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Honeybee 'Trojan horse' virus relies on bees' habit of cannibalizing their young

Interesting read.

Honeybee ‘Trojan horse’ virus relies on bees’ habit of cannibalizing their young

A virus that leaves bees with stubby, useless wings, bloated abdomens and sluggish brains before killing them off takes advantage of one of the pollinators’ nastier habits — a tendency to cannibalize their young, a new study found.

The deformed wing virus (DWV) lurks inside the bellies of mites that prey on the bees’ young; then, the worker insects get infected when they gobble up the baby bees, the study researchers found.

This finding may explain why DWV has become much more catastrophic, often leading to colony collapse, now compared with in the past. Research published April 26 in the journal Scientific Reports has found that the increasing virulence of DWV is due, in part, to the honeybee’s cannibalism behaviors. …


This is interesting. Recently I received this request from the San Diego Beekeeping Society:

San Diego Beekeers
We are conducting research on deformed wing virus and need bees from San Diego county that are infected and have severely deformed wings. If so, we need one to two colonies in which there is a severe infection so that we can collect the viruses (which will be safely purified). We need about 100 or so of such infected bees. The beekeeper could just stick the living bees in a plastic bag in the freezer and we could collect from there. Due to covid restrictions, we are trying to just get the bees from one to two people to avoid too many contacts.
Also, we are looking for beekeepers who keep managed bees (meaning that they regular treat them with medications and against Varroa) who could help participate in a study on viruses in managed bee colonies.

James C. Nieh Associate Dean, Division of Biological Sciences Faculty Equity Advisor, Division of Biological Sciences
Professor, Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution
Division of Biological Sciences