Investigating factors that influence chalkbrood outbreaks in Australia

Summary

Nosema (N. apis and N. ceranae) and chalkbrood (Ascosphaera apis) are significant honeybee pathogens that reduce hive productivity and cause colony losses. Outbreaks continue to occur and are generally considered consequences of poor environmental conditions and hive management. Nutritional interventions (i.e. pollen supplements/substitutes and sugar feeding) and managing the hive environment are the only strategies for beekeepers, but the effectiveness and use of these treatments can be variable and often goes unassessed. Furthermore, there is still limited understanding for how the available nutrition (natural forage or supplements) is affecting the quality of brood food and its connection to the disease susceptibility of larvae and adults. Therefore, we propose a threeyear project aimed at addressing these knowledge gaps and improving the use of nutritional interventions in disease management. We will use a combination of laboratory, research apiary and field experiments to: 1. Examine the effects of nutritional stress on susceptibility to Nosema and chalkbrood disease at both the individual bee and colony level 2. Establish whether certain flowering events increase colony susceptibility to Nosema and chalkbrood 3. Determine synergistic interactions between Nosema and chalkbrood infections that may exacerbate disease outbreaks 4. Test the effects of nutritional interventions on individual bee and colony health and their effectiveness to mitigate disease outbreaks This research will significantly advance our understanding of honeybee nutrition in the context of disease susceptibility and support the development of integrated, nonchemical strategies to reduce the prevalence and severity of Nosema and chalkbrood diseases.

Program

Honey Bee

Research Organisation

CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

Objective Summary

The key objectives of this project are: 1. Examine the effects of nutritional stress on susceptibility to Nosema and chalkbrood disease at both the individual bee and colony level 2. Establish whether certain flowering events increase colony susceptibility to Nosema and chalkbrood 3. Determine synergistic interactions between Nosema and chalkbrood infections that may exacerbate disease outbreaks 4. Test the effects of nutritional interventions on individual bee and colony health and their effectiveness to mitigate disease outbreaks The expected outcomes of this project are a better understanding for how nutrition affects disease susceptibility of both individual bees and the colony and how Nosema and chalkbrood interact to exacerbate disease outbreaks. This new information is expected to improve the use nutritional interventions in disease management and support the development of integrated strategies to reduce the prevalence and severity of both Nosema and chalkbrood.

Project Code

PRJ-010815

Project Stage

Current

Project Start Date

Friday, July 6, 2018

Project Completion Date

Monday, November 30, 2020

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Safeguarding Australia

National Priority

Biosecurity

National Priority

HBE-Reduce the incidence and impact of pests and diseases on the beekeeping and pollination services industries

Contact