Honey bees (Apis mellifera) reared in brood combs containing high levels of pesticide residues exhibit increased susceptibility to Nosema (Microsporidia) infection.

Research paper by Judy Y JY Wu, Matthew D MD Smart, Carol M CM Anelli, Walter S WS Sheppard

Indexed on: 31 Jan '12Published on: 31 Jan '12Published in: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology


Nosema ceranae and pesticide exposure can contribute to honey bee health decline. Bees reared from brood comb containing high or low levels of pesticide residues were placed in two common colony environments. One colony was inoculated weekly with N. ceranae spores in sugar syrup and the other colony received sugar syrup only. Worker honey bees were sampled weekly from the treatment and control colonies and analyzed for Nosema spore levels. Regardless of the colony environment (spores+syrup added or syrup only added), a higher proportion of bees reared from the high pesticide residue brood comb became infected with N. ceranae, and at a younger age, compared to those reared in low residue brood combs. These data suggest that developmental exposure to pesticides in brood comb increases the susceptibility of bees to N. ceranae infection.