Bulletin of Animal Health and Production in Africa

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Bee diseases: Examining options for their management in Africa

Wolfgang Ritter, Ute Schneider Ritter


In Europe and Asia, the problem of damage to bees by Varroa-Mites has primarily been attacked by increased medical treatment: in Europe, in 1980, they started with one treatment per year and have meanwhile arrived at four to five yearly treatments, depending on the region. The side-effects of the treatment have weakened the colonies additionally and have made them susceptible, especially to viruses and also to some bacterial diseases (Ritter, 2014b). Though honey production is less affected, the handling of the colonies has become more complicated, more  work-intensive and more cost-intensive. The management of Varroosis in Europe and America has not been successful up to now and even ended up in a total failure sometimes. To copy this for Africa would mean to make the same mistakes twice and to finally fail as well. The situation in parts of Africa, especially in East Africa, already reveals possible solutions. Though the Varroa mite has been spread there for a long time already, heavy losses as experienced elsewhere have not occurred, even without treatment. A sustainable solution for Africa can only consist in strengthening the native bees and in creating a modified African way of beekeeping instead of introducing foreign bees and European and American management methods.

It is necessary to go the African way to have healthy bees and to strengthen colonies sustainably!

Key words: Bee losses, bee diseases, American foulbrood, Nosemosis, Varroosis, African way of beekeeping

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