Letter | Published:

Bee Disease

Nature volume 101, pages 103104 (11 April 1918) | Download Citation



IN connection with the article on bee disease which appeared in NATURE of March 21, perhaps my experience with diseased bees may be of interest. I have subjected to microscopic examination the contents of the intestines and chyle stomachs of several dozen bees, all guaranteed by a professional lecturer in beekeeping to be suffering atthe time from the “Isle of Wight disease.” In all cases the examination under the 1 /12 immersion was conducted within five minutes after the bees had been killed. In no case did I find a trace of Nosema apis. In some there was a predominance of wild yeasts in the affected parts; in others again bacterial multiplication was very far advanced. It may, of course, be advanced that these particular bees were not suffering from the “Isle of Wight disease,” but in view of the conclusion adopted by several competent biologists that Nosema apis has no causal connection with tire “Isle of Wight disease,” and also of. the importance of the subject, further investigation is urgently needed. The impression left on the present writer was that Nosema apis, when found, was an accessory, and not a causal agent; and the fact that in practically all the observations of this disease that have been made in Scotland Nosema apis has been conspicuous by its absence supports this impression. It would appear that different causative agents produce the same symptoms; from the practical point of view, as the agents may be protozoa, or yeasts, or bacteria, we need more diagnostic data, for the method of combating the disease must necessarily depend on the nature of the micro-organism to be combated.

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  1. Royal Technical College, Glasgow, March 30.



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