Free access
Volume 38, Number 2, March-April 2007
Page(s) 136 - 140
Published online 10 February 2007
Apidologie 38 (2007) 136-140
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006069

Spatial distribution of Melissococcus plutonius in adult honey bees collected from apiaries and colonies with and without symptoms of European foulbrood

Luc Belloya, Anton Imdorfb, Ingemar Friesc, Eva Forsgrenc, Hélène Berthoudb, Rolf Kuhnb and Jean-Daniel Charrièreb

a  Institut Galli-Valerio, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory of the canton Vaud, rue César Roux 37, 1014 Lausanne, Switzerland
b  Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux, Swiss Bee Research Center, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
c  Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Entomology, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

(Received 20 April 2006 - Revised 6 July 2006 - Accepted 27 July 2006 - Published online 10 February 2007)

Abstract - In Switzerland, the incidence of European foulbrood (EFB), caused by the Gram-positive bacterium Melissococcus plutonius, has increased dramatically between 1997 and 2005 but the epidemiology, including the transmission of M. plutonius, remains poorly understood. In this study, the distribution of M. plutonius among bees originating from apiaries and colonies with and without symptoms of EFB was evaluated using a specific and sensitive hemi-nested PCR. In more than 90% of colonies without EFB symptoms located in apiaries with EFB symptoms, the bees were carriers of M. plutonius. In apiaries without EFB symptoms, but near apiaries with EFB symptoms, bees carrying M. plutonius were detected in about 30% of the colonies. In regions without European foulbrood history, all bee samples were negative. The proportion of adult bees carrying M. plutonius in colonies without symptoms appeared to increase when the distance to apiaries with clinical EFB symptoms decreased.

Key words: European foulbrood / Melissococcus plutonius / epidemiology / adult honey bee / symptom

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© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007