Epidemiological study of honeybee pathogens in Europe: The results of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)

Maria Buendía, Raquel Martín-Hernández, Concepción Ornosa, Laura Barrios, Carolina Bartolomé, Mariano Higes


As a part of a Pilot Monitoring Program of honey bee health coordinated by the EURL (European Union Reference Laboratory) and according to the criteria established for Spain, 14 apiaries in Castilla-La Mancha were selected at random and sampled during the autumns of 2012-2014 to identify the most prevalent nosogenic agents, potentially those related to the honey bee colony collapse phenomenon. In all the apiaries studied, Nosema ceranae was the most prevalent pathogen detected over the three years, confirming the worldwide spread of this microsporidian, a pathogen that negatively affects honey bee health at an individual and colony level. Trypanosomatids were also very prevalent in honey bee colonies, although the majority of Trypanosomatids detected were not Crithidia mellificae but rather the genetically distinct Lotmaria passim lineage. We also detected Varroa destructor mites, and the particularly high prevalence in 2014 suggests a possible problem regarding mite control in field conditions that requires attention. In agreement with data from other regions, the BQCV and DWV were the most prevalent viruses in honey bee colonies and thus, the Varroa-DVW interaction may be an important cause of bee colony mortality. While there was little evidence of a relationship between the BQCV virus and N. ceranae under field conditions during 2012, this was not the case in 2013 and 2014. Finally, the AKI-complex or LSV-complex was not detected. The information obtained in this study should help orientate future plans for honey bee disease control.


Apis mellifera; monitoring program; Nosema ceranae; Varroa destructor; Lotmaria passim; honey bee viruses

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2018162-11474