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Nosema ceranae: A sweet surprise? Investigating the viability and infectivity of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) parasite N. ceranae Open Access


Other title
Apis mellifera
spore viability
Nosema ceranae
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
MacInnis, Courtney I
Supervisor and department
Keddie, Andrew (Biological Sciences)
Pernal, Stephen (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
Examining committee member and department
Pernal, Stephen (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
Manson, Jessamyn (Biological Sciences)
Evenden, Maya (Biological Sciences)
Keddie, Andrew (Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Master of Science
Degree level
Nosema disease is a prominent malady among adult honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), caused by the microsporidian parasites Nosema apis and N. ceranae. The biology of N. apis is well understood, as this parasite was first described over a century ago. Unlike N. apis, N. ceranae is an emerging parasite of the honey bee, and consequently, we do not yet understand how long spores of this parasite survive in honey bee colonies, or how they are transmitted among bees. We investigated the viability and infectivity of the infectious (spore) stage of N. ceranae in substrates associated with honey bee colonies after exposure to 20, 33, -12, and -20°C, over various time intervals. Spores stored in honey and sugar syrup survived considerably longer than those stored in water or on wax comb, with low loss in viability at freezing temperatures for up to one year. Honey and sugar syrup appear to provide a reservoir of viable and infective spores that can initiate or perpetuate N. ceranae infections in honey bee colonies. This study provides information that may help enhance current management recommendations for apiculturalists.
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