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1 August 2005 Regional Distribution of Paenibacillus larvae subspecies larvae, the Causative Organism of American Foulbrood, in Honey Bee Colonies of the Western United States
Frank A. Eischen, R. Henry Graham, Robert Cox
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Abstract

We examined honey bee, Apis mellifera L., colonies pollinating almonds in California during February 2003 for Paenibacillus larvae subsp. Larvae, the causative organism of the virulent brood disease American foulbrood. Colonies originating from the Rocky Mountain area and California had significantly higher numbers (P < 0.05) of bacterial colony-forming units (CFUs) (408 and 324 per 30 adult bees, respectively) than colonies from the upper Midwest (1.28). Colonies from the northwestern, central, and southwestern United States had intermediate CFU or bacterial colony levels. Operations positive for P. larvae larvae were relatively uniform at ≈70–80%, and no regional significant differences were found. Percentages of colonies with high CFUs (≥400 per 30 bees) differed significantly, with those from the Rocky Mountain region having 8.73% compared with those of the upper Midwest with 0%. The significance of CFU levels was evaluated by inoculating healthy colonies with diseased immatures and sampling adult bees. The number of CFUs detected per diseased immature was conservatively estimated to be ≈399 CFUs per 30 adult bees. We defined this spore level as 1 disease equivalent. Based on this, 3.86% colonies in our survey had 1 or more disease equivalent number of P. larvae larvae CFUs. Operations with high P. larvae larvae spore levels in their colonies will likely observe American foulbrood if prophylaxis is not practiced diligently.

Frank A. Eischen, R. Henry Graham, and Robert Cox "Regional Distribution of Paenibacillus larvae subspecies larvae, the Causative Organism of American Foulbrood, in Honey Bee Colonies of the Western United States," Journal of Economic Entomology 98(4), 1087-1093, (1 August 2005). https://doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-98.4.1087
Received: 6 February 2004; Accepted: 1 September 2004; Published: 1 August 2005
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