Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 19, 2004
Publication Date: September 10, 2004
Citation: Chen, Y., Pettis, J.S., Feldlaufer, M.F. 2004. Detection of multiple viruses in queens of the honey bee, apis mellifera l. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 90:118-121.
Interpretive Summary: Honey bees are important beneficial insects that can be infected by numerous disease agents, including viruses. While parasitic mites have been implicated in the spread of honey bee viruses, the detection of viruses in stages not normally associated with mite parasitism, like honey bee eggs, suggests other routes of transmission. Using molecular techniques that allow the detection of viruses in individuals, we have found that honey bee queens contain numerous viruses, oftentimes in multiple infections. This information is interesting to other researchers involved in virus transmission as it offers an explanation of how viruses can be passed along without parasitic mites. It also alerts federal agencies that regulate the importation of honey bee queens into the Unites States that these queens may be the source of virus.
This report documents the evidence of virus infections in the honey bee adult queens. Samples of queens collected from individual bee colonies were examined for the presence of viruses including acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV), chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV), black queen cell virus (BQCV), deformed wing virus (DWV), Kashmir bee virus (KBV), and sacbrood virus (SBV). The results showed that except for ABPV, all other viruses were detected in the samples of queens. Among queens with virus infections, 93 % of them had multiple virus infections. The detection of viruses in queens implies that the queens’ offspring, eggs, have the opportunity to obtain viruses from the infected queens. This possibility raises an important question of whether vertical transmission pathway exists within the bee colony. Occurrence of this possible vertical route of transmission is currently under investigation