Scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Edgewood, Md., working with scientists at the University of Montana and industry partners Bee Alert Technology Inc. and BVS Inc., have discovered a virus in U.S. honeybees that has only previously been identified in European honeybees.
The invading bee virus is called varroa destructor virus-1 (VDV-1). First definitively identified in Europe in 2006, VDV-1 is carried by both honeybees and the tiny varroa mites that affect them. VDV-1 is related to a family of paralytic viruses that causes a breakdown of some membranes.
The virus was discovered using a technology developed for battlefield detection of viruses. This technology, called Integrated Virus Detection System/Proteomic Mass Spectrometry, reveals viruses by size and peptide information contained in a sample and compares that information against known genetic sequences. This approach may provide important clues to scientists around the world in their work to find the cause of colony collapse disorder - a mysterious malady that has caused rapid depopulation of beehives around the globe.