Black Queen Cell Virus

The Black Queen Cell Virus is a viral disease of the honey bees that attacks the queen bee larvae. The virus belongs to the Cripavirus genus which in its turn is part of the Dicistroviridae Family. This disease develops in close relation with the Bee Virus Y and the Filamentous Virus. These viruses are usually active in honey bees infested with Nosema or Varroa.

The virus usually infests queen brood but in certain cases it might cause victims among the adult worker honey bees as well. The disease cause serious problems to beekeepers in Australia, America and the United Kingdom.

The Black Queen Cell Virus also abbreviated BQCB is only one out of the eighteen viruses that are known to cause various bee diseases. The virus has been isolated for the queen pupae that have died in comb cells. The infection reaches its peak in spring and in the first summer weeks. Specialists in the domain consider that the Black Queen Virus is mainly transmitted through the Nosema parasite.


The queen larvae cells infested with this virus have dark brown or black wall patches. The pupae are light yellow having a sort of sac which is called Sacbrood. The infested queen bee larvae die after being capped. The pupae have within them quite an impressive number of virus particles. These particles are isomeric and their diameter is equal to thirty nm. The Black Queen Cell Virus has a single RNA genome and four proteins of capsid type. Their masses vary between six, twenty-nine, thirty-two and thirty-four kDa. The virus multiplies very fast in pupae. The peace of its multiplication is slower in adult bees.

Treatment and control

There is no medical treatment available for a hive that has been infested with the Black Queen Cell Virus. In order to prevent the outburst of this disease it is advisable to treat all hives within an apiary against Nosema and Varroa.

Good sanitation is also necessary in order to prevent such a dangerous disease as Black Queen Cell Virus. The combs within hives need to be replaced at a regular basis. Re-queening with individuals belonging to resistant varieties of Apis Mellifera should keep the disease under control.

Honey bee disease > Acarine mites > Acute bee paralysis virus > American Foulbrood > Black Queen Cell Virus > Bee louse> Chalkbrood > Chilled Brood > Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus > Cloudy wing virus > Colony Collapse Disorder > Deformed Wing Virus > Bee Dysentery > European Foulbrood > Israelii acute paralysis virus > Kashmir Bee Virus > Nosema > Sacbrood virus > Bee septicemia > Stonebrood > Varroa Mite >

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