The effects of Nosema ceranae infection on honey bee health and Colony Collapse Disorder

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2009: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Grant Recipient: University of Minnesota
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Marla Spivak
University of Minnesota

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bees


  • Animal Production: general animal production
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, technical assistance
  • Pest Management: economic threshold, genetic resistance
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The objective of this research is to investigate the effects of Nosema ceranae infection on the behavioral development and physiology of honey bees (Apis mellifera). This disease is one of the factors implicated in the recent annual collapse of colonies in beekeeping operations throughout the U.S. The regulatory interaction between the yolk precursor protein, vitellogenin (Vg), and juvenile hormone (JH) is fundamental to the behavioral development of honey bees. N. ceranae is an obligate intracellular fungus that infects the midgut of adult bees. N. ceranae infection may disrupt Vg/JH endocrine signaling, leading to pathological and premature onset of foraging and a shortened life span. Results from this novel research will provide a foundation for future studies aiming to understand the pathological effects of N. ceranae in A. mellifera colonies, and will ultimately help North Central Region and U.S. beekeepers’ develop management techniques and sustainable means to control this emerging pathogen.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1. Determine how N. ceranae infection affects expression of Vg and JH in honey bees.

    Objective 2. Determine the life span and identify the onset of foraging behavior in newly emerged worker bees infected with N. ceranae.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.