Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Highly contagious honey bee virus transmitted by mites

Date:
June 7, 2012
Source:
University of Sheffield
Summary:
Researchers report that the parasitic 'Varroa' mite has caused the deformed wing virus 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 pollinators in the United States alone is estimated at about $15-$20 billion annually.

Researchers have discovered a parasitic mite has caused the deformed wing virus to proliferate in honey bee colonies.
Credit: darios44 / Fotolia

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have discovered a parasitic mite has caused the deformed wing virus to proliferate in honey bee colonies.

Related Articles


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 pollinators in the United States alone is estimated at about $15-$20 billion annually.

The research conducted in Hawaii by researchers from the University of Sheffield, the Marine Biological Association, the Food and Environment Research Agency and the University of Hawaii, and reported in the journal Science, showed how the Varroa mite caused deformed wing virus (DWV) -- a known viral pathogen -- to increase its frequency among honey bee colonies from 10 per cent to 100 per cent.

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.

Dr Stephen Martin, of the University of Sheffield's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences said: "Just 2,000 mites can cause a colony containing 30,000 bees to die. The mite is the biggest problem worldwide for bee keepers; it's responsible for millions of colonies being killed.

"Understanding the changing viral landscape that honey bees and other pollinators face will help beekeepers and conservationists worldwide protect these important insects. We have discovered what happens at the start of an infection. The goal is to understand how the infection comes about so that we can control it.

"Deformed Wing Virus is naturally transmitted in bees through feeding or sex but the mites change the disease so it becomes more deadly, shortening the bees' lives."

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

This ability of a mite to permanently alter the honey bee 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Sheffield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. J. Martin, A. C. Highfield, L. Brettell, E. M. Villalobos, G. E. Budge, M. Powell, S. Nikaido, D. C. Schroeder. Global Honey Bee Viral Landscape Altered by a Parasitic Mite. Science, 2012; 336 (6086): 1304 DOI: 10.1126/science.1220941

Cite This Page:

University of Sheffield. "Highly contagious honey bee virus transmitted by mites." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607142357.htm>.
University of Sheffield. (2012, June 7). Highly contagious honey bee virus transmitted by mites. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607142357.htm
University of Sheffield. "Highly contagious honey bee virus transmitted by mites." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607142357.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins