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What Happens When Pollinators Get Sick? Behavioral Impacts of Honeybee Viruses
18.02.2014

Faculty Colloquia. Paper 8

Evans E, Pizzorno M

Like all organisms on the planet, honeybees (Apis mellifera) are susceptible to infection with a wide variety of viruses. These viruses may produce infections with no visible symptoms or may have devastating consequences on both the individual bee and the entire hive. Deformed Wing Virus, a member of the Iflavirus group of viruses, has an RNA genome and has had a particularly important impact on bee health. It can be spread between bees in a several ways bees can infect each other during feeding or grooming activities, drones can pass the virus to the queen during mating and queens can lay infected eggs. The primary and most devastating way that these viruses are transmitted within and between hives involves a parasitic mite, an animal known ominously as Varroa destructor. The talk will discuss the effect that viruses have on the health and behavior of honeybees and will outline the collaborative research activities of Drs. Evans and Pizzorno over the last 7 years.


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