March 7

Lesson 21 – Treatment of Nosema

Bee School is paying huge dividends for me now as we turn our attention to Bee Diseases. One has caught my attention for us we must attend to right away. I offer you information and two treatment choices:

Nosema is both the name of a condition and the organism which causes it. In the U.S. we have two species, Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae.

Both species are a unicellular fungus which resides in the gut of the bee
The parasite has a polar tube that penetrates cells of the bee
Injects the necessary elements for reproduction into the cell.
Inside the cell of the bee’s gut, Nosema reproduces by forming spores
Spores are passed within the bee’s waste

Nosema Apis is most problematic in the winter and spring
Bees will begin to expel waste in the hive and on the outside
Brown spotting on the outside of the hive will appear

Nosema staining on the outside of a bee hive

Nosema ceranae can affect a hive at any time of the year
Can cause rapid colony decline
No symptoms will be present

Both forms of Nosema are treatable with Fumagilin-B. Fumagilin-B is an antibiotic which restricts the “firing” of the polar tube. If the parasite is unable to attach to the cells of the bee’s gut it cannot reproduce. This antibiotic is expensive (about $50). One bottle will treat about 10 hives.

The Fat Bee Man offers us another solution, and in fact it is an effective natural solution.

I have decided for myself to use the above natural effective treatment for my bees. I have already ordered the three essential oils I will need. The recipe and directions are as follows:

Using a blender as your mixer:

-1 cup water

– 2 tsp tea tree oil

– 1 tsp wintergreen oil

-3 drops lemon grass oil

Mix at low speed in your blender for 5 minutes. This will emulsify the oils so they will not separate. Add to a 1/2 gallon container and top of with enough water to make two quarts (half gallon). You now have 1/2 gallon of solution that will keep indefinitely.

To treat bees add 1 cup of this solution to 1:1 sugar water. Feed about 1 pint per hive in the early spring and again in the fall.

I found all the essential oils on Amazon and have ordered them. I plan to treat my hives as soon as my oils get here and I can make up my solution. If you plan to use Fumagilin-B, you will need to order this and follow the directions that come with this fungicide. (You can order this from Amazon or Brushy Mountain Bee Supply).