Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 87–97 | Cite as

Honey bee pathology: current threats to honey bees and beekeeping



Managed honey bees are the most important commercial pollinators of those crops which depend on animal pollination for reproduction and which account for 35% of the global food production. Hence, they are vital for an economic, sustainable agriculture and for food security. In addition, honey bees also pollinate a variety of wild flowers and, therefore, contribute to the biodiversity of many ecosystems. Honey and other hive products are, at least economically and ecologically rather, by-products of beekeeping. Due to this outstanding role of honey bees, severe and inexplicable honey bee colony losses, which have been reported recently to be steadily increasing, have attracted much attention and stimulated many research activities. Although the phenomenon “decline of honey bees” is far from being finally solved, consensus exists that pests and pathogens are the single most important cause of otherwise inexplicable colony losses. This review will focus on selected bee pathogens and parasites which have been demonstrated to be involved in colony losses in different regions of the world and which, therefore, are considered current threats to honey bees and beekeeping.


Honey bees Varroa Virus Nosema European Foulbrood Colony losses 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Bee ResearchHohen NeuendorfGermany

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