Longitudinal monitoring of honey bee colonies reveals dynamic nature of virus abundance and indicates a negative impact of Lake Sinai virus 2 on colony health.
ABSTRACT: Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are important pollinators of plants, including those that produce nut, fruit, and vegetable crops. Therefore, high annual losses of managed honey bee colonies in the United States and many other countries threaten global agriculture. Honey bee colony deaths have been associated with multiple abiotic and biotic factors, including pathogens, but the impact of virus infections on honey bee colony population size and survival are not well understood. To further investigate seasonal patterns of pathogen presence and abundance and the impact of viruses on honey bee colony health, commercially managed colonies involved in the 2016 California almond pollination event were monitored for one year. At each sample date, colony health and pathogen burden were assessed. Data from this 50-colony cohort study illustrate the dynamic nature of honey bee colony health and the temporal patterns of virus infection. Black queen cell virus, deformed wing virus, sacbrood virus, and the Lake Sinai viruses were the most readily detected viruses in honey bee samples obtained throughout the year. Analyses of virus prevalence and abundance revealed pathogen-specific trends including the overall increase in deformed wing virus abundance from summer to fall, while the levels of Lake Sinai virus 2 (LSV2) decreased over the same time period. Though virus prevalence and abundance varied in individual colonies, analyses of the overall trends reveal correlation with sample date. Total virus abundance increased from November 2015 (post-honey harvest) to the end of the almond pollination event in March 2016, which coincides with spring increase in colony population size. Peak total virus abundance occurred in late fall (August and October 2016), which correlated with the time period when the majority of colonies died. Honey bee colonies with larger populations harbored less LSV2 than weaker colonies with smaller populations, suggesting an inverse relationship between colony health and LSV2 abundance. Together, data from this and other longitudinal studies at the colony level are forming a better understanding of the impact of viruses on honey bee colony losses.
Project description:Honey bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops. Since 2006, US beekeepers have experienced high annual honey bee colony losses, which may be attributed to multiple abiotic and biotic factors, including pathogens. However, the relative importance of these factors has not been fully elucidated. To identify the most prevalent pathogens and investigate the relationship between colony strength and health, we assessed pathogen occurrence, prevalence, and abundance in Western US honey bee colonies involved in almond pollination. The most prevalent pathogens were Black queen cell virus (BQCV), Lake Sinai virus 2 (LSV2), Sacbrood virus (SBV), <i>Nosema ceranae</i>, and trypanosomatids. Our results indicated that pathogen prevalence and abundance were associated with both sampling date and beekeeping operation, that prevalence was highest in honey bee samples obtained immediately after almond pollination, and that weak colonies had a greater mean pathogen prevalence than strong colonies.
Project description:Honey bees are critical pollinators of important agricultural crops. Recently, high annual losses of honey bee colonies have prompted further investigation of honey bee infecting viruses. To better characterize the recently discovered and very prevalent Lake Sinai virus (LSV) group, we sequenced currently circulating LSVs, performed phylogenetic analysis, and obtained images of LSV2. Sequence analysis resulted in extension of the LSV1 and LSV2 genomes, the first detection of LSV4 in the US, and the discovery of LSV6 and LSV7. We detected LSV1 and LSV2 in the Varroa destructor mite, and determined that a large proportion of LSV2 is found in the honey bee gut, suggesting that vector-mediated, food-associated, and/or fecal-oral routes may be important for LSV dissemination. Pathogen-specific quantitative PCR data, obtained from samples collected during a small-scale monitoring project, revealed that LSV2, LSV1, Black queen cell virus (BQCV), and Nosema ceranae were more abundant in weak colonies than strong colonies within this sample cohort. Together, these results enhance our current understanding of LSVs and illustrate the importance of future studies aimed at investigating the role of LSVs and other pathogens on honey bee health at both the individual and colony levels.
Project description:Bees are important plant pollinators in agricultural and natural ecosystems. High average annual losses of honey bee (<i>Apis mellifera</i>) colonies in some parts of the world, and regional population declines of some mining bee species (<i>Andrena spp</i>.), are attributed to multiple factors including habitat loss, lack of quality forage, insecticide exposure, and pathogens, including viruses. While research has primarily focused on viruses in honey bees, many of these viruses have a broad host range. It is therefore important to apply a community level approach in studying the epidemiology of bee viruses. We utilized high-throughput sequencing to evaluate viral diversity and viral sharing in sympatric, co-foraging bees in the context of habitat type. Variants of four common viruses (i.e., black queen cell virus, deformed wing virus, Lake Sinai virus 2, and Lake Sinai virus NE) were identified in honey bee and mining bee samples, and the high degree of nucleotide identity in the virus consensus sequences obtained from both taxa indicates virus sharing. We discovered a unique bipartite + ssRNA Tombo-like virus, Andrena-associated bee virus-1 (AnBV-1). AnBV-1 infects mining bees, honey bees, and primary honey bee pupal cells maintained in culture. AnBV-1 prevalence and abundance was greater in mining bees than in honey bees. Statistical modeling that examined the roles of ecological factors, including floral diversity and abundance, indicated that AnBV-1 infection prevalence in honey bees was greater in habitats with low floral diversity and abundance, and that interspecific virus transmission is strongly modulated by the floral community in the habitat. These results suggest that land management strategies that aim to enhance floral diversity and abundance may reduce AnBV-1 spread between co-foraging bees.
Project description:Honey bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops. Pathogens and other factors have been implicated in high annual losses of honey bee colonies in North America and some European countries. To further investigate the relationship between multiple factors, including pathogen prevalence and abundance and colony health, we monitored commercially managed migratory honey bee colonies involved in California almond pollination in 2014. At each sampling event, honey bee colony health was assessed, using colony population size as a proxy for health, and the prevalence and abundance of seven honey bee pathogens was evaluated using PCR and quantitative PCR, respectively. In this sample cohort, pathogen prevalence and abundance did not correlate with colony health, but did correlate with the date of sampling. In general, pathogen prevalence (i.e., the number of specific pathogens harbored within a colony) was lower early in the year (January-March) and was greater in the summer, with peak prevalence occurring in June. Pathogen abundance in individual honey bee colonies varied throughout the year and was strongly associated with the sampling date, and was influenced by beekeeping operation, colony health, and mite infestation level. Together, data from this and other observational cohort studies that monitor individual honey bee colonies and precisely account for sampling date (i.e., day of year) will lead to a better understanding of the influence of pathogens on colony mortality and the effects of other factors on these associations.
Project description:Since the discovery that honey bee viruses play a role in colony decline, researchers have made major breakthroughs in understanding viral pathology and infection processes in honey bees. Work on virus transmission patterns and virus vectors, such as the mite Varroa destructor, has prompted intense efforts to manage honey bee health. However, little is known about the occurrence of honey bee viruses in bee predators, such as vespids. In this study, we characterized the occurrence of 11 honey bee viruses in five vespid species and one wasp from four provinces in China and two vespid species from four locations in France. The results showed that all the species from China carried certain honey bee viruses, notably Apis mellifera filamentous virus (AmFV), Deformed wing virus (DWV), and Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV); furthermore, in some vespid colonies, more than three different viruses were identified. In France, DWV was the most common virus; Sacbrood virus (SBV) and Black queen cell virus (BQCV) were observed in one and two samples, respectively. Phylogenetic analyses of IAPV and BQCV sequences indicated that most of the IAPV sequences belonged to a single group, while the BQCV sequences belonged to several groups. Additionally, our study is the first to detect Lake Sinai virus (LSV) in a hornet from China. Our findings can guide further research into the origin and transmission of honey bee viruses in Vespidae, a taxon of ecological, and potentially epidemiological, relevance.
Project description:Honey bees (Apis mellifera) play a critical role in global food production as pollinators of numerous crops. Recently, honey bee populations in the United States, Canada, and Europe have suffered an unexplained increase in annual losses due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Epidemiological analysis of CCD is confounded by a relative dearth of bee pathogen field studies. To identify what constitutes an abnormal pathophysiological condition in a honey bee colony, it is critical to have characterized the spectrum of exogenous infectious agents in healthy hives over time. We conducted a prospective study of a large scale migratory bee keeping operation using high-frequency sampling paired with comprehensive molecular detection methods, including a custom microarray, qPCR, and ultra deep sequencing. We established seasonal incidence and abundance of known viruses, Nosema sp., Crithidia mellificae, and bacteria. Ultra deep sequence analysis further identified four novel RNA viruses, two of which were the most abundant observed components of the honey bee microbiome (?10(11) viruses per honey bee). Our results demonstrate episodic viral incidence and distinct pathogen patterns between summer and winter time-points. Peak infection of common honey bee viruses and Nosema occurred in the summer, whereas levels of the trypanosomatid Crithidia mellificae and Lake Sinai virus 2, a novel virus, peaked in January.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Honey bee colonies managed for agricultural pollination are highly dependent on human inputs, especially for disease control and supplemental nutrition. Hives are routinely fed artificial "pollen substitute" diets to compensate for insufficient nutritional forage in the environment. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different artificial diets in a northern California, US commercial beekeeping operation from August through February. This time period represents an extended forage dearth when supplemental nutrition is used to stimulate late winter colony growth prior to almond pollination in the early spring. A total of 144 honey bee colonies were divided into 8 feeding groups that were replicated at three apiary sites. Feeding groups received commercial diets (Global, Ultra Bee, Bulk Soft, MegaBee, AP23, Healthy Bees), a beekeeper-formulated diet (Homebrew), or a sugar negative control. Diets were analyzed for macronutrient and amino acid content then evaluated with respect to honey bee colony population size, average bee weight, nutrition-related gene expression, gut microbiota abundance, and pathogen levels.<h4>Results</h4>Replicated at three apiary sites, two pollen-containing diets (Global and Homebrew) produced the largest colonies and the heaviest bees per colony. Two diets (Bulk Soft and AP23) that did not contain pollen led to significantly larger colonies than a sugar negative control diet. Diet macronutrient content was not correlated with colony size or health biomarkers. The sum of dietary essential amino acid deficiencies relative to leucine content were correlated with average bee weight in November and colony size used for almond pollination in February. Nutrition-related gene expression, gut microbiota, and pathogen levels were influenced by apiary site, which overrode some diet effects. Regarding microbiota, diet had a significant impact on the abundance of Bifidobacterium and Gilliamella and trended towards effects on other prominent bee gut taxa.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Multiple colony and individual bee measures are necessary to test diet efficacy since honey bee nutritional responses are complex to evaluate. Balancing essential amino acid content relative to leucine instead of tryptophan may improve diet protein efficiency ratios. Optimization of bee diets could improve feed sustainability and agricultural pollination efficiency by supporting larger, healthier honey bee colonies.
Project description:Honeybee (Apis mellifera) health is threatened globally by the complex interaction of multiple stressors, including the parasitic mite Varroa destructor and a number of pathogenic viruses. Australia provides a unique opportunity to study this pathogenic viral landscape in the absence of V. destructor. We analysed 1,240A. mellifera colonies across Australia by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS). Five viruses were prevalent: black queen cell virus (BQCV), sacbrood virus (SBV), Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) and the Lake Sinai viruses (LSV1 and LSV2), of which the latter three were detected for the first time in Australia. We also showed several viruses were absent in our sampling, including deformed wing virus (DWV) and slow bee paralysis virus (SBPV). Our findings highlight that viruses can be highly prevalent in A. mellifera populations independently of V. destructor. Placing these results in an international context, our results support the hypothesis that the co-pathogenic interaction of V. destructor and DWV is a key driver of increased colony losses, but additional stressors such as pesticides, poor nutrition, etc. may enable more severe and frequent colony losses to occur.
Project description:Lake Sinai Viruses (Sinaivirus) are commonly detected in honey bees (<i>Apis mellifera</i>) but no disease phenotypes or fitness consequences have yet been demonstrated. This viral group is genetically diverse, lacks obvious geographic structure, and multiple lineages can co-infect individual bees. While phylogenetic analyses have been performed, the molecular evolution of LSV has not been studied extensively. Here, I use LSV isolates from GenBank as well as contigs assembled from honey bee Sequence Read Archive (SRA) accessions to better understand the evolutionary history of these viruses. For each ORF, substitution rate variation, codon usage, and tests of positive selection were evaluated. Outlier regions of high or low diversity were sought with sliding window analysis and the role of recombination in creating LSV diversity was explored. Phylogenetic analysis consistently identified two large clusters of sequences that correspond to the current LSV1 and LSV2 nomenclature, however lineages sister to LSV1 were the most frequently detected in honey bee SRA accessions. Different expression levels among ORFs suggested the occurrence of subgenomic transcripts. ORF1 and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase had higher evolutionary rates than the capsid and ORF4. A hypervariable region of the ORF1 protein-coding sequence was identified that had reduced selective constraint, but a site-based model of positive selection was not significantly more likely than a neutral model for any ORF. The only significant recombination signals detected between LSV1 and LSV2 initiated within this hypervariable region, but assumptions of the test (single-frame coding and independence of substitution rate by site) were violated. LSV codon usage differed strikingly from that of honey bees and other common honey-bee viruses, suggesting LSV is not strongly co-evolved with that host. LSV codon usage was significantly correlated with that of <i>Varroa destructor</i>, however, despite the relatively weak codon bias exhibited by the latter. While codon usage between the LSV1 and LSV2 clusters was similar for three ORFs, ORF4 codon usage was uncorrelated between these clades, implying rapid divergence of codon use for this ORF only. Phylogenetic placement and relative abundance of LSV isolates reconstructed from SRA accessions suggest that detection biases may be over-representing LSV1 and LSV2 in public databases relative to their sister lineages.
Project description:Recent losses in honey bee colonies are unusual in their severity, geographical distribution, and, in some cases, failure to present recognized characteristics of known disease. Domesticated honey bees face numerous pests and pathogens, tempting hypotheses that colony collapses arise from exposure to new or resurgent pathogens. Here we explore the incidence and abundance of currently known honey bee pathogens in colonies suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), otherwise weak colonies, and strong colonies from across the United States. Although pathogen identities differed between the eastern and western United States, there was a greater incidence and abundance of pathogens in CCD colonies. Pathogen loads were highly covariant in CCD but not control hives, suggesting that CCD colonies rapidly become susceptible to a diverse set of pathogens, or that co-infections can act synergistically to produce the rapid depletion of workers that characterizes the disorder. We also tested workers from a CCD-free apiary to confirm that significant positive correlations among pathogen loads can develop at the level of individual bees and not merely as a secondary effect of CCD. This observation and other recent data highlight pathogen interactions as important components of bee disease. Finally, we used deep RNA sequencing to further characterize microbial diversity in CCD and non-CCD hives. We identified novel strains of the recently described Lake Sinai viruses (LSV) and found evidence of a shift in gut bacterial composition that may be a biomarker of CCD. The results are discussed with respect to host-parasite interactions and other environmental stressors of honey bees.