Attacking parasite may help deal with honeybee colony collapse

April 15th, 2009 - 3:00 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Apr 16 (ANI): By isolating the parasite behind honeybee colony depopulation syndrome, also known as colony collapse disorder in the USA, scientists have found a possible cure for the infection.

Spanish researchers isolated the parasite Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia) from professional apiaries suffering from honeybee colony depopulation syndrome, and found that it could be the only cause of the disease.

The researchers treated the infected surviving under-populated colonies with the antibiotic drug, flumagillin, and showed complete recovery of all infected colonies.

Honeybees are attacked by numerous pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites.

However, the molecular pathogenesis for most of these diseases is poorly understood, which in turn hampers the development of new ways to prevent and combat honeybee diseases.

However, this is the first time that this bug been identified as the primary cause in professional apiaries.

“Now that we know one strain of parasite that could be responsible, we can look for signs of infection and treat any infected colonies before the infection spreads,” said Dr Higes, principle researcher.

The finding could help prevent the continual decline in honeybee population, which has recently been seen in Europe and the USA.

The study has been published in the new journal from the Society for Applied Microbiology: Environmental Microbiology Reports. (ANI)

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