Bee diseases

Bees are essential to life on Earth. Indeed, these magnificent insects are the main pollinators of flowering plants and a good part of the food we eat depends on this pollinating action which, although also carried out by other animals, relies heavily on the major role of bees. . These insects can suffer from many pathologies, which can be linked to their genetics, the presence of pathogens, such as viruses, fungi, bacteria, protozoa and even certain arthropods, and other environmental conditions.

Wondering what bee diseases are? If this is the case, we invite you to continue reading this article from PlanèteAnimal in which we are talking about 20 bee diseases!

What are bee diseases?

List of 20 bee diseases:

  1. small hive beetle
  2. Acariasis
  3. Varrose
  4. Tropilaelapsosis
  5. American foulbrood
  6. Foulbrood
  7. Amebiasis of bees
  8. Chalkbrood or ascospherosis
  9. Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPVV)
  10. Nosemosis
  11. Calcified Brood
  12. Deformed wing virus
  13. Sacbrood
  14. Acute paralysis virus
  15. Black queen cell virus
  16. Israeli acute paralysis virus
  17. Kakugo Virus
  18. Kashmir Virus
  19. Invertebrate iridescent virus type 6
  20. Tobacco macular virus.

small hive beetle

The small hive beetle is a type of beetle identified as the species Aethina tumida. The larval form of the beetle feeds on the eggs, honey and pollen of beesto the point of ending the hive.

Depending on the species, some bees manage to defend themselves by wrapping the invader in a resinous substance, but others are unable to do so. The disease attacks European and African species of bees.

Find out how bees make honey!

Bee Diseases - Small Hive Beetle


Acariosis, also called acarapisosis, is a adult honeybee disease caused by a mite, an arachnid identified as belonging to the species Acarapis woodi. This species is parasitized by lodging in the respiratory system of honey bees where it feeds on their haemolymph.

It affects colonies in North and South America, Europe and countries in the Middle East. Newly hatched bees are more susceptible to the disease but, if present, the mite will attack on a large scale and is completely capable of wiping out an entire colony.

In the following article we tell you all about the importance of bees!


Varrose is another bee disease. It is also caused by a mite. In this case, the arachnid behaves like a external parasite adult bees and larvae. Although there are several species that cause this disease, the mite identified as Varroa destructor is the one that causes the most damage, because it carries a virus that causes deformation of the wings of bees and a shortening of the abdomen. This disease is also transmitted by direct contact between individuals and is present worldwide, except in Oceania.

Bee Diseases - Varrose


Another bee disease is tropilaelapsosis. The latter is caused by different species of mites of the genus Tropilaelaps. These animals are widespread in Asia, and when they enter hives, they feed on both larvae and pupae, and they cause deformities to appear in adult bees. The disease can be spread by direct contagion between insects.

Diseases of bees - Tropilaelapsosis

American foulbrood

American foulbrood is a serious disease that especially affects honey bees. It is a bacterial disease, caused by the species Paenibacillus larvae. The bacterium is able to produce spores and it is in this way that it spreads and invades entire colonies where it will develop and where it will kill the larvae.

Even though the bacteria is controlled with antibiotics, the spores are resistant and highly contagious, so the only effective control is to burn the hive and anything that has come in contact with it. This disease is present worldwide.

Discover in the following article the life cycle of bees!

Bee Diseases - American Foulbrood


Unlike American foulbrood, European foulbrood is caused by the bacteria Melissococcus plutonius, which, like American foulbrood, kills bees in the larval state. It is very contagious and is spread by direct contact or even through honeycombs. It is distributed in the Americas and Asia, including countries in the Middle East.

Find out all about the dance of the bees!

Image: BeeNet

Bee Diseases - European Foulbrood

Amebiasis of bees

It is a disease caused by a protozoan called Malpighamoeba mellificaewhich infects both the Malpighian tubules, the digestive system of bees and which causes intestinal inflammation due to the formation of cysts, which eventually causes diarrhea in the insects, inability to fly, and ultimately death.

Chalkbrood or ascospherosis

We are dealing here with a fungal disease caused by the fungus Ascosphaera apis. Bees are infected when the larvae also consume the spores produced by the fungus. Once inside the larva, the mycelium of the fungus begins to grow and causes the death of the bee, drying it out and petrifying it.

Bee Diseases - Chalkbrood or Ascospherosis

Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPVV)

Chronic bee paralysis viral disease is, as the name suggests, a viral disease as well as an infectious disease, which is transmitted through contaminated food consumed in the hive. Once the virus is in the digestive tract, it spreads through the animal’s nervous system, including the head. He ends up paralyzing the bee and causing it to die.

Diseases of bees - Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBVPV)


Nosemosis is a disease of bees caused by a fungus called Nosema apis. The latter acts as a parasite that destroys the cells of the digestive system that process food and obtain nutrients. Because of it, the bee is unable to take advantage of its essential elements. It also causes a inflammation of the abdomen and diarrheawhich can lead to death.

More bee diseases

As you have realized, bee diseases are numerous and each one more dangerous than the other. If you want to expand your knowledge on this subject, we suggest that you do your own research on these 10 other bee diseases:

  • Calcified brood
  • Deformed wing virus
  • Sacbrood
  • Acute paralysis virus
  • Black queen cell virus
  • Israeli acute paralysis virus
  • Kakugo Virus
  • Kashmir Virus
  • Invertebrate iridescent virus type 6
  • Tobacco macular virus.

This article is purely informative, on PlanèteAnimal we do not have the skills to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to take your animal to the veterinarian if it shows symptoms of feverishness or illness.

If you want to read more articles like Bee diseaseswe recommend that you consult the Other health problems section.


  • Formato G., Menegotto A. and Jannoni-Sebastianini R. (2015). Main enfermedades de las abejas melíferas. Available at:
  • Gobierno de Aragon (2022). Enfermedades de las abejas. Available at:
  • Organization Mundial de Sanidad Animal (2022). Enfermedades de las abejas. Available at:


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