Identification of Honey Bee Viruses in the Peace Country
In 2013, Alberta held the largest proportion of honey bee colonies in Canada at 280,000, which was 42% of the national total that year. The Peace Country is typically a leading region of honey yield (pounds per colony) in Alberta.
Collect samples from Peace Country colonies in collaboration with local beekeepers to determine which viruses are present in this region. This study will compare the type and amount of virus infecting each colony to the overall health of the colony. Over time, this information may help identify specific colony characteristics associated with natural resistance to the viruses.
Dr. Shauna Henley (GPRC Science Department faculty member) is working at the NBDC-TAC to examine the prevalence of 7 different honey bee viruses in the Peace Country including Acute Bee Paralysis Virus, Black Queen Cell Virus, Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus, Deformed Wing Virus, Israeli Acute Bee Paralysis Virus, Kashmir Bee Virus, and Sacbrood Virus. She will identify and quantify the viral genomes present in each colony sample.
Samples from the Peace Country have been collected from ~10 beekeepers each season over 4 years (2013-2016). Quantitative results will help estimate the variability of viral infection of seven viruses among individual colonies from the same apiary.