Healthy Hives 20/20: Tracking the Changing Deformed Wing Virus

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Monday, June 19, 2017  9AM-10AM PDT / 12-1PM EST

Stephen Martin, Ph.D., Professor, School of Environmental & Life Sciences, University of Salford, will discuss how the viral landscape is changing, how these changes are affecting U.S. honey bees and specifically how the Varroa mite is providing a new viral transmission route for a previously rare and largely benign virus called Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). The mite’s main role in causing the death of honey bee colonies is by acting as a transmitter of this virus. DWV is now one of the most wide-spread insect viruses in the world with most colonies in the U.S. infected – healthy-looking bees are also potentially infected, not just the deformed ones, as people often think. DWV is made up of several distinct viral strains, and each viral strain may have a different effect on the honey bees. The project is seeking to determine if non-virulent strains can be linked to increased colony survival to develop a long-term solution to the problem of Varroa-transmitted viruses.