Assessment of losses in honey yield due to the chalkbrood disease, with reference to the determination of its economic injury levels in Egypt.
In Egypt, the chalk brood (CHB) disease caused by the fungus, Ascosphaera apis Maassen started again infesting the honeybee, Apis melifera L (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies after a cessation pause of seven to nine years. For the first time, an attempt has been made to look into the problem of the CHB disease from the view point of assessing losses in both clover (Trifolium alexandrinum) and chinus (Chinus molus) honey yields. In this regard, two techniques were adopted. Under the natural conditions of the experimental apiary (first technique), loss in clover honey was 18.412 +/- 0.663%, on average, whereas the average loss in chinus honey was 18.332 +/- 1.536%. In the second technique of loss appraisal (artificial infection). The tested honeybee colonies were artificially infected with four sources of A. apis infection, I.e. black mummies, white mummies, pollen grains and water, in addition to controls to create the so-called "different levels of infection". The mean percentages of losses in clover honey were 30.06 +/- 1.807, 27.95 +/- 1.062; 21.13 +/- 0.987; 16.96 +/- 0.672 and 0.00 +/- 0.00 for black mummies, white mummies, pollen grains, water and control, respectively. Taking into account the relationship between number of resulted mummies in each source of infection and % loss in clover honey, it could be concluded that as the resulted mummies increased, the corresponding clover honey yield decreased in each source of infection. It was noticed that the % loss in clover honey differed as the used technique differed. For example, the percentage loss in clover honey produced from colonies exposed to the natural conditions was relatively less than that of the artificially infected ones. This has been discussed in the text. However, the causative pathogen of CHB disease resulted in serious decrease in honey production. Loss appraisal is a perquisite step for the determination of the economic injury levels (EILs). By regressing % loss in clover honey yield against the total number of fallen mummies, the linear equation was worked out to be: Y = 0.242 + 0.040 x (r2 = 0.99, F = 62408.865). Depending on the total costs of controlling CHB disease, the EIL values were 31.875 and 11.250 mummies/colony for cedar oil and thymol granules, subsequently. As to the chinus honey the corresponding EILs were 18.940 and 6.683 mummies/colony for cedar oil and thymol granules, in respect, as a result of adopting the regression formula: Y = -6.762 + 0.101 X. As for the clover honey (artificial infection) the EIL values were 39.844 and 14.063 mummies/ colony in case of using cedar oil and thymol grains, subsequently. These values were worked out using the formula Y = 5.871 + 0.032 X. From the practical point of view, apiarists should not use thymol or cedar oil as fallen mummies don't reach the suggested EILs values to minimize control costs as much as possible.