Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2004
Publication Date: June 1, 2004
Citation: Chen, Y., Smith, Jr., I.B., Collins, A.M., Pettis, J.S., Feldlaufer, M.F. 2004. Detection of deformed wing virus infection in honey bees Apis mellifera L. in the United States. American Bee Journal. 144(7):557-559.
Interpretive Summary: The honey bee is an important beneficial insect assisting in the pollination of a wide variety of crops with an annual added market value exceeding 14 billion dollars. Honey bees, however, are threatened by a myriad of parasites and diseases and the occurrence of honey bee viruses and their effect on bees is not particularly well understood. We now report the detection of a honey bee virus not previously known to exist in the U. S., and demonstrate the utility of using molecular techniques for this area of research. The results of this research will be used by other scientists investigating honey bee viruses and by federal regulatory personnel involved in the worldwide trade in honey bees. Ultimately, this research will benefit beekeepers by improving our understanding of viral diseases of honey bees.
Using molecular methods we provide evidence of the first detection of deformed wing virus (DWV) infection in the U.S. By reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), DWV was detected in different stages of honey bees, including adult bees with deformed wings, normal-appearing adult bees, eggs, larvae, and pupae. While the virus was also detected in the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, the detection of DWV in eggs and larvae suggests there are alternate ways for the virus to spread within colonies. The detection of virus in normal-appearing adults also suggests that virus titers may have to reach certain levels in the pupae before the infection is manifested by deformed wings.