Presence of Nosema Ceranea confirmed in the UK

by Andy Wattam, Eastern Region Bee Inspector

Ladies and Gentlemen

Please be advised that the presence of Nosema Ceranae has been confirmed in several areas of the United Kingdom. From a Regional Point of View - I would reaffirm the request in my newsletter, that we wish to investigate and sample any cases of 'abnormal' or extreme winter losses of Bee Colonies. In this way we can really get a hold on what is happening to our bees and build up a some baseline scientific data.
Confirmation of Nosema ceranae in England and Wales

Three hundred and nine samples have now been tested for the presence of Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae using real-time PCR. All positive results were confirmed using published assays for the detection of these pathogens. Positive results have therefore been confirmed using 2 methods both based on the detection of species specific DNA. Of these samples 31 samples testing positive for N. apis (10%), 14 for N. ceranae (4.5%) and 3 (1%) testing positive for both Nosema species. N. ceranae positives were confirmed across seven counties of England (Cornwall Essex, Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, Hereford and Worcestershire, Greater London, North Yorkshire) and three in Wales (Glamorgan, Pows, Dyfed).

N. ceranae infections have been reported not to show typical signs of Nosema infection. Therefore we recommend beekeepers check their colonies for adult bee diseases. Treatment using the usual veterinary medicine is effective against Nosema infections in honeybee colonies. It is also important to treat effectively against Varroa mite infestations.

We will carry out a more detailed survey to estimate the prevalence and impact of both Nosema species across England and Wales. Samples of DNA extracts from the European foul brood study, imported bees and historical samples stored in the NBU labs will be rescreened.

National Bee Unit, CSL, November 2007

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