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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Dec;70(12):7185-91.

Prevalence and seasonal variations of six bee viruses in Apis mellifera L. and Varroa destructor mite populations in France.

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Laboratoire de Pathologie Comparée des Invertébrés UMR5087, CC 101, Université Montpellier II, Montpellier, France.


A survey of six bee viruses on a large geographic scale was undertaken by using seemingly healthy bee colonies and the PCR technique. Samples of adult bees and pupae were collected from 36 apiaries in the spring, summer, and autumn during 2002. Varroa destructor samples were collected at the end of summer following acaricide treatment. In adult bees, during the year deformed wing virus (DWV) was found at least once in 97% of the apiaries, sacbrood virus (SBV) was found in 86% of the apiaries, chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) was found in 28% of the apiaries, acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV) was found in 58% of the apiaries, black queen cell virus (BQCV) was found in 86% of the apiaries, and Kashmir bee virus (KBV) was found in 17% of the apiaries. For pupae, the following frequencies were obtained: DWV, 94% of the apiaries; SBV, 80% of the apiaries; CBPV, none of the apiaries; ABPV, 23% of the apiaries; BQCV, 23% of the apiaries; and KBV, 6% of the apiaries. In Varroa samples, the following four viruses were identified: DWV (100% of the apiaries), SBV (45% of the apiaries), ABPV (36% of the apiaries), and KBV (5% of the apiaries). The latter findings support the putative role of mites in transmitting these viruses. Taken together, these data indicate that bee virus infections occur persistently in bee populations despite the lack of clinical signs, suggesting that colony disease outbreaks might result from environmental factors that lead to activation of viral replication in bees.

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