, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 364–377

The stability and effectiveness of fumagillin in controlling Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia) infection in honey bees (Apis mellifera) under laboratory and field conditions

  • Mariano Higes
  • María J. Nozal
  • Ana Alvaro
  • Laura Barrios
  • Aranzazu Meana
  • Raquel Martín-Hernández
  • José L. Bernal
  • José Bernal
Original article


Honey bees play an important role in food production (honey, pollen etc.), and their pollinating activity is not only essential to maintain world agriculture production but also to ensure biodiversity in different ecosystems. Nosema ceranae is a highly prevalent worldwide pathogen for honey bees that has been related to colony losses. A commercial formulation that contains fumagillin dicyclohexylamine, Fumidil B®, can control N. ceranae infection. However, the effectiveness of Fumidil B® is affected by several factors, such as storage, treatment preparation, the quantity consumed by bees etc. Indeed, UV exposure (e.g. sunlight) drastically reduces the initial concentration of fumagillin within a few hours, while temperature affects its degradation. Although laboratory tests suggest that a semisolid mixture of honey and powdered sugar is the best option to apply fumagillin, its application in syrup (250 mL per dosage) is more effective for the treatment of infected colonies. The total amount of syrup containing fumagillin ingested by honey bees is a key factor in its efficacy, and it has been found that medicated patties were not fully consumed in field trials. In honey bee colonies, the dose of 120 mg/honey bee colony at the recommended posology is effective against depopulation and colony death due to N. ceranae after 1 year, without residues being detected in honey, although reinfection could be detected 4 months after treatment ended.


Nosema ceranae Fumagillin Stability Syrup Honey–sugar patty Dosage Treatment Colony depopulation 


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB-AGIB and Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariano Higes
    • 1
  • María J. Nozal
    • 2
  • Ana Alvaro
    • 2
  • Laura Barrios
    • 3
  • Aranzazu Meana
    • 4
  • Raquel Martín-Hernández
    • 1
  • José L. Bernal
    • 2
  • José Bernal
    • 5
  1. 1.Centro Apícola Regional, Bee Pathology LaboratoryMarchamaloSpain
  2. 2.CINQUIMA Investigation Institute, Analytical Chemistry Group, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of ValladolidValladolidSpain
  3. 3.Statistics Department, CTI, Consejo Superior Investigaciones CientíficasMadridSpain
  4. 4.Departamenteo de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de VeterinariaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  5. 5.Institut for Industrial Fermentations (IFI), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasMadridSpain

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