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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Baton Rouge, Louisiana » Honey Bee Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #364422

Research Project: Genetics and Breeding in Support of Honey Bee Health

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Differential infection intensity based on route of viral infection in honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens.

item LANG, SARAH - LSU Agcenter
item HEALY, KRISTEN - LSU Agcenter
item Simone-Finstrom, Michael
item DAVIS, JEFF - LSU Agcenter

Submitted to: Entomology Society of America Pacific Branch Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies have been facing high levels of colony losses over the last decade, which can be attributed to numerous potential causes, including parasites and pathogens. Deformed wing virus (DWV) has a nearly worldwide distribution, primarily driven by its major vector the mite Varroa destructor. This virus often occurs innately at low levels in colonies and is capable of infecting workers, queens, and drones. Additionally, DWV can be transmitted horizontally (orally from worker to worker, worker to queen), vertically (queen to egg) and sexually (male to female). This led us to hypothesize that the different routes of viral transmission to honey bee queens may result in differential intensity of DWV infection. Honey bee queens were infected with DWV through feeding, insemination, feeding + insemination, and injection. Viral titer level was assessed at 1 hour, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days, and 28 days post-inoculation. The insemination treatment led to fewer established infections with lower intensity compared to the feeding and feeding+insemination treatments, while injection led to high intensity and consistent infection. Virus infection may be limited in the insemination treatment by the queen purging the virus with the seminal fluid, resulting in less time for the virus to infect the oviduct, while the feeding treatment virus stays within the gut where it may be difficult for viruses to infect the gut lining. Inoculation by both feeding and insemination may increase stress which may be more likely to lead to an infection. Implications for vertical transmission based on route of infection will be discussed.