Deformed Wing Virus in honey bees transmitted by mites: study

Jun 07, 2012

Researchers in Hawaii and the UK report that the parasitic 'Varroa' mite has caused the Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) to proliferate in honey bee colonies.

This association is now thought to contribute to the world-wide spread and probable death of millions of honey bee colonies. The current monetary value of honey bees as commercial in the United States alone is estimated at about $15-$20 billion annually

The research conducted in Hawaii by researchers at Sheffield University, the Marine Biological Association, FERA and University of Hawaii, and reported in the journal Science (June 8, 2012), showed how Varroa caused DWV – a known viral pathogen – to increase its frequency among honey bee colonies from 10% to 100%. This change was accompanied by a million-fold increase in the number of virus particles infecting each honey bee and a massive reduction in viral strain diversity leading to the emergence of a single 'virulent' DWV strain.

As the mite and new virulent strain of becomes established across the Hawaiian islands the new emerging viral landscape will mirror that found across the rest of the world where Varroa is now established.

This ability of a mite to permanently alter the viral landscape may by a key factor in the recent colony collapse disorder (CCD) and over-wintering colony losses (OCL) as the virulent pathogen strain remains even after the mites are removed.

Explore further: Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

More information: "Global Honey Bee Viral Landscape Altered by a Parasitic Mite," by S.J. Martin, Science, 2012.

Related Stories

Bee disease a mystery

Jun 30, 2008

Scientists are one step closer to understanding the recent demise of billions of honey bees after making an important discovery about the transmission of a common bee virus. Deformed wing virus (DWV) is passed between adult ...

'Swindon Honeybee' could save Britain's bees

Aug 27, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Honey bee numbers have been declining almost everywhere due to a pesticide-resistant mite called Varroa. Now a beekeeper in Britain claims to have discovered a strain of bee that destroys ...

Bees Throw Out Mites

Sep 11, 2009

Honey bees are now fighting back aggressively against Varroa mites, thanks to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) efforts to develop bees with a genetic trait that allows them to more easily find the mites ...

Fungus Foot Baths Could Save Bees

Jul 28, 2008

One of the biggest world wide threats to honey bees, the varroa mite, could soon be about to meet its nemesis. Researchers at the University of Warwick are examining naturally occurring fungi that kill the varroa mite. They ...

Recommended for you

Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

Nov 21, 2014

The exclusive club of explorers who have discovered a rare new species of life isn't restricted to globetrotters traveling to remote locations like the Amazon rainforests, Madagascar or the woodlands of the ...

Mysterious glowworm found in Peruvian rainforest

Nov 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer has discovered what appears to be a new type of bioluminescent larvae. He told members of the press recently that he was walking near a camp in the Peruvian ...

The unknown crocodiles

Nov 21, 2014

Just a few years ago, crocodilians – crocodiles, alligators and their less-known relatives – were mostly thought of as slow, lazy, and outright stupid animals. You may have thought something like that ...

User comments : 0

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.