Honey Bee Diseases

By | April 26, 2018


  • Honey Bee Farming is an interesting hobby, an ideal agro-based subsidiary enterprise. Honey Bee Diseases providing supplementary and sometimes major income to the people in the rural areas. So now we provide all the information about the Honey Bee Disease and the solution .

Honey Bee Diseases and Solution Information

  • The diseases in brood and adult honey bees are cause by bacteria, fungi, viruses, rickettsiae and protozoa.
  • In India, brood diseases such as American foul brood, European foul brood, Thai sac brood and adult bee diseases viz. acarine, nosema and clustering disease have been report in Asiatic hive bee, Apis cerana Feb.
  1. Brood Honey Bee Diseases:

Honey Bee Diseases and Solution Information

Brood Honey Bee Diseases

  • They are generally easier to recognize as a group than adult diseases but are more difficult to control.
  • These are either cause by bacteria or fungi or virus.


  1. Bacterial Honey Bee Diseases:

Bacterial Honey Bee Diseases:

  • American Foulbrood (AFB): It is cause by spore forming bacterium, Paenibacillus larvae.
  • In temperate and sub-tropical regions it is the most virulent brood disease.
  • At death, the disease larva changes from a normal pearly white color to a creamy brown, then gradually darkens.
  • When a match-stick is thrust into the cell of the decompose pupa, it draws out a ropy thread of several centimeters in length.
  • As the larva dries up, it becomes dark brown or black, rather rough scale that lies uniformly on the lower side of the cell. These scales stick very tightly to the cell wall and can be remove only with great difficulty.
  • The decompose brood has an unpleasant smell.
  • The normal convex cell cap becomes moist, dark and sunken, and later perforate. The perforation of the capp cells is the result of the attempt by the workers to uncap it to remove the decomposing remains.
  1. European Foulbrood (EFB):

  • It is cause by the non-spore-forming bacterium, Melissococcus plutonius, which invades the mid-gut of 4-5 days old larvae and multiplies rapidly causing death.
  • This is a disease of open brood as the worker bees may leave the cell containing the dead larvas uncap.
  • Sometimes the infect larva does not die until it is seal, and this may result in sunken and perforate capping.
  • Sterilize the combs and other hive parts with Formalin @ 150 ml/ l water, for 48 h at 43oC in fumigation chambers.
  • Sterilize the combs with  ethylene oxide @ 1 g/l for 48 h at 43°C in fumigation chambers
  • Breeding disease resistant strains of bees is one of the best measures for the disease management.
  • Burning of colonies including swarm shook coupled with provisioning of either brood alone or brood + pollen combs from the healthy colony is effective in controlling the disease. This method is commonly follow in European countries.
  1. Fungal Diseases: 

  • Two fungal diseases are important viz. Chalk brood and stone brood.
  • Chalk Brood: This disease is cause by spore-forming fungus, Ascosphaera apis.
  • The spores of fungus remain viable for years. The disease is most prevalent in the spring when the brood area is expanding, and the weather is still cool and there are not enough nurse bees to maintain the brood nest temperature. Its endemic infection is damaging otherwise it is a less serious disease.
  • It affects only the brood. Brood cells can be seal or unseal. Workers, drones, and queens are all susceptible to the disease. Three – four days old larvae and those on periphery of brood area are more susceptible.
  • Chalk brood mummies once dry, are loose in the cell, and can be remove easily. Often, a few of these mummies are visible on the ground at the entrance to the honey bee hive.
  • Stone Brood: This disease is cause by Aspergillus flavus whichcauses mummification of the brood of a honey bee colony.
  • The fungi are common soil inhabitants and are also pathogenic to other insects, birds and mammals.
  • Management of Fungal Diseases:
  • There is no chemical control.
  • Removal of mummies by bees results in natural control of the diseases.
  • Collect and burn the mummify larvae.
  • Improve ventilation and reduce humidity.
  • Replace old, blacken brood combs as these may harbor chalk brood spores.
  • If a colony lacks sufficient food stores, supplement with good-quality feed.
  • Replace queens with stock bred for hygienic behavior and/or disease resistance.
  1. Amoeba Disease of bee: 

  • It is affect by Malpighamoeba mellifecae.
  • This infection is affect by ingesting the cysts along with contaminat food.
  • Cysts germinate, amoeba migrate to malpighian tubes and feed on cell contents. Amoebae multiply by binary fission and form cysts within 18-28 days of ingestion. Cysts accumulate in the mid-gut / rectum.
  • Cysts are shed in the intestine and are excret out with the fecal matter. Peak infest occurs during April-May.
  • Ensure proper hygienic conditions.
  • Scarp off the bottom board and disinfect it with 2% carbolic acid.
  • Disinfection of hives and equipment with acetic acid is also helpful.

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