An Investigation of Honey Bee Viruses Prevalence in Managed Honey Bees (Apis mellifera and Apis cerana) Undergone Colony Decline

Chunying Yuan1, , Xuejian Jiang2, , Man Liu3, , Sa Yang4, 5, Shuai Deng4, 5, Chunsheng Hou4, 5, *
1 Liaoning Agricultural Development Service Center, Xingcheng, China
2 Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Forestry Research Institute, Nanning, China
3 Guizhou Institute of Biology, Guiyang, China
4 Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China
5 Key Laboratory of Pollinating Insect Biology, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Beijing, China

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© 2021 Yuan et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100093, P. R. China; E-mail:
These authors contributed equally to this work.



In the absence of known clinical symptoms, viruses were considered to be the most probable key pathogens of honey bee. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and distribution of honey bee viruses in managed Apis mellifera and Apis cerana in China.


We conducted a screening of 8 honey bee viruses on A. mellifera and A. cerana samples collected from 54 apiaries from 13 provinces in China using RT-PCR.


We found that the types and numbers of viral species significantly differed between A. mellifera and A. cerana. Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV), Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV), Apis mellifera filamentous virus (AmFV), and Kakugo virus (DWV-A/KV) were the primary viruses found in A. mellifera colonies, whereas Chinese Sacbrood Bee Virus (CSBV) and Sacbrood Bee Virus (SBV) were the primary viruses found in A. cerana. The percentage infection of BQCV and CSBV were 84.6% and 61.6% in all detected samples. We first detected the occurrences of Varroa destructor virus-1 (VDV-1 or DWV-B) and DWV-A/KV in China but not ABPV in both A. mellifera and A. cerana.


This study showed that BQCV and CSBV are the major threat to investigated A. mellifera and A. cerana colonies.

Keywords: Honey bee viruses, BQCV, CBPV, AmFV, CSBV, A. mellifera, A. cerana.