Viral Honeybee Diseases
Biology (Year 12) - Specific Disease Studies
What are Viral Honeybee Diseases?
There are a large number of different viral diseases which have been known to have a great impact not only on bees themselves, but entire colonies. Some of the following diseases are listed;
Sacbrood (affects bee larvae)
Black queen cell virus (death of queen cells)
Kashmir bee virus (similar to human flu)
Paralysis virus (disfigures and disables bees)
Deformed wing virus
What is the general life cycle of these diseases?
Viruses inject their DNA or RNA into bee cells
Copies DNA and infects surrounding cells
Attacks bees at different stages of development and castes of honeybees; eggs, larvae, pupae, adult worker bees, adult drones and queen bees
What is the mode of transmission for these diseases?
Body fluid transmission (which occurs during mating)
Vector transmission, i.e. via a parasitic mite such as the Varroa mite (deformed wing virus)
What is the impact on bees?
Symptoms are delayed until it is too late to save the bees
Dramatically affects the health of honeybees, and shortens the lifespan of bees who are infected under particular conditions