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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Preliminary observations on possible pathogen spill-over from Apis mellifera to Apis cerana

Forsgren, Eva; Wei, Shi; Guiling, Ding; Zhiguang, Liu; Toan Van, Tran; Tang, Phuong Thi; Truong, Tuan Anh; Tam, Dinh Quyet; Fries, Ingemar


Populations of Apis mellifera and Apis cerana in China and Vietnam were surveyed in order to study possible pathogen spill-over from European to Asian honeybees. This is the first survey of the prevalence of honeybee pathogens in apiaries in Vietnam, including pathogen prevalence in wild A. cerana colonies never in contact with A. mellifera. The bee samples were assayed for eight honeybee viruses: deformed wing virus (DWV); black queen cell virus (BQCV); sac brood virus (SBV); acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV); Kashmir bee virus (KBV); Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV); chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV); and slow bee paralysis virus (SBPV), for two gut parasites (Nosema ssp.) and for the causative agent for European foulbrood (Melissococcus plutonius). The Vietnamese samples were assayed for Acarapis woodi infestation. No clear evidence of unique inter-specific transmission of virus infections between the two honeybee species was found. However, in wild A. cerana colonies, the only virus infection detected was DWV. With findings of IAPV infections in Chinese samples of A. cerana colonies in contact with A. mellifera, inter-specific transmission of IAPV cannot be ruled out. BQCV was the most prevalent virus in managed colonies irrespective of bee species. We did not detect the causative agent of European foulbrood, M. plutonius in wild or isolated colonies of A. cerana in Vietnam or China; however, low incidence of this pathogen was found in the Asian host species when in contact with its European sister species. No evidence for the presence of A. woodi was found in the Vietnamese samples.


Apis mellifera; Apis cerana; virus infections; Nosema ssp; Acarapis woodi; Melissococcus plutonius

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2015, Volume: 46, number: 3, pages: 265-275

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