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Israeli acute paralysis virus in Africanized honey bees in southeastern Brazilian Apiaries

Teixeira, Erica W., Chen, Yan-Ping, Message, Dejair, Boncristiani, Humberto F., Pettis, Jeff S., Evans, Jay D.
Journal of Apicultural Research 2012 v.51 no.3 pp. 282
Africanized honey bees, Apis mellifera scutellata, Israeli acute paralysis virus, RNA, apiaries, autumn, colony collapse disorder, introgression, metagenomics, microorganisms, pathogens, population dynamics, royal jelly, screening, viruses, winter, worker bees, Brazil
Honey bee losses in Brazil have been observed over the past few years. These losses share somewhat similar symptoms with the syndrome known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in the USA. After more than a half century of introgression from Apis mellifera subsp. scutellata, Africanized honey bees have tolerance against Varroa destructor and other parasites and other pathogens (Aumeier et al., 2001; Guzmán-Novoa et al., 1999; Mondragón et al., 2005; Moretto and Mello, 1999; 2001; Rosenkranz, 1999; Vandame et al., 2002). Consequently, it was surprising when serious population declines were observed in southern Brazil. Specifically, decreased bee populations and significant colony losses have been observed in São Paulo state, generally between March and July (autumn and winter in the Southern Hemisphere). We are actively testing these bees for indicators or causes of these losses, and for any similarities between colony losses in Brazil and CCD as described in the USA (vanEngelsdorp et al., 2009). This disorder, whereby the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear over a matter of weeks, often leaving healthy brood behind, has been tied to losses of 30-90% of colonies from some beekeeping operations in the USA (vanEngelsdorp and Meixner, 2010). Cox-Foster et al. (2007) used a metagenomic approach to survey microbes in CCD hives, normal hives, and imported royal jelly. Candidate pathogens were screened for significance of association with CCD, and IAPV, a positive stranded RNA virus belonging to the genus Aparavirus, family Dicistroviridae, displayed a strong correlation with CCD in surveyed colonies.