Bees are fundamental in several aspects, especially in relation to plant biodiversity and pollination. Recently, immense losses are being faced in the number of Brazilian colonies, mainly in southern states of the country, which has a strong beekeeping activity. There are indications that, among the reasons for the losses, pathogens that affect the health of bees may be involved. Among them, the microsporidium Nosema and the black queen cell virus (BQCV) stand out for their prevalence. In this study, 92 colonies of 17 apiaries from southern Brazil were evaluated for infection by Nosema ceranae, Nosema apis and BQCV. Nucleic acid extractions and cDNA synthesis were performed from adult bee samples, followed by Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and multiplex PCR. Eight BQCV positive samples were subjected to sequencing. The results showed that N. ceranae and BQCV are circulating in the Southern region of the country, which may be the reason for the loss of colonies. N. apis was not found. N. ceranae was found in 57.6% (53/92) of the colonies and BQCV in 32.6% (30/92). Co-infection was found in 25% (23/92) of the colonies studied, a factor that is suggested to be reducing the hosts’ longevity due to the synergistic action of the pathogens. The samples submitted to sequencing indicated similarity of 96.8 to 100% between them, in addition to strong similarity with sequences from Asia, United States, Germany and Peru. This study reports the circulation of N. ceranae and BQCV in apiaries in southern Brazil, in addition to being the first phylogenetic analysis of the Brazilian BQCV sequence.
Black queen cell virus; Nosema ceranae; coinfection; Africanized honey bees; Brazil; Apis mellifera; BQCV; RT-PCR; phylogeny