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Title: Honey Bee Viruses

item Chen, Yanping - Judy

Submitted to: Advances in Virus Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/2006
Publication Date: 8/1/2007
Citation: Chen, Y.P., Siede, R. 2007. Honey Bee Viruses. Advances in Virus Research. 70:33-80.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees are attacked by a wide variety of pathogens which are responsible for significant colony losses. Among honey bee pathogens, viruses pose one of the major threats to the health and well-being of honey bees and have caused serious problems for researchers and beekeepers. Protecting honey bee colonies from disease is a critical component of the beekeeping business. This review presents a comprehensive overview of the honey bee viruses including their natural history, transmission routes, epidemiology, disease mechanisms, and host defensive responses to virus infections based on our current research data and previous findings by other scientists. The information provided in the review will assist researchers and beekeepers to identity the diseases caused by viruses and to develop an appropriate disease control program to combat virus infections in honey bees.

Technical Abstract: Viruses are significant threats to the health and well-being of the honey bee, Apis mellifera. To alleviate the threats posed by these invasive organisms, a better understanding of bee viral infections will be of crucial importance in developing effective and environmentally-benign disease control strategies. Although knowledge of honey bee viruses has been accumulated considerably in the past two decades, a comprehensive review to compile the various aspects of bee viruses at the molecular level has not been reported. This review summarizes recent progress in the understanding of the morphology, genome organization, transmission, and pathogenesis of honey bee viruses as well as their interactions with their honey bee hosts. The virus epidemiology based on the five-year field study of seasonal fluctuation of virus infections in bee colonies in Beltsville, MD is included in the review. The future prospects of research of honey bee viruses are also discussed in detail. The chapter has been designed to provide researchers in the field with updated information about honey bee viruses and to serve as a starting point for future research.