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Title: Recent spread of Varroa destructor virus-1, a honey bee pathogen, in the United States

item RYABOV, EUGENE - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Childers, Anna
item Chen, Yanping - Judy
item Madella, Shayne
item NESSA, ASHRAFUN - University Of Maryland
item VANENGELSDORP, DENNIS - University Of Maryland
item Evans, Jay

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2017
Publication Date: 12/12/2017
Citation: Ryabov, E., Childers, A.K., Chen, Y., Madella, S., Nessa, A., Vanengelsdorp, D., Evans, J.D. 2017. Recent spread of Varroa destructor virus-1, a honey bee pathogen, in the United States. Scientific Reports. 7:17447.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees face numerous pests and pathogens. Among the pathogens, viruses that are vectored by Varroa mites are most damaging. Deformed wing virus is widespread in the US. Here we report a relative of Deformed wing virus (Varroa destructor virus) for the first time in U.S. honey bee colonies and show that this virus has reached high levels. This is worrisome for beekeepers since Varroa destructor virus has been shown to be highly damaging to honey bees. These results will aid efforts to identify efficient controls for honey bee viruses and the mites that help transmit these viruses.

Technical Abstract: RNA viruses impact honey bee colony health and contribute to elevated colony loss rates worldwide. Deformed wing virus (DWV) and closely related Varroa destructor virus-1 (VDV1) are the most widespread honey bee viruses. VDV1 is tied to high overwinter losses in Europe. Using next generation sequencing we discovered VDV1 in honey bees from the US. A survey of 603 honey bee colonies from 582 U.S. apiaries sampled in 2016 has revealed that VDV was present in 64.5% of these colonies. Analysis of 75 colonies collected in 2010 found VDV1 in only two colonies. We also detected recombinants between the US strains of VDV1 and DWV. The presence of these recombinants in the US poses additional risk because similar VDV1-DWV recombinants are highly virulent in Europe.