An outbreak of Nosema ceranae has been confirmed in Scotland for the first time.
Three samples of bees sent to experts at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) for analysis have tested positive for Nosema ceranae. Related to Nosema apis, which is is linked to spring losses in Scottish colonies, ceranae has been linked to colony collapse in Spain and some Mediterranean countries although so far it has not caused as many problems in Northern Europe.
The cases identified are from three regions of Scotland, indicating that the disease is not confined to one area.
A total of 57 samples of adult bees were submitted to the SASA laboratory between March 2010 and July 2011, and 14 of these tested positive for Nosema and were subject to extra molecular testing. Of these, 10 samples tested positive for Nosema apis, three tested positive for Nosema ceranae and one sample failed to produce a positive result for either disease.
The disease already appears to be widespread in Europe, with many cases recorded in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, SASA said. The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute said there are no risks to public health and no implications for the quality and safety of honey, and beekeepers should replace and sterilise their frames to prevent the build-up of Nosema spores within the colony.
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