Wolfgang Ritter and Pongthep Akratanakul
2006 42 pages Soft cover (R225)
This useful book is a revised edition of the earlier FAO text on honey bee diseases and parasites. It concisely and correctly covers all the main problems: microbial diseases; parasitic bee mites; insects; and vertebrates. The rapid spread of honey bee diseases and parasites world-wide is underlined by the many changes that have taken place since the publication of the first edition in 1987. Today, beekeepers in many more countries have Varroa destructor infesting their honey bee colonies, and most have heard of another mite - Tropilaelaps clareae, that is still confined to Asia. One of today’s most problematical ‘international honey bee predators’: small hive beetle Aethina tumida, was not even mentioned in the 1987 text. However, these parasites and disease would not be killing bees in so many parts of the world without assistance by man to move these pathogens far outside their original range, introducing them to populations and species of honey bees that have not evolved in their presence. The two paragraphs that close the book’s section on ‘mammals’ remain highly pertinent: ‘It is important to note that among the primate pests of honey bees, people are probably the most destructive. Honey crops may be stolen, or brood and combs consumed on the spot. Occasionally, entire hives are made off with. Finally, note that in areas where intensive modern apiculture is practised, the loss of bees through human misuse of pesticides is probably greater than loss from all other causes taken together’.