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Virus infections and winter losses of honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera).

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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 49 (1) pp. 60-65
January 2010
Article Title

Virus infections and winter losses of honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera)


Hélène Berthoud, Anton Imdorf, Monika Haueter, Sarah Radloff, Peter Neumann


Apiculturists have recently been confronted with drastic and inexplicable winter losses of colonies, and virus infections may be involved. Here, we surveyed 337 Swiss honey bee colonies in the winter of 2005 and 2006 and categorized their health status as: 1. dead (= no or few live bees left); 2. weak (= dwindling, high mortality of adult bees); or 3. healthy (= normal overwintering colony). From each colony, pooled adult workers were analyzed for deformed wing virus (DWV), acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV), chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) and Kashmir bee virus(KBV). Neither KBV nor CBPV were found, but significantly higher ABPV and DWV infections were found in dead vs. weak vs. healthy colonies (except DWV in 2006 between weak and healthy). Moreover, ABPV and DWV loads were positively correlated with each other. This is the first report demonstrating statistically significant correlations between viruses associated with Varroa destructor and winter mortality.


ABPV, Apis mellifera, colony losses, DWV, honey bee

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