What is it about?

We here demonstrate how queens can become infected with Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) through mating with infected drones. As drones are the prime target of the varroa mite, they are often carriers of DWV, and in spite of being infected they succeed in mating with queens. The multiple matings of a queen, with often more than 20 drones, increases the risk of her attracting DWV.

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Why is it important?

Honey bee queen loss are frequently reported as being the cause for colony losses. This is easy to understand, since without a mated queen, the colony will run out of young workers and eventually die out. The reasons for such losses have evaded us, and this study adds a new aspect to the both the varroa problem and the frequent colony losses.


It will be interesting to examine on a larger scale, if queens mated later in the season, when varroa mites are more frequent in colonies and we have to assume that more drones are infected, are more frequently lost during the following winter period.

Dr Per Kryger
Aarhus Universitet

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Deformed wing virus can be transmitted during natural mating in honey bees and infect the queens, Scientific Reports, September 2016, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/srep33065.
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