Submitted to: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/24/2005
Publication Date: 1/20/2006
Citation: Chen, Y., Pettis, J.S., Collins, A.M., Feldlaufer, M.F. 2006. Prevalence and transmission routes of honey bee viruses. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 72(1):606-611. Interpretive Summary: Honey bees are important beneficial insects that can be infected by numerous disease agents, including viruses. While parasitic mites have been shown to transmit bee viruses, other routes of transmission could be involved in the overall spread of these viruses. Using molecular techniques, we have detected viruses in various tissues of honey bee queens, as well as in honey bee eggs. This research shows that queens can transmit virus to their offspring. This information is interesting to other researchers involved in virus transmission as it offers an explanation of how viruses can be passed along in the absence of parasitic mites.
Technical Abstract: Transmission mechanisms of six viruses including acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV), black queen cell virus (BQCV), chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV), deformed wing virus (DWV), Kashmir bee virus (KBV), and sacbrood bee virus (SBV) in honey bee colonies were investigated by RT-PCR methods. The virus status of individual queens was evaluated by examining the presence of viruses in the queens’ feces and tissues including hemolymph, gut, ovaries, spermatheca, head, and eviscerated body. Except for head tissue, all five tissues as well as queen feces were found to be positive for virus infections. When queens in bee colonies were identified to be positive for BQCV, DWV, CBPV, KBV, and SBV, the same viruses were detected in their offspring including eggs, larvae, and adult workers. Meanwhile, queens that were found positive for only two viruses, BQCV and DWV, only these two viruses were detected in their offspring in the colonies. The presence of viruses in the tissue of ovaries and the detection of the same viruses in eggs and young larvae suggest a vertical transmission of viruses from queens to offspring.