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Title: Virus infections in Brazilian honey bees

item Chen, Yanping - Judy
item Pettis, Jeffery
item Evans, Jay

Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2008
Publication Date: 9/10/2008
Citation: Teixeira, E.W., Chen, Y., Message, D., Pettis, J.S., Evans, J.D. 2008. Virus infections in Brazilian honey bees. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 99:117-119.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees are of great agricultural importance worldwide. Africanized bees in the Americas are widely viewed as being resistant to bee diseases. Thus, the observation of colony losses in an area consisting of Africanized bees in Brazil was surprising. Israeli acute paralysis virus, a species proposed to cause colony losses in the United States, was found in these bees, but was not strongly tied to sick colonies. This is the first record of this species from South America, and suggests a wider distribution than thought previously. This information is important in testing a proposed key factor in Colony Collapse Disorder, a recent heavy decline in honey bees from the United States.

Technical Abstract: Brazilian honey bees are famously resistant to disease, perhaps because of long-term introgression from Apis mellifera subsp. scutellata. Recently, colony losses were observed in the Altinópolis region of southeastern Brazil. We sampled 200 colonies from this region for Israeli acute paralysis virus, a species implicated in recent honey bee colony collapses in the United States. Our results indicate that 25.7% of all inside analyzed bees samples carried IAPV. IAPV presence was slightly higher in brood area bees from apparently “healthy colonies” (54.35%) than in apparently “sick colonies” (45.65%), but the observed difference was not significant, nor were signs of covariance between virus incidence and disease across apiaries. Further surveys for this virus are needed in Brazil to determine the range of IAPV and prevalence relative to disease.