Amoebic dysentery

Malpighamoeba mellificae


Amoebic dysentery is a disease of bees



Host animals


Infection route

Within the hive or from colony to colony. Transmission is also possible through the beekeeper.


The typical symptom of amoebic dysentery is extremely thin, golden-yellow, nauseating smelling feces


In case of weak infestation, self-healing of the bee colony is possible. In Austria there is no approved drug


Hygiene measures

Situation in Austria

The amoebic dysentery is not reportable

Specialized information

The malpighamoeba(Malpighamoeba mellificae PRELL ) attacks the urinary vessels of adult bees and causes the so-called amoebic dysentery. It belongs to the group of protozoa and is found in the urethras of honey bees, the so-called Malpighian vessels. In addition to the reproductive stage (amoeboid stage), it forms permanent forms, so-called cysts, which can survive outside the bee for a long time. Amoebic dysentery often occurs as a mixed infection with nosemosis.

Transmission occurs by passing the cysts through feces during cleaning of the hive by cleaning bees or from colony to colony (flight, predation, bee drinking). Transmission is also possible through the beekeeper (moving combs contaminated with amoebic cysts, combining sick with healthy colonies).

Typical symptom of this disease is extremely thin, golden-yellow, disgusting smelling feces. General symptoms are severe diarrhea, crawling, flightless bees with trembling wings, distended abdomen, caked combs, hives, forehead and flight boards, and increased death.

Factors promoting the disease are long periods of flightlessness, severe disturbance, lack of bees, cold, cool, damp summer and autumn months, long winters. Self-healing is possible with weak infestations.

Hygiene measures

  • promotion of bee turnover, so that infested old bees leave more quickly
  • kill heavily infested weak colonies
  • In case of weakly infested colonies, remove the contaminated combs from the colony, remove dead bees from the ground, clean the ground, flight boards and front wall.
  • narrow down the colony
  • sufficient food supply

In Austria there is no approved medicine



DI Hemma Köglberger

Last updated: 28.03.2024

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