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Open AccessArticle

DWV-A Lethal to Honey Bees (Apis mellifera): A Colony Level Survey of DWV Variants (A, B, and C) in England, Wales, and 32 States across the US

1
School of Environment and Life Science, The University of Salford, Manchester M5 4WT, UK
2
Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108, USA
3
Center of Agrarin, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Federal University of Reconcavo of Bahia, Rui Barbosa 710, Cruz das Almas, Bahia 44380-000, Brazil
4
ScientificBeekeeping.com, Grass Valley, CA 95945, USA
5
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6LA, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050426
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Viruses and Pest Management)
The strong association between Varroa destructor, deformed wing virus (DWV), and high overwintering colony losses (OCL) of honey bees is well established. Three DWV master variants (DWV-A, -B, and -C) have been described, and their role in colony mortality remains an open question. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the seasonal prevalence, viral load, and changing distribution of the three DWV master variants within honey bee colonies from England, Wales, and 32 states across the United States. Here, we report that in 2016, DWV-B was prevalent (100%, n = 249) and dominant (95%) in England and Wales, compared to the US. (56%, n = 217 and 23%, respectively), where DWV-A was prevalent (83%, n = 217) and dominant (63%). DWV-C was regularly detected in low viral loads (<1 × 107 genome equivalents per bee) and at lower prevalence (58% in England and Wales, n = 203, and 14% across the United States, n = 124) compared to DWV-A and -B. DWV-B prevalence and dominance in England and Wales coincided with low OCL (6%). Meanwhile, a 60% loss was reported by participating U.S. beekeepers. In the United States, DWV-A prevalence (89%, n = 18) and viral load were significantly (p = 0.002) higher (1 × 10 8–1 × 1011) in colonies that died when compared to the surviving colonies (49% (n = 27), 1 × 106–1 × 1010). DWV-B had low prevalence (56%, n = 18) in the colonies that died with viral loads of <1 × 1010. However, DWV-B was routinely detected in high viral loads (>1 × 1010) in surviving colonies from all sample locations, providing further supporting evidence of DWV-A exhibiting increased virulence over DWV-B at the colony level. View Full-Text
Keywords: deformed wing virus; Varroa; honey bees (Apis mellifera); overwinter colony loss; ABC assay deformed wing virus; Varroa; honey bees (Apis mellifera); overwinter colony loss; ABC assay
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Kevill, J.L.; de Souza, F.S.; Sharples, C.; Oliver, R.; Schroeder, D.C.; Martin, S.J. DWV-A Lethal to Honey Bees (Apis mellifera): A Colony Level Survey of DWV Variants (A, B, and C) in England, Wales, and 32 States across the US. Viruses 2019, 11, 426.

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