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Nosema spp. parasitization decreases the effectiveness of acaricide strips (Apivar®) in treating varroosis of honey bee (Apis mellifera iberiensis) colonies

Authors

  • Cristina Botías,

    1. Laboratorio de Patología Apícola, Centro Apícola Regional, CAR, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha, 19180 Marchamalo, Spain.
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  • Raquel Martín-Hernández,

    1. Laboratorio de Patología Apícola, Centro Apícola Regional, CAR, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha, 19180 Marchamalo, Spain.
    2. Instituto de Recursos Humanos para la Ciencia y Tecnología, INCRECYT, Parque Científico de Albacete, Spain.
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  • Laura Barrios,

    1. Departamento de Estadística, CTI, Consejo Superior Investigaciones Científicas, 28006 Madrid, Spain.
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  • Encarna Garrido-Bailón,

    1. Laboratorio de Patología Apícola, Centro Apícola Regional, CAR, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha, 19180 Marchamalo, Spain.
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  • Antonio Nanetti,

    1. Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura, Unità di ricerca di apicoltura e bachicoltura, CRA-API, Via di Saliceto 80, 40128 Bologna, Italy.
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  • Aranzazu Meana,

    1. Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain.
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  • Mariano Higes

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratorio de Patología Apícola, Centro Apícola Regional, CAR, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha, 19180 Marchamalo, Spain.
      E-mail mhiges@jccm.es; Tel. (+34) 949 250 026; Fax (+34) 949 250 176.
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  • None of the authors have any financial or personal relationships that could inappropriately influence or bias the content of the paper. Trademarks are mentioned for scientific purposes only and this work does not explicitly recommend any of these products.

E-mail mhiges@jccm.es; Tel. (+34) 949 250 026; Fax (+34) 949 250 176.

Summary

Given the key role played by honey bees in almost all terrestrial ecosystems, maintaining bee populations in adequate sanitary conditions is crucial for these essential pollinators to continue their work. From the beginning of the 21st century, beekeepers have reported a progressive increase in the overwintering mortality of honey bee colonies worldwide. Despite the failure to reach a consensus regarding the cause of this phenomenon, pathogens are thought to be strongly implicated. In the present work, we provide evidence of the negative effects of colony parasitization by Nosema spp. – primarily by N. ceranae– on the effectiveness of acaricide strips to treat Varroa destructor. The effectiveness of the Varroa mite strip treatment (Apivar®) was greater in colonies in which Nosema spp. parasitization had been controlled. Several studies report that infection by Nosema spp. may affect the behaviour of worker bees. As the effectiveness of Varroa strip treatment depends on bees contacting the strips and their subsequent interaction within the colony, such behavioural and social alterations could interfere with the treatment and allow more severe effects to develop in the colonies infected by Nosema. These results should be considered when assessing acaricide treatments in field conditions due to the high prevalence of both pathogens worldwide.

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