Evaluating Efficacy of Fumagilin-B® Against Nosemosis and Tracking Seasonal Trends of Nosema spp. in Nova Scotia Honey Bee Colonies

Thursday 26 November 2020

Our beekeeping season and our bees are literally wrapped up for this year!  Hives are braced against the upcoming winter weather and we now wait till spring to see how well we have managed our hives.  This week we will take a short break from our usual discussions on honey bee health, disease and pest management to answer an important question.  What to buy our beekeeping friends and family as a gift to celebrate the upcoming festive season?

Hot off the press!  Read below to find out more about Nosema infection in our region’s beehives in a recently published paper by the ATTTA team. This paper shows significant results!  Nosema is an important disease and this work gives us additional information specific to our region.

Evaluating Efficacy of Fumagilin-B® Against Nosemosis and Tracking Seasonal Trends of Nosema spp. in Nova Scotia Honey Bee Colonies *

The efficacy of the antimicrobial Fumagilin-B® against nosemosis was evaluated in both spring and autumn feeding treatments following label directions in seventy-two honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies across three apiaries in Nova Scotia, Canada. The seasonal trend of Nosema spp. spore loads was also tracked in these same colonies throughout a thirteen-month period (February 2018 – March 2019). We found the spring Fumagilin-B® treatment to be effective at significantly suppressing Nosema spp. spore levels below the recommended treatment threshold. There was no effect of Fumagilin-B® treatment in the autumn based on low spore levels at this time. We detected a drastic increase in Nosema spp. spore loads as May progressed but a decline in spores in summer (June–September). By October, there was another increase in spore levels, but this increase did not exceed the economic treatment threshold. Across seventeen collection periods in both control and Fumagilin-B® colonies, 74% (25) of samples tested positive for Nosema ceranae, while 26% (9) contained no Nosema spp. spores. No Nosema apis spores were detected during this trial. Our results indicate that Fumagilin-B® is an effective management practice in the spring, but colonies should still be monitored in the autumn. Our data also support that the Nosema species profile is shifting to be exclusively N. ceranae and the treatment threshold for Fumagilin-B® may need to be updated to reflect this, as the threshold was originally developed for N. apis.

*McCallum, R., Olmstead, S., Shaw, J., & Glasgow, K. (2020). Evaluating Efficacy of Fumagilin-B® Against Nosemosis and Tracking Seasonal Trends of Nosema spp. in Nova Scotia Honey Bee Colonies, Journal of Apicultural Science (published online ahead of print 2020), full text available online.

Nosema spores viewed under microscope.  Photo: J. Shaw

Five best gifts for the beekeeper on your Christmas list?

1. Membership to a provincial beekeeping association!

If you know a beekeeper who is not a member of their provincial beekeeping association, this would be the best gift you can give!  Our professional associations work extremely hard to support our beekeepers.  Membership provides access to additional information and training, cost savings for meetings and workshops and an opportunity to be a part of the bigger beekeeping community.  Contact the beekeeping association in your province for details.

2. Beekeeping Book(s)

Lifelong learning is an overused expression but nonetheless it still applies to beekeeping.  All good beekeepers read and study about their craft towards a fuller understanding of the complexity of beekeeping.  Check their bookshelf and if your beekeeper does not have a copy of Honey Bee Diseases & Pests (capabees.com), that should be number one on the list.  Otherwise, there are lots of great beekeeping books all available online.  Check out Amazon or whichever online bookstore you prefer.

3. Magazine subscription

Bee Culture and the American Bee Journal are great publications.  Although they are not specific to our region, much of the information is relevant and they keep beekeepers up to date on contemporary issues.  These journals are compulsory reading for all beekeepers!

4. Beekeeping clothing

Bee jackets are hard wearing but still many of us keep them well beyond their useful life.  A new bee jacket or veil is always something that your beekeeper will appreciate.  Check out your local beekeeping supply store for the full range available to find just the right one!

5. Bee Belt

This is one of those really useful items which many beekeepers will not necessarily buy for themselves.  They can be purchased from your local beekeeping supply store and a necessity for keeping track of your hive tool.  Once you start using a beekeeping belt you will never go back to lost hive tools again!


Stocking stuffers

Hive tool – Somewhere in the world there are mountains of odd socks and hive tools!  Wherever they end up, your beekeeper can always use a replacement!

Honey – Believe it or not beekeepers are always interested in trying any unusual or different types of honey.

Oxalic Acid – Not the most glamorous gift but a bottle of oxalic acid is inexpensive and fits in a Santa sock.  Useful as part of a IPM Varroa control program.

Disposable gloves- Maybe in short supply during the pandemic but covering your hands reduces stings.  Also the best option for biosecurity.

Varroa Shaker – This is the most useful tool in the box for monitoring Varroa mites.  These are relatively inexpensive and should be used by all beekeepers to monitor for mites as part of a IPM program.

Foulbrood testing kit – These are diagnostic kits which allow for the identification of EFB and AFB.  Another very useful tool for all beekeepers to have to hand!

Drybrow Sweatbands– Beekeepers are one of the only people who put on extra clothing during the heat of summer to go to work.  These ingenious little devices are excellent for keeping sweat out of your eyes on the hottest beekeeping days.

Mead – All beekeepers will appreciate this gift during the holiday season and great local mead is now available across our region.  A bottle in the sock of your favorite beekeeper may be the best shared gift this year.

Face Mask with Honey Bee Themes – Yes, these are available from a number of suppliers online!  A gift that will keep your favorite beekeeper safe during the current crisis.

Connecting with ATTTA Specialists

If you’d like to connect with ATTTA specialists or learn more about our program, you can:

visit our website at https://www.perennia.ca/portfolio-items/honey-bees/

Email abyers@perennia.ca

Thanks for following along with our blog and keeping up with the ATTTA buzz & don't forget to subscribe!