Branch Microscopist Short Course

This is a version of the ‘Adult Bee Diseases’ course with the emphasis on training Branch Microscopists who can lead or assist with diagnostic services for a local Association. With an introduction/refresher to the compound and dissecting microscopes, we practice the diagnosis of Acarine, Amoeba, and Nosema diseases. Treatment strategies and recommendations are outlined. Sampling of adult bees and storage/postage of samples is discussed, along with the logistics of running an Association ‘Nosema Day’ to encourage awareness and diagnosis of potential problems.

Course Content

As beekeepers we need to have an understanding of potential diseases, and the skills with which to recognise and treat these so that our bees can remain healthy. During this course, we will develop an understanding of how colony health is affected by Acarine, Amoeba, Nosema, and the common viruses, and how these disorders can be managed. Practical work will complement this by providing field diagnosis and laboratory skills to allow positive diagnoses to be made, supporting timely and appropriate treatments.
Topics covered will include
  • Overview of honeybee anatomy, including respiratory and digestive systems
  • The causative organisms of Nosema, Acarine, Amoeba, and virus diseases,
  • including their life cycle and spread
  • Differentiating between Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae
  • The site of infection and nature of the damage caused by each of the adult bee diseases
  • Appropriate treatments
  • Discussion of dysentery and its relationship with adult bee diseases
  • Field diagnosis techniques for Nosema, Acarine, and virus diseases
  • Taking, storing, and posting adult bee samples for disease diagnosis
  • The set-up and use of dissecting microscopes
  • Elemental dissection of honey bee digestive and respiratory organs
  • Laboratory diagnosis of Acarine using dissecting microscope
  • The set-up and use of compound microscopes
  • The preparation and staining of samples on microscope slides
  • Laboratory diagnosis of Nosema using compound microscope



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