely to be exposed to high levels of agro-chemicals, such as those pollinating agricultural crops, should not be used. Nosema also interacts with viruses (Bailey et al., 1983; Costa et al., 2011); but because colonies with asymptomatic viral infections are nearly ubiquitously distributed (e.g. Tentcheva et al., 2004; Williams et al., 2009),  colonies without symptomatic individuals will suffice. If possible, titre levels of common honey bee viruses, in particular deformed wing and black queen cell viruses, should be quantitatively assayed in bees from potential source colonies, as described by de Miranda et al. (2013) in the virus paper of the BEEBOOK.