The Current State of the Protected Apis mellifera mellifera Population in Russia: Hybridization and Nosematosis
The Southern Urals of Russia are the habitat of one of the surviving populations of the dark forest bee—the Burzyan population of Apis mellifera mellifera. In this study, we present the results of the subspecies identification of bee colonies in the Altyn-Solok Nature Reserve in the Southern Ural Mountains using the intergenic mtDNA COI-COII locus and the assessment of the prevalence of nosematosis. Analysis of the mtDNA COI-COII intergenic locus in the studied sample showed that 30.4% of the colonies belong to the lineage C. The PCR diagnostics of nosematosis in 92 colonies selected from different sectors of the Altyn-Solok Nature Reserve showed that about half of the analyzed colonies were infected with Nosema apis. Nosema ceranae was found in eight colonies. Both of these factors can lead to the extinction of this population of the dark forest bee.