08 de desembre 2015



Researchers looking into the bee fungal disease chalkbrood say bees that are more hygienic have a better chance of warding off the disease. 

Chalkbrood affects bee colonies by fungus weakening larvae, and can lead to them being mummified by sealing the larvae into their own beehive cells.
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It affects most areas of bee production across Australia, and has increased in prevalence over the past five years. 

LaTrobe University PhD candidate Jody Gerdts has just received funding to conduct research into trying to determine if there are different strains of chalkbrood, then will breed for 'hygienic' behaviour. 

Ms Gerdts said total bee production had dropped by 20-40% in hives affected by chalkbrood. 

"There's no chemicals that are registered or effective to treat chalkbrood," she said. 

"Bees that are hygienic basically can smell really well. And they can detect dead or diseased larvae and pull it out of the colony before it becomes contagious. 

"So this hygienic trait, it's heritable, we can breed for it, it's in Australia, and it's proven very effective in other parts of the world in reducing chalkbrood in colonies.

"Honeybees really thrive in our modern agricultural system. We can move them to pollination events when they need to be there.

"Bees are really important to our fruit and vegetable crops, so we need to minimise the effect of chalkbrood." 

Informa: Jaume Clotet @apimellis

Foto: Jeff Pettis