Viral communities in the parasite Varroa destructor and in colonies of their honey bee host (Apis mellifera) in New Zealand
journal contributionposted on 15.06.2022, 20:26 by Philip LesterPhilip Lester, Antoine Felden, James BatyJames Baty, Mariana BulgarellaMariana Bulgarella, John HaywoodJohn Haywood, Ashley N Mortensen, Emily J Remnant, Zoe E Smeele
AbstractThe parasitic mite Varroa destructor is a leading cause of mortality for Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies around the globe. We sought to confirm the presence and likely introduction of only one V. destructor haplotype in New Zealand, and describe the viral community within both V. destructor mites and the bees that they parasitise. A 1232 bp fragment from mitochondrial gene regions suggests the likely introduction of only one V. destructor haplotype to New Zealand. Seventeen viruses were found in bees. The most prevalent and abundant was the Deformed wing virus A (DWV-A) strain, which explained 95.0% of the variation in the viral community of bees. Black queen cell virus, Sacbrood virus, and Varroa destructor virus 2 (VDV-2) played secondary roles. DWV-B and the Israeli acute paralysis virus appeared absent from New Zealand. Ten viruses were observed in V. destructor, with > 99.9% of viral reads from DWV-A and VDV-2. Substantially more variation in viral loads was observed in bees compared to mites. Where high levels of VDV-2 occurred in mites, reduced DWV-A occurred in both the mites and the bees co-occurring within the same hive. Where there were high loads of DWV-A in mites, there were typically high viral loads in bees.