Black queen cell virus and drifting of honey bee workers (Apis mellifera)

Retschnig, Gina; Kellermann, Liv A.; Mehmann, Marion M.; Yañez, Orlando; Winiger, Pius; Williams, Geoffrey R.; Neumann, Peter (2019). Black queen cell virus and drifting of honey bee workers (Apis mellifera). Journal of apicultural research, 58(5), pp. 754-755. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/00218839.2019.1655133

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Social insects may accidentally drift into foreign nests due to orientation errors. Even though pathogens have been reported to promote drifting, no data currently exist about the potential impact of titers of the widespread black queen cell virus (BQCV) on the orientation abilities of honey bee workers, Apis mellifera. Here, we investigated titers of BQCV in naturally infected drifted and non-drifted workers. The data show significantly higher virus titers in the drifted workers (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P < 0.01). Our results suggest that high BQCV loads may compromise honey bee orientation, possibly by affecting learning performance similar to other viruses. If future work demonstrates that the correlation found here represents a causal relationship between higher viral titers and drifting, this will be the first identification of clinical symptoms of BQCV in adult honey bee hosts.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Bee Health

UniBE Contributor:

Retschnig, Gina; Yanez Amayo, Victor Orlando and Neumann, Peter


500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




Taylor & Francis




Anna Papach

Date Deposited:

31 Mar 2020 14:40

Last Modified:

31 Aug 2020 02:30

Publisher DOI:





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