La Trobe University doctoral student and fourth-generation beekeeper Jody Gerdts has researched why Australian honeybees are so susceptible to the disease.
Chalkbrood disease is a fast-acting, spore-forming fungus which, after being ingested by bee larvae, takes just days to puncture the larvae skin and form a fungal mycelia on the outside of the baby bee.
"It affects the developing stage of the bee, so although it doesn't kill the whole hive, it can affect the number of bees that can go out and forage, bring home honey and help out with pollination," Ms Gerdts said.
The spores that infect the bee larvae are so small that they can travel on a single bee hair.
"It can form new spores and then become more contagious in the hive," she said.
With the help of beekeepers from all over the eastern states of Australia, Ms Gredts looked at the impact of hygiene, bee genetics and environment on the prevalence of chalkbrood, and has found there is a relationship between poor quality pollen and its prevalence in Australian honeybee hives.
Read on: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-28/chalkbrood-fungal-disease-on-the-rise-in-australian-beehives/10945502