Identification and Treatment of European Foulbrood in Honey Bee Colonies

Rope field test for the foulbroods, showing the larval or pupal

European foulbrood is a bacterial disease that affects Western honey bee larvae. It is a concern to beekeepers everywhere, though it is less serious than American foulbrood because it does not form spores, which means that it can be treated. This 7-page fact sheet written by Catherine M. Mueller, Cameron J. Jack, Ashley N. Mortensen, and Jamie Ellis and published by the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department describes the disease and explains how to identify it to help beekeepers manage their colonies effectively and prevent the spread of both American and European foulbrood.

Wax Moth Control

Honeycomb with honey bees on it. Photo taken on 03-10-17. Camilla Guillen UF/IFAS

The greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella Linnaeus) and lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella Fabricius) are major pests of honey bee colonies in Florida. The best defense against wax moths in living colonies is keeping colonies otherwise strong, free of diseases and pests, and queenright. Controlling wax moths in stored combs and equipment, however, can be more difficult. This 3-page fact sheet written by Cameron J. Jack and Jamie D. Ellis and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology details the steps beekeepers can take to control wax moths and keep them from ruining stored honey bee combs and equipment.

Chalkbrood Recommendations

chalkbrood mummies

A pathogenic fungus called chalkbrood can turn infected larval honey bees into “mummies,” killing them and reducing their colony’s population and productivity. Florida’s subtropical climate may contribute to a greater incidence of the disease, which is common throughout the state. This 2-page fact sheet describing chalkbrood and listing some management strategies to control it was written by Malcolm T. Sanford, Cameron J. Jack, and Jamie Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, December 2016.

How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony

bee pollinating citrus flower

Nosema are single-celled fungal parasites that infect various animal hosts. One species, Nosema ceranae, has become the dominant microsporidian infection in western honey bee colonies. When honey bees ingest Nosema spores, many eventually starve to death because the spores replicate in the stomach and hijack the bee’s nutrition. The risk of Nosema infection can be particularly unsettling to beekeepers because colonies often do not show signs of infection until the colony is severely diminished.

This 5-page fact sheet written by Ashley N. Mortensen, Cameron J. Jack, Meghan McConnell, Liana Teigen, and Jamie Ellis and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how to diagnose and quantify Nosema infection in a honey bee colony.