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A visual test for Nosema apis infections in honey bees

Written by
Journal of Apicultural Research

Vol. 32 (3-4) pp. 143-146
Date
September 1993
Article Title

A visual test for Nosema apis infections in honey bees

Author(s)
L A Malone; C A Mcivor; H A Giacon
Abstract

A simple test for diagnosing Nosema apis infections in honey bees, which does not require a microscope, is described. Bee abdomens are crushed in water in plastic 1.5 ml microcentrifuge tubes, nigrosin stain is added and the tube left to stand vertically overnight. Centrifugation of the tubes eliminates the need for an overnight wait. The nigrosin stains any bee tissues and most pollen a dark blue/black and the N. apis spores settle to form a pale grey, unstained pellet at the bottom of the tube. Eight million or more spores per bee can be detected (P < 0.05) and the size of the pellet gives an indication of the magnitude of the spore load. Pooled samples of bees crushed in a plastic bag may be similarly assessed, although some accuracy is lost.

Keywords

Nosema apis, spores, honey bees, infection, nigrosin, diagnostic techniques, nosema disease

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