Bees may transmit viruses to offspring

January 19, 2006

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture report what may be the first evidence of queen honeybees transmitting viruses to their offspring.

Honeybees contribute greatly to the annual $15 billion agriculture market by assisting in the pollination of a wide variety of crops. But researchers say the health of honeybee colonies is continuously threatened by various pathogens, with viruses posing the greatest risk due to lack of information concerning transmission and outbreaks.

In the study, feces and tissue of individual queen bees were tested for viral presence. All tissue forms but one, as well as feces, were found to carry viral infections.

Once the viruses in the queen bees were identified, their offspring -- including eggs, larvae and adult workers -- were tested and were found to carry the same viruses.

The USDA scientists say the study demonstrates the vertical transmission of multiple viruses from mother queens to their offspring.

They detail their findings in the January issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Honeybees threatened by virulent virus

Related Stories

Honeybees threatened by virulent virus

June 30, 2016

Researchers have found that honeybees in Europe are at significantly higher risk from an emerging viral variant, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Deciphering the mysterious decline of honey bees

May 25, 2016

Honey bees are arguably our most important commercially available pollinator. They are responsible for pollinating numerous food plants that make our diets more exciting and nutritious, including many fruits, vegetables and ...

Parasite-free honey bees enable study of bee health

July 1, 2014

An international team of researchers has discovered honey bee colonies in Newfoundland, Canada, that are free of the invasive parasites that affect honey bees elsewhere in the world. The populations offer a unique opportunity ...

Pesticides not sole cause of declining bee numbers

March 20, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Despite a growing worldwide clamor to ban pesticides linked to honey bee deaths, multiple factors contribute to the declining honey bee population, not just one class of insecticides, says Extension Apiculturist ...

Recommended for you

Force triggers gene expression by stretching chromatin

August 26, 2016

How genes in our DNA are expressed into traits within a cell is a complicated mystery with many players, the main suspects being chemical. However, a new study by University of Illinois researchers and collaborators in China ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.