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Impact of Varroa destructor and associated pathologies on the colony collapse disorder affecting honey bees

José M. Flores, Victoria Gámiz, Ángeles Jiménez-Marín, Alicia Flores-Cortés, Sergio Gil-Lebrero, Juan J. Garrido, María Dolores Hernando
Research in veterinary science 2021 v.135 pp. 85-95
Acute bee paralysis virus, Apis mellifera, Deformed wing virus, Nosema ceranae, Varroa destructor, antimicrobial peptides, apiculture, colony collapse disorder, fungi, honey, honey bees, humoral immunity, industry, melittin, mites, opportunistic pathogens, research, veterinary medicine, viability, viruses, Spain
Varroa mite is the major threat to the western honey bee, Apis mellifera, and the cause of significant economic losses in the apiculture industry. Varroa destructor feeds on brood and adult bees being responsible for vectoring virus infections and other diseases. This study analyses the role of Varroa and other associated pathogens, such as viruses or the fungus Nosema ceranae, and their relationships regarding the viability of the bee colony. It has been carried out during one beekeeping season, with the subspecies A. m. iberiensis, commonly used in the apiculture industry of Spain. Our study shows a significant relationship between the presence of Varroa destructor and viral infection by deformed wing virus and acute bee paralysis virus. Nosema ceranae behaved as an opportunistic pathogen. In addition, this study explored a potential naturally occurring subset of peptides, responsible for the humoral immunity of the bees. The expression of the antimicrobial peptides abaecin and melittin showed a significant relationship with the levels of Varroa mite and the deformed wing virus.