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Presence of Nosema ceranae associated with honeybee queen introductions

Microsporidiosis caused by Nosema species is one of the factors threatening the health of the honeybee
(Apis mellifera), which is an essential element in agriculture mainly due to its pollination function. The
dispersion of this pathogen may be influenced by many factors, including various aspects of beekeeping
management such as introduction of queens with different origin. Herein we study the relation of the
presence and distribution of Nosema spp. and the replacement of queens in honeybee populations settled
on the Atlantic Canary Islands. While Nosema apis has not been detected, an increase of the presence and
distribution of Nosema ceranae during the last decade has been observed in parallel with a higher frequency
of foreign queens. On the other hand, a reduction of the number of N. ceranae positive colonies
was observed on those islands with continued replacement of queens. We suggest that such replacement
could help maintaining low rates of Nosema infection, but healthy queens native to these islands should
be used in order to conserve local honeybee diversity.

 

Muñoz I., Cepero A., Pinto M.A., Martín-Hernández R., Higes M., De la Rúa P. 2014. Presence of Nosema ceranaeassociated with honeybee queen introductions. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 23: 161–168 (DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2014.02.008)