Deformed wing virus (DWV) represents an ideal model to study the interaction between mode of transmission and virulence in honey bees since it exhibits both horizontal and vertical transmissions. However, it is not yet clear if venereal-vertical transmission represents a regular mode of transmission for this virus in natural honey bee populations. Here, we provide clear evidence for the occurrence of high DWV titres in the endophallus of sexually mature drones collected from drone congregation areas (DCAs). Furthermore, the endophallus DWV titres of drones collected at their maternal hives were no different from drones collected at nearby DCAs, suggesting that high-titre DWV infection of the endophallus does not hinder the ability of drones to reach the mating area. The results are discussed within the context of the dispersal of DWV between colonies and the definition of DWV virulence with respect to the transmission route and the types of tissues infected.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science