[Science] Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV)

As a Queen Breeder I tend to be a little tough on my breeding stock.  I like them to show me they have the right stuff to survive in this tough world.  That's not to say I won't save a failing hive, but that means a reset of that hive and a new queen for them.  I just want to save the bee mass and not waste it, when I treat a hive.

Last Fall some of my hives had moderate Nosema counts and I even ended up treating a few of them and replacing their queens.  But the long cold winter incubated Nosema in many of the rest.  Many didn't make it through the winter.  I've been disinfecting and sterilizing equipment as best I can all Spring.  It's been a terrible mess.  Hives and combs covered with feces.  But I had one hive that when I opened it a few weeks ago, gave me a bit of a scare.

I'm not very familiar with Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV).  I have heard, but never seen, that there can be a "shaking" of the bees and that almost seemed to be what this colony was doing, to my untrained and mildly panic'd eye.  I've subsequently been looking more closely into CBPV and thought I'd share some highlights.

A brief description, but EXCELLENT video of the "shaking" symptoms.  Make sure you watch them and also take note of the hairless "shiny" bees.

Here's a good paper of CBPV and it's transmission via fecal matter.  I think it's important for beekeepers to note that not all fecal stains are Nosema.  Sometimes it can even just be having to hold it too long.  This paper is really about the transmission vector of the virus to other bees in the colony, via feces, but still it's worth observing that fecak stauning can be a symptom.

BTW, my hive that that gave me a fright is fine.  It must have been the cold air, unexpected popping of the lid, and my mind trying to deal with my losses this year.  I've checked them several times since then to be sure.  No more shaking.  No staining.  And no "bald and shiny" bees.  I am glad they stimulated me into reading more about CBPV however.  I think I'll be more aware of it and able to spot it better now.  A dark part of me wants to actually see it in the wild sometime...

Very special thanks to BeeBase for the video of CBPV.


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