Beekeeping – Testing for Nosema
It seems a shame to be thinking about winter already, but it isn’t far off and in order to make sure our bees are happy and healthy going into winter we need to start taking action now.
At this time of year the beekeeper should be removing any honey that he/she can, checking the bees for various diseases and mites and then treating for them if necessary, and feeding the bees so that they can replenish their honey stores ready for winter.
We checked our bees for Nosema at a recent Aberystwyth Beekeepers Association meeting. Nosema apis is a microsporidian that affects Honey Bees, giving them a form of dysentry. It is fairly common in these parts as it tends to spread in cool, damp conditions.
Diagnosis is performed by taking a sample of bees from the hive, killing them and then grinding up their abdomens so that they can be examined under a microscope. This microscopic examination of the ventricular (midgut) content allows you to see the Nosema apis microspores themselves so that you can tell whether or not a colony is infected.
Treatment is in the form of an antibiotic called Fumidil B.
Thankfully, our bees were clear of Nosema, so all was well there and we don’t need to treat them this year.