Detection of honey bee viruses in Argentinian stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
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The Meliponini is a eusocial group of bees tropically distributed. In Argentina, 37 species have been recorded, mostly in Misiones province. They use a great variety of sites to build their nests including tree hollows, cavities formed in rocks, human constructions or underground spaces. Numerous natural enemies are associated with stingless bees, including viruses. Until now, some viruses present in honey bees and related to the colony collapse disorder (CCD), have been found in several wild bees around the world. Here, we have studied the presence of honey bee viruses in stingless bees from different locations of Misiones province, Argentina. On this research, 73 samples of ten workers belonging to 12 species of stingless bees and feral honey bees, have been analyzed. Our results confirm the presence of three viruses: ABPV, IAPV and DWV Type A in four species of stingless bees and feral honey bees. More studies are required to establish if ABPV, IAPV and DWV are natural pathogens of stingless bees that have been spilled over to honey bees, or were transmitted by Apis mellifera to stingless bees.
KeywordsMeliponini Apiformes Health Virus Misiones province
We would like to thank Alfredo Holl, Angel Chamula, Enrique König, Ricardo Tom and Naldo Pellitzer who enabled the sampling of their hives. To Administración de Parques Nacionales (APN) and Centro de Investigaciones Ecológicas Subtropicales (CIES) for their support under the NEA344 project. We are indebted to anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions that improved this work. The study was financed by PIP 0726 2015–2017 (CONICET).
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