The role of infectious agents and parasites in the health of honey bee colonies in France.
Marie-Pierre Chauzat, Patrice Carpentier, François Madec, Stéphanie Bougeard, Nicolas Cougoule, Patrick Drajnudel, Marie-Claude Clément, Michel Aubert, Jean-Paul Faucon
A field survey was conducted between 2002 and 2005 to study honey bee colony health under beekeeping conditions. Five colonies were randomly selected in each of 24 apiaries (i.e. 120 colonies). Four thorough clinical visits were carried out each year. Results are presented on pathogen occurrence and on beekeeping conditions, with a special focus on the relationship with colony size and colony mortality. All winter and summer mortality rates remained below 10% over the three year period. The following diseases were regularly found in apiaries (classified in descending order of mean prevalence): chalkbrood, bald brood, presence of Nosema spp. spores, Varroa destructor, American and European foulbrood. Foulbrood and V. destructor infestation were the most severe conditions significantly positively related to mortality. Attention to disease prevention and early detection were critical points for colony survival in many apiaries.
Apis mellifera, field survey, colony health, mortality, Varroa destructor