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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #293460

Title: Israeli acute paralysis virus affects sucrose responsiveness and homing ability of forager bees, Apis mellifera

Author
item Li, Zhiguo - Zhejiang University
item Chen, Yanping - Judy
item Zhang, Shaowu - Australian National University
item Chen, Shenglu - Zhejiang University
item Li, Wenfeng - Zhejiang University
item Yan, Limin - Zhejiang University
item Shi, Liangen - Zhejiang Wanli University
item Wu, Lyman
item Sohr, Alex
item Su, Songkun - Fujian Agricultural & Forestry University

Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2013
Publication Date: 10/10/2013
Citation: Li, Z., Chen, Y., Zhang, S., Chen, S., Li, W., Yan, L., Shi, L., Wu, L., Sohr, A.R., Su, S. 2013. Israeli acute paralysis virus affects sucrose responsiveness and homing ability of forager bees, Apis mellifera. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077354.

Interpretive Summary: Viruses are significant threats to the health and well-being of the honey bees which are important pollinators for both flowers and agricultural crops. A virus called Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) was found to be tightly linked to honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a mysterious disease that wiped out tens of billions of bees in the US during the winter of 2006-2007. We conducted a study to investigate the effects of IAPV on the foraging behaviors and homing ability of honeybees. Our study provides strong evidence that IAPV could impair the homing ability of forager honeybees and IAPV-infected bees were found to lose the ability to find their way back to the hive. The findings from our study offer unique insights into the interplay between viral infection and honeybee health and may also have implications in the development of control strategies to the disease caused by the virus.

Technical Abstract: The honeybee virus, Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), may be one of the most common stressors that are responsible for the colony losses reported worldwide in recent years. IAPV was found to be tightly correlated with honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in the recent outbreak of CCD in the U.S. in 2006-2007. In the present study, the effects of IAPV on the foraging behaviors and homing ability of European honeybees (Apis mellifera) were investigated based on Proboscis Extension Response (PER) assays and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems. The pollen forager bees originated from colonies that had no detectable level of honeybee viruses and were manually inoculated with IAPV to induce the viral infection. The results showed that IAPV-inoculated honeybees were more responsive to low sucrose solutions compared to that of non-infected foragers. After two days of infection, around 107 copies of IAPV were detected in the heads of these honeybees. The homing ability of IAPV-infected foragers was depressed significantly in comparison to the homing ability of uninfected foragers. The data provided evidence that IAPV infection in heads may enable the virus to interfere with brain functions that are responsible for learning, navigation, and orientation in the honeybees, thus, making honeybees have a lower response threshold to sucrose and lose their way back to the hive.