Varroa destructor (Mesostigmata: Varroidae) Parasitism and Climate Differentially Influence the Prevalence, Levels, and Overt Infections of Deformed Wing Virus in Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

June 6, 2016

From: Journal of Insect Science

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The prevalence and loads of deformed wing virus (DWV) between honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies from a tropical and a temperate environment were compared. The interaction between these environments and the mite Varroa destructor in relation to DWV prevalence, levels, and overt infections, was also analyzed. V. destructor rates were determined, and samples of mites, adult bees, brood parasitized with varroa mites and brood not infested by mites were analyzed. DWV was detected in 100% of the mites and its prevalence and loads in honey bees were significantly higher in colonies from the temperate climate than in colonies from the tropical climate. Significant interactions were found between climate and type of sample, with the highest levels of DWV found in varroa-parasitized brood from temperate climate colonies. Additionally, overt infections were observed only in the temperate climate. Varroa parasitism and DWV loads in bees from colonies with overt infections were significantly higher than in bees from colonies with covert infections. These results suggest that interactions between climate, V. destructor, and possibly other factors, may play a significant role in the prevalence and levels of DWV in honey bee colonies, as well as in the development of overt infections. Several hypotheses are discussed to explain these results.

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