Nosematosis is an infectious disease that can affect any bees and drones . If 10% of the bees suffer from the disease, this can lead to the loss of 40% of all honey from the family. The infection is spreading rapidly. Every beekeeper needs to know what this disease is about, how to identify and treat it.
General characteristics of the disease
The cause of the disease is the bacterium Nosema apis, which lives in the intestinal mucosa of bees. It multiplies, leaving spores, and destroys the intestines of the bee.
Worker bees suffer glands that process sugars, ovaries are affected in the uterus, and up to 20% of the larvae die. Drones can also suffer - they become unable to fertilize and die.
After the larvae multiply inside the bee, they, together with the feces, enter the environment. Other bees eat spores along with honey or in the process of cleansing honeycombs. The spore enters the intestine and parasite embryos appear from it. Nosema apis develops within a bee within three days.
The disease spreads most quickly in warmth - at 20-30 degrees. At higher or lower temperatures, the parasite multiplies worse, but remains very tenacious, thanks to the solid chitinous membrane. The spores of the parasite remain alive from one to five years, depending on the location - they live the longest in the bodies of dead bees.
Infection is possible when the parasite spores are transferred from a diseased apiary. This may be equipment that has not been processed well enough, honey and other beekeeping products from the affected area. Inside one apiary, the disease can spread when the frames are transferred from one family to another or by thief bees.
Favorable conditions for the development of the disease are:
- poor feeding of bees;
- high temperature and humidity in the hive;
- dirt in the houses and on the frame;
- poor wintering conditions.
The disease can be aggravated by combining infected and healthy families.
Symptoms of bee nosematosis
The main symptom of the disease is fecal stains on the walls of the hive and the frame. There are no specific signs of nosematosis - diarrhea can accompany toxicosis, high humidity or a fungal infection in the hive.
The disease progresses especially in late winter and early spring. During wintering, bees in a sick family behave uneasily, some insects fly out prematurely and die. Sick bees are very lethargic, their abdomen is enlarged and it is difficult for them to stay on the frame - they often fall.
The first spring inspection allows you to see heavily polluted beehives and a large amount of scuffing at the bottom. During the first flights, the family moves very slowly and reluctantly, many insects die: they take off with great difficulty and immediately fall. The rest after landing, you can notice the trembling of the wings. Sick bees defecate not on the fly, but sitting on branches or frames.
In strong families, nosematosis can be implicit: not all individuals are affected and do not spread so quickly. After the first overflights, you can notice a decrease in the number of insects and see some individuals with a swollen abdomen. If you do not take measures for treatment and prevention, the disease will quickly turn into an open form.
If signs of the disease have been noticed, you need to select several living individuals from the family and examine their intestines. There are three options for how to do this:
- Carefully tear off the sting - along with it parts of the intestine are removed.
- First, cut off the insect's head, and then remove the intestines with the sting, holding by the abdomen. This method allows you to examine the intestines completely.
- Make an incision on the abdomen of a bee. When a nosematosis is affected, its middle part will be white-gray, increased in size, without folds.
However, independent research is not enough. Therefore, if you suspect an infection, you need to take about fifty individuals from each house, along with a small amount of honey. It is very important to number houses and samples for analysis, so as not to confuse sick bees with healthy ones.
Samples are sent to a veterinary clinic, where they are examined under a microscope - this allows you to see Nosema spores. If the diagnosis is confirmed, you need to immediately put the houses with sick families away and take the necessary treatment measures.
The more time from the beginning of treatment to the first spring flight in a sick family, the more likely it is to save.
Bees nosematosis treatment
After the diagnosis has been confirmed, it is necessary to conduct a cleansing tour of sick families in the early stages. Then the insects are transferred to clean insulated hives. Drop honey is replaced with a better quality product. Beehives with diseased families are kept away from the rest.
An important role in the treatment is played by the disinfection of dirty hives and equipment that sick bees came into contact with. Trash and dead bees from the hive are burned - you can’t make tinctures from them or use them at all.
Honey from bees sick with nosematosis should not be given to other bees. Heavily soiled frames are melted into wax. If there are few traces of diarrhea on the frame or the frames on the apiary are not enough, they are disinfected with vinegar and used further. Infected queens must be replaced.
Infected hives must also be cleaned. There are several ways to do this.
It is necessary to clean the wooden surfaces with a chisel. Then thoroughly wash the hives using any of the solutions:
- hot liquor;
- a solution of water and means for cleaning pipes "Mole" 0.5%;
- a solution of water and whiteness: a glass of cleaning agent in a bucket of water;
- 4% formalin solution.
After processing, the hives must be washed with water and dried.
You can also burn hives with a blowtorch. Then clean with a chisel and rinse with soap and water.
Another method of disinfection is a pair of vinegar. Each hive needs about 200 ml. Purification is as follows: the hive bodies are filled with honeycombs, and rags or cotton wool soaked in vinegar are placed in the spaces between the bodies. All cracks are carefully covered with clay, the holes are sealed with tape. The hives are stacked on top of each other.
If the air temperature is 15-20 degrees, disinfection with vinegar vapor lasts 3 days. If the temperature is lower, then it is worth leaving the hives with vinegar for a week. Then open and ventilate well.
Inventory must be boiled for at least ten minutes.
Cleansing procedures should be carried out throughout the apiary, even if most families remain healthy.
In addition to disinfection, antibiotic treatment is needed.
One of the effective means is syrup with fumagillin. The ampoule must be dissolved in 50 ml of water and mixed with 25 liters of syrup. The course lasts up to two weeks. Every day, one family should consume about 250 ml of the drug, dissolved in syrup. You should not harvest all 25 liters at once - the product may lose effectiveness, it is better to break the entire volume into three parts.
The drug is effective only if less than half the family is affected.
Another remedy is Enterosepol, which is available in 0.25 g tablets. 4 liters of powdered powder are needed per liter of water. The medicine is added to the syrup and applied for 4 days. The break between receptions lasts 5 days.
Another remedy for nosematosis is nosemacid. It is a powder packaged in packages of 5 g each. 2.5 g must be mixed in 30 ml of water and mixed with 10 liters of syrup. For each frame you will need 100 ml. Treatment is carried out twice, a break between doses - 5 days.
Herbal remedies for the treatment of parasites include wormwood. It is believed that it is not inferior in effectiveness to pharmacy drugs. It is used in the form of decoction and tinctures for alcohol. To prepare the tincture you will need 0.5 l of vodka and 75 g of dry grass. It is infused in a dark place for a week, then filtered. Half a spoon should be added per liter of feed .
To prepare a decoction, you need 100 g of wormwood and 1.5 buckets of water. The broth boils for half an hour and infuses for 12 hours. It is usually used not for treatment, but for prevention.
In order to prevent the development of nosematosis, it is necessary to carry out preventive measures.
First of all, quarantine must be observed between apiaries with sick and healthy insects. It is better not to take anything from the affected apiary. Any equipment must be sanitized before use.
Wintering honey should be floral, of good quality, with a pad content of less than 5%.
During the wintering period, more sugar should be given so that the bees can prepare more food. It is important that insects always have protein feed. You can make syrup in a decoction of wormwood.
For the winter, it is better to leave only strong and healthy families, weak and small families need to be united.
In early spring, you need to increase the number of young individuals. This can be achieved if the female is provided with a sufficient amount of carbohydrates.
Every spring, be sure to arrange disinfection of the hives, while not allowing joint drying and feeding. Every hive should have good ventilation. In this case, the temperature in the winter should not exceed 10 degrees.
If the family had signs of the disease, the uterus cannot be displayed in it, it is necessary to replace the diseased as soon as possible.
If there is a risk of infection, fumagol or metronidazole are given for prevention. The mixture is prepared at the rate of 1 g of the drug per 5 liters of syrup. Each frame will need 50 ml of solution.
Prevention is best done in the fall.
How to treat nosematosis, the beekeeper tells in this video:
Bee nosematosis is a disease caused by parasites that infect the intestines of insects. The disease is dangerous by the rapid spread throughout the apiary. For treatment and prevention, disinfection and antibiotics are used.