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Horizontal transmission of Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia) from worker honeybees to queens (Apis mellifera)


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Horizontal transmission from worker honeybees to queens is confirmed in a laboratory essay as a possible route of Nosema ceranae infection in field colonies and pathological repercussions on honeybee queens are described. Lesions are only detected in the epithelial ventricular layer of the infected queens and death occurs within 3 weeks when the nurse workers are experimentally and collectively infected with approximately 5000 viable spores per bee. These data suggest that the higher number of infected house bees, the higher risk of transmission to queens. The presented data may explain the role of house honeybees in natural queen infection, although it is probably that a high proportion of infected house bees must be required to infect the queen.