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

  • Author / Creator
    MacInnis, Courtney I
  • 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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  • Degree
    Master of Science
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.