Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2011
Publication Date: August 20, 2011
Citation: Li, J., Peng, W., Wu, J., Strange, J.P., Boncristiani, Jr., H.F., Chen, Y. 2011. Cross-species infection of Deformed Wing virus poses a new threat to pollinator conservation. Journal of Economic Entomology. 104(3):732-739. Interpretive Summary: Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) is one of the most prevalent and common viruses in honey bees and causes wing deformity in adult honey bees. Here we provide the first evidence that DWV could also attack one species of bumble bee, important native pollinators of many crops. The infection of DWV was found in both laboratory-reared and field-collected bumble bees. However, the DWV infection was more widespread in bumble bees collected from the field in comparison to laboratory-reared bees, implying a possible association between the foraging activities of bumble bees and virus transmission. This research adds additional importance of viral disease control as an integrated part of biodiversity conservation efforts. The information obtained from this study can be used by scientists and apiary inspectors to monitor honey bee and bumble bee colonies for viruses to prevent the spread of disease.
Technical Abstract: Here we provide the evidence that Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), one of the most prevalent and common viruses in honey bees Apis mellifera, could cause an infection in bumble bees, Bombus huntii and that the virus infection could spread over the entire body of B. huntii. Our results showed that gut of B. huntii could support the replication of DWV, suggesting that B. huntii is a biological host for DWV, as honey bees. The quantification of the virus titer in the different host tissues showed that gut of B. huntii harbored the highest concentration of the DWV and the virus infection occurred in higher levels and more widespread in the bodies of field-collected bumble bees than in the bodies of lab-reared bees. These results of the virus quantification suggest a possible association between the foraging activities of bumble bees and food-borne virus transmission. Both bumble bees and honey bees sometimes share nectar and pollen resources in the same field. The geographical proximity of two host species likely played an important role in host range breadth of the virus.