A Metagenomic Survey of Microbes in Honey Bee Colony Collapse DisorderDiana L. Cox-Foster, Sean Conlan, Edward C. Holmes, Gustavo Palacios, Jay D. Evans, Nancy A. Moran, Phenix-Lan Quan, Thomas Briese, Mady Hornig, David M. Geiser, Vince Martinson, Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Abby L. Kalkstein, Andrew Drysdale, Jeffrey Hui, Junhui Zhai, Liwang Cui, Stephen K. Hutchison, Jan Fredrik Simons, Michael Egholm, Jeffery S. Pettis, W. Ian Lipkin
In colony collapse disorder (CCD), honey bee colonies inexplicably lose their workers. CCD has resulted in a loss of 50 to 90% of colonies in beekeeping operations across the United States. The observation that irradiated combs from affected colonies can be repopulated with naive bees suggests that infection may contribute to CCD. We used an unbiased metagenomic approach to survey microflora in CCD hives, normal hives, and imported royal jelly. Candidate pathogens were screened for significance of association with CCD by the examination of samples collected from several sites over a period of 3 years. One organism, Israeli acute paralysis virus of bees, was strongly correlated with CCD.