Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae

Nosema apis spores magnified 400X on a hemocytomer slide used for counting spores. Photo by Yuchuan Qin. Credit: Zach Huang


      Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae are single celled parasites of the honey bee midgut that can weaken individual bees and entire colonies, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases, as well as affect digestion, metabolism, hormone production, queen egg laying, homing and learning. Millions of spores can be found within an individual bee and spores will persist on …

Honey Bee Biology

Image: Wax scales secreted between tergites of the honey bee abdomen. Credit: Zach Huang

       Honey bees are a fascinating model organism with a complex mating and inheritance system, highly evolved social behavior, dance communication language, and mutualistic interaction and evolution with flowering plants. All honey bees belong to the genus Apis and bees in this genus are the only species to store large amounts of honey and exhibit a perennial life cycle.
       The western honey bee (Apis mellifera) …

Varroa Mites

Varroa mites as seen under a microscope. Credit: Zach Huang


Varroa mites (Varroa destructor) are the foremost pest of western honey bee colonies. They inhabit nearly every honey bee colony in most of the world, transmit deadly viruses, shorten bee lifespan, limit productivity, and cause severe economic damage every year. Maintaining Varroa populations in the hive below the economic threshold is a primary activity of beekeepers and eradication of the pest is unlikely any time soon.

      Below are …

American and European Foulbrood

Image: Brood infected with European Foulbrood. Photo by M.V. Smith. Credit: Zach Huang

      American and European Foulbrood are two different, yet similar bacterial diseases of honey bee larvae and pupae. The name comes from the location of first discovery and foulbrood describes the putrid smell of honey bee brood infected with these pathogens. American Foulbrood, although rare, is one of the only regulated honey bee diseases because of the virulent pathogenicity, ease of spreading the disease, and limited control measures. …