A tale of two parasites: Responses of honey bees infected with Nosema ceranae and Lotmaria passim
Nosema ceranae and Lotmaria passim are two commonly encountered digestive tract parasites of the honey bee that have been associated with colony losses in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Though honey bees can be co-infected with these parasites, we still lack basic information regarding how they impact bee health at the individual and colony level. Using locally-isolated parasite strains, we investigated the effect of single and co-infections of these parasites on individual honey bee survival, and their responsiveness to sucrose. Results showed that a single N. ceranae infection is more virulent than both single L. passim infections and co-infections. Honey bees singly infected with N. ceranae reached < 50% survival eight days earlier than those inoculated with L. passim alone, and four days earlier than those inoculated with both parasites. Honey bees infected with either one, or both, parasites had increased responsiveness to sucrose compared to uninfected bees, which could correspond to higher levels of hunger and increased energetic stress. Together, these findings suggest that N. ceranae and L. passim pose threats to bee health, and that the beekeeping industry should monitor for both parasites in an effort correlate pathogen status with changes in colony-level productivity and survival.
To read the complete research paper go to; A tale of two parasites: Responses of honey bees infected with Nosema ceranae and Lotmaria passim | Scientific Reports (nature.com)
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