Evaluation of Lysozyme-HCl for the Treatment of Chalkbrood Disease in Honey Bee Colonies

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Chalkbrood, caused by Ascosphaera apis (Maassen and Claussen) Olive and Spiltor, is a cosmopolitan fungal disease of honey bee larvae (Apis mellifera L.) for which there is no chemotherapeutic control. We evaluated the efficacy of lysozyme-HCl, an inexpensive food-grade antimicrobial extracted from hen egg white, for the treatment of chalkbrood disease in honey bee colonies. Our study compared three doses of lysozyme-HCl in sugar syrup (600, 3,000, and 6,000 mg) administered weekly for 3 wk among chalkbrood-inoculated colonies, colonies that were inoculated but remained untreated, and colonies neither inoculated or treated. Lysozyme-HCl at the highest dose evaluated was found to suppress development of chalkbrood disease in inoculated colonies to levels observed in uninoculated, untreated colonies, and did not adversely affect adult bee survival or brood production. Honey production was significantly negatively correlated with increased disease severity but there were no significant differences in winter survival among treatment groups. Based on our results, lysozyme-HCl appears to be a promising, safe therapeutic agent for the control of chalkbrood in honey bee colonies.

Keywords: Apis mellifera; Ascosphaera apis; chalkbrood; honey bee; lysozyme

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC12227

Publication date: December 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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