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Press Release


Award winning paper throws light on honey bee parasite

A paper written by a team of researchers from the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina, has been awarded the Eva Crane Award by the International Bee Research Association as the best paper published in its Journal of Apicultural Research during 2011.

Among the possible culprits of recent worldwide losses of honey bee colonies, one focus of attention has been the gut parasite Nosema. One species of this microsporidium, a type of primitive fungus, Nosema apis has long been known as a minor problem for honey bees, but more recently a different species, Nosema ceranae has been found widespread in honey bees.

The importance of N. ceranae remains controversial, with scientists in Spain linking it to extensive colony losses, whilst elsewhere, including in the UK, it seems to have little effect. One explanation for these differences might be that different regions have different strains of the organism, but environmental factors, such as the nutrition of the bee might also be important.

In the award winning paper, the scientists, led by PhD student Martín Porrini found that the development of spores of N. ceranae was affected by the food given to the host bee. They found that the disease developed more rapidly in bees fed syrup with pollen compared to bees fed syrup alone. In contrast, they found that the dose of spores fed to the bees to initiate the disease had little effect.


IBRA Science Director and JAR Senior Editor Norman Carreck says: “IBRA is pleased to have published this paper by a young researcher, which throws light on this enigmatic honey bee disease. More work is clearly needed to understand the full implications of these findings, but they will undoubtedly influence strategies for dealing with the disease”.


 Press Release


Norman Carreck, Scientific Director, IBRA +44 (0)791 8670169 Email:



1. The paper “Nosema ceranae development in Apis mellifera: influence of diet and infective inoculum” is available at:-

2. The work was carried out by researchers from the Arthropods Laboratory, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina. Over the last twenty years, the laboratory, directed by Dr Martín Eguaras, has been researching a number of beekeeping problems. From the outset, researches have focused on increasing knowledge to provide practical solutions for beekeepers, as well as initiating research in different new lines of work that contribute to basic science too.;

Laboratorio de Artrópodos – UNMdP –

3. The International Bee Research Association (“IBRA”) is the world’s longest established apicultural research publishers and promotes the value of bees by providing information on bee science, bee conservation and beekeeping worldwide.

4. IBRA publishes the peer reviewed scientific journal the Journal of Apicultural Research founded by IBRA in 1962. It includes original research articles, theoretical papers; scientific notes and comments; together with authoritative reviews on scientific aspects of the biology, ecology, natural history, conservation and culture of all types of bee.

5. IBRA publishes and sells books on bee science, bee conservation and beekeeping and also provides bee information services. IBRA is a Registered Charity, and its Council of trustees boasts some of the world’s leading bee scientists.

6. Membership of IBRA costs just £33.00 annually. Membership benefits include receipt of four quarterly issues of Bee World, our accessible and topical journal on latest bee research, news, reviews and other relevant information for the bee scientist, beekeeper, and anyone with an interest in bees.


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