Really? Nosema?

Branden posted this link as a comment a previous post: Cure For Honey Bee Colony Collapse?. The article says, in part:

In a study published in the new journal from the Society for Applied Microbiology: Environmental Microbiology Reports, scientists from Spain analysed two apiaries and found evidence of honey bee colony depopulation syndrome (also known as colony collapse disorder in the USA). They found no evidence of any other cause of the disease (such as the Varroa destructor, IAPV or pesticides), other than infection with Nosema ceranae. The researchers then treated the infected surviving under-populated colonies with the antibiotic drug, flumagillin and demonstrated complete recovery of all infected colonies.

Eh? I’m no microbiologist, and honestly, I’m barely a beekeeper, but I find it hard to believe that after all the hullaballoo, Colony Collapse Disorder could really just be Nosema, a well-known and treatable disease. When they say “found evidence of” CCD, what does that mean, exactly? Are they sure they were seeing CCD and not just Nosema?

I mean, come on, beekeepers have tried treating for Nosema before, and would have noticed if it really led to “complete recovery of all infected colonies”, right?

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  1. Does this effect native bee populations or just honey bees?

    There is a large number of nosema species. It was thought at one time that they were host specific, like nosema of the silkworm, nosema of the locust, nosema of asian bees, and of european bees. It now appears that different types can cross species lines. Bumble bees have been disappearing in alarming numbers, and nosema is definitely part of the problem.

    Peter Loring Borst
    Ithaca, NY USA

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