Threats to bees
On many bee health sites it is common to provide a bunch of over copied information about bee diseases and pests. Rather than repeating what is already published, this site contains Maine specific information and links to more.
The State Apiarist should be notified of occurrences of reportable diseases by E-Mail or Telephone.
American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae)
Often called by its initials, AFB
Rare in Maine.
One case discovered in Maine by the State Apiarist in 2018, down substantially from prior years when it was routinely found around the state. A contagious bee disease that must be reported to the state Apiarist; after lab confirmation of the disease, infected colonies and their hives, must be destroyed by burning.
Video by Beekeeping.IsGood.ca via YouTube– “Learn to identify American foulbrood in 90 seconds”
European Foulbrood (Melissococcus plutonius)
Chalk Brood (Ascosphaera apis)
Can be common in Maine.
– An opportunistic, somewhat seasonal, disease that is related to colony stress, but is not usually fatal to the colony.
Dave Cushman web page about Chalkbrood
Nosema Apis & Ceranae
Common in Maine with ceranae replacing apis
Dysentery can be a symptom of Nosema apis but is not a conclusive One!
Nosema cerane mostly has no symptoms though some say “failure to thrive” is one.
An article from the American be Journal posted by its author Randy Oliver on his website scientificbeekeeping.com “Sick Bees – Part 17: Nosema – The Smoldering Epidemic”
Varroa Mites (Varroa destructor)
Very Common in Maine
Varroa mites are a parasitic mite of Honey bees first introduced into the North America about 1987. Left undealt with by a beekeeper, Varroa injures developing bees and are a “vector” for spreading viruses within the colony.
A mite that is sometimes confused with Varroa destructor is Varroa jacobsoni - a Reportable Bee pest in Maine. Varroa jacobsoni is not believed to exist in Maine.
An eXtension web page about “Varroa Mite Reproductive Biology” – a good primer though dated.
A Paper by Dr. Samuel D. Ramsey et al. “Varroa destructor feeds primarily on honey bee fat body tissue and not hemolymph”
AVideo by The Honey Bee Health Coalition via YouTube – “Sampling Methods”
A Video by Bee Aware (Australia) via YouTube “Varroa spread, life cycle and population growth”
A Video by Dr. Peck, et al. “Varroa destructor mite infests bee from a flower”
Tracheal Mites (Acarapis woodi)
Formerly very common in Maine, being watched for re-occurrence.
Many of the treatments for the Varroa Mite, are also effective against the Tracheal Mite. The increase in Oxalic Acid Vaporization as a Varroa Mite treatment is thought by some to be tied to an increase in Tracheal Mite cases as the Oxalic Acid particles may not be small enough to reach and kill the mites.
USDA ARS web page about Tracheal Mites
Bee Aware (Australia) web page about Tracheal Mites
Video by Dr. Jamie Ellis, University of Florida, via You Tube – “Tracheal Mite Symptoms”
PDF by Dr. Diana Sammataro, USDA ARS – “An Easy Dissection Technique for Finding the Tracheal Mite”
Troplipeaps Mites (Tropilaelaps clareae)
Not yet found in Maine – Reportable if found
Bee Informed Blog Post “Tropilaelaps Mites” by Jennie Stizinger
Small Hive Beetles (Aethina tumida)
Common in Southern and Coastal areas. Becoming more common on the North coast.
Brought into Maine by migratory beekeepers and in packages/nucleus colonies originating in the southern United States. In parts of Maine, they successfully over winter.
eXtension web page about Managing Small Hive Beetles
PDF from Mississippi State University Extension – Small Hive Beetle
Blog post by Kelly Beekeeping about Small Hive Beetles
Greater (Galleria mellonella) and Lesser (Achroia grisella) Wax Moths
Mice / Voles
Common in most areas
A blog post from Beekeeping.IsGood (Canada) “Keeping mice, voles, and shrew out of beehives over winter”
Black Bears (Ursus americanus)
Wide Ranging in Maine
A PDF from MAAREC – “Bees and Bears”
Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina)
Not yet in Maine – Likely to soon be reportable if found.
An FAQ on the Asian Hornet from the British Beekeepers Association
Colony Collapse Disorder
CCD is a set of symptoms which can be summarized as most of the bees vanish from their hive, leaving the Queen, a few other bees, and plenty of food. The cause – although the subject of much speculation – has never been positively identified. CCD has not been seen in Maine in some years.
You can read a good summary by the EPA of CCD here.