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Volume 39, Number 6, November-December 2008
Page(s) 650 - 661
Published online 21 October 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 650-661
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008044

A real-time PCR based survey on acute bee paralysis virus in German bee colonies

Reinhold Siede1, Matthias König1, Ralph Büchler2, Klaus Failing3 and Heinz-Jürgen Thiel1

1  Institut für Virologie, Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Frankfurter Str. 107, 35392 Giessen, Germany
2  Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen, Bieneninstitut Kirchhain, Erlenstr. 9, 35274 Kirchhain, Germany
3  Arbeitsgruppe Biomathematik und Datenverarbeitung, Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Frankfurter Str. 95, 35392 Giessen, Germany

Received 7 March 2008 – Revised 13 June 2008 – Accepted 1 July 2008 - Published online 21 October 2008

Abstract - The significance of Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV) for the overwintering capacity of honeybee colonies was studied under field conditions. A case-control study of samples collected in Germany from 2004 to 2006 was performed. Successfully wintering colonies (control) were compared with winter fatalities (cases), using a binary logistic regression model that focused on the pre-winter ABPV burden as the explanatory variable. To quantify the ABPV burden a SYBR Green$^\circledR$ based real time PCR protocol was developed. An ABPV-specific primer pair hybridising to the RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase region was used. The assay proved to be ABPV specific and reproducible. ABPV infection was more often observed in colonies that did not survive the winter. In addition, winter fatalities showed higher ABPV burden than surviving colonies. Our findings provide support for a strong and presumably causal relationship between winter mortality, Varroa destructor and ABPV.

Key words: Apis mellifera / acute bee paralysis virus / real time PCR / relevance / viral load / winter mortality / Varroa destructor

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008