Potential for virus transfer between the honey bees Apis mellifera and A. cerana

Yanez Amayo, Victor Orlando; Zheng, Huo-Qing; Su, Xiao-Ling; Hu, Fu-Liang; Neumann, Peter; Dietemann, Vincent (2016). Potential for virus transfer between the honey bees Apis mellifera and A. cerana. Journal of apicultural research, 54(3), pp. 179-191. International Bee Research Association IBRA 10.1080/00218839.2015.1128145

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Viruses seem to play a key role in European honey bee, Apis mellifera health, and have a much broader host spectrum than previously thought. Few studies have investigated interspecific virus transfer within the genus Apis. The introduction of A. mellifera into Asia exposed endemic Apis species to the risk of obtaining new viruses or viral strains and vice
versa. To investigate the potential for host shifts, virus prevalence and sequences were monitored over three years in single and mixed-species apiaries hosting introduced A. mellifera and endemic Apis cerana. Deformed wing virus (DWV), Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), black queen cell virus (BQCV), and sacbrood virus (SBV) were found, but not KBV,
VDV-1, ABPV, or CBPV. Virus infections and prevalence were generally lower in A. cerana compared to A. mellifera, and varied over the years. The sequence data provided evidence for interspecific transfer of IAPV, BQCV, and DWV, but SBV strains seem to be species specific. Prevalence and sequence results taken together indicate that interspecific transfers of viruses are rare, even if honey bees are kept in close proximity. We discuss the pattern observed in the context host specificity and resistance. Our understanding of the extent of these exchanges is limited by a lack of knowledge on the mechanisms of adaptation of viruses to different hosts.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Yanez Amayo, Victor Orlando and Neumann, Peter


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)




International Bee Research Association IBRA


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation ; [57] National Natural Science Foundation of China ; [78] COST - VIVA project ; [79] Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China




Victor Orlando Yanez Amayo

Date Deposited:

11 May 2016 17:23

Last Modified:

09 Sep 2017 08:34

Publisher DOI:






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