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Title: Parasites, pathogens, and pests of honeybees in Asia

item CHANTAWANNAKUL, PANUWAN - Chiang Mai University
item De Guzman, Lilia
item LI, JILIAN - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item WILLIAMS, GEOFFREY - Agroscope

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/26/2015
Publication Date: 11/1/2015
Citation: Chantawannakul, P., De Guzman, L.I., Li, J., Williams, G.R. 2015. Pests, pathogens, and parasites of honey bees in Asia. Apidologie 47(3):301-324

Interpretive Summary: The natural world is ripe with examples of species population dynamics driven by the biotic environmental pressures such as parasites, predators, and pests. Honey bees (Apis spp.) are no exception (Ellis and Munn 2005). In recent years both native and managed honey bees have experienced dramatic reductions in numbers in various regions of the world (Neumann and Carreck, 2010), which has led to a flurry of research into explanations for these observations. The vast majority of these efforts have focused on the western honey bee (Apis mellifera), which is unquestionably the single most globally ubiquitous and economically important honey bee species (Crane 1999). The general consensus is that reductions in A. mellifera colony numbers are primarily the consequences of multiple concomitant environmental pressures, of which parasites and pests play an important role (e.g. vanEngelsdorp and Meixner 2010, Williams et al. 2010, Neumann and Carreck 2010). Relative to A. mellifera, investigations into the health of other honey bee species has taken a backseat, despite their importance to economic and social systems around the world (Crane 1999).

Technical Abstract: Asia is home to at least nine honey bee species, including the introduced Apis mellifera. Despite both A. mellifera and Apis cerana being widely employed for commerical beekeeping, the remaining non-managed species also have important ecological and economic roles on the continent. Species distributions of most honey bee species overlap in southeast Asia, promoting the potential for interspecies transmission of pests and parasites, and their spread to other parts of the world by human translocation. The decline of honey bee populations is of great concern around the world, including in Asia. The global colony losses of A. mellifera are believed to be caused, in part, by pests and parasites originating from Asia, such as the mite Varroa destructor, the microsporidian Nosema ceranae, and some bee viruses. This review discusses important pests and parasites in both the introduced A. mellifera and native honey bees in Asia to provide the overall picture of honey bee health in the region and the future threats to beeekeping.