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Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus

A Rare Event?
By John Jessop

Spring 2016 saw a case of CBPV (Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus) develop in the Association Apiary.  Initially thought to be an incident of spray poisoning with dead and dying bees in and around the affected ailing colony.


The colony had no signs of the traditional brood diseases; microscopy was inconclusive and the hive was relocated to an isolated site away from the apiary.  Varroa counts were low and drone comb samples had no varroa present.


The symptoms continued.  Contribution from a beekeeping forum advised that CBPV could easily be confused with poisoning.  Little help regarding CBPV is available via search engines.  Fortunately the beefarmers forum had discussed methods of responding to an outbreak.  Their method consisted of:


removing the affected hive to a distance;

removing en bloc all of the frames; 

singeing the inside of the box; 

replacing the cleaned box with a  clean floor and crownboard on the original site (if you have a spare box this can be placed there instead).


Returning to the frames, every bee should be shaken into the air and the frames, including brood, returned to the original site to await returning flying bees (it may be useful to have located the queen and kept her safe in a cage during the operation, despite a risk she may be infected, experience has shown the risk is low).  The logic suggests infected bees will not be able to fly back to the hive.  Obviously such treatment is massively disruptive to the colony and should NOT be undertaken lightly.  Certainty that you are dealing with a severe case of CBPV is a prerequisite.  In the case of the affected hive above, the bee inspector visited it, confirmed CBPV and advised similar action.

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