Author(s): Hedtke K, Jensen PM, Jensen AB, Genersch E
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Abstract In agriculture, honey bees play a critical role as commercial pollinators of crop monocultures which depend on insect pollination. Hence, the demise of honey bee colonies in Europe, USA, and Asia caused much concern and initiated many studies and research programmes aiming at elucidating the factors negatively affecting honey bee health and survival. Most of these studies look at individual factors related to colony losses. In contrast, we here present our data on the interaction of pathogens and parasites in honey bee colonies. We performed a longitudinal cohort study over 6 years by closely monitoring 220 honey bee colonies kept in 22 apiaries (ten randomly selected colonies per apiary). Observed winter colony losses varied between 4.8\% and 22.4\%; lost colonies were replaced to ensure a constant number of monitored colonies over the study period. Data on mite infestation levels, infection with viruses, Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae, and recorded outbreaks of chalkbrood were continuously collected. We now provide statistical evidence (i) that Varroa destructor infestation in summer is related to DWV infections in autumn, (ii) that V. destructor infestation in autumn is related to N. apis infection in the following spring, and most importantly (iii) that chalkbrood outbreaks in summer are related to N. ceranae infection in the preceding spring and to V. destructor infestation in the same season. These highly significant links between emerging parasites/pathogens and established pathogens need further experimental proof but they already illustrate the complexity of the host-pathogen-interactions in honey bee colonies. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Invertebr Pathol
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology