Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV)

The Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus is considered to be an endemic honey bee disease. Little is known about the viral infections that affect the honey bees. This is due to the scarcity of knowledge on the mechanisms that trigger the outbreak of the disease.

The agent that causes this viral disease was first identified in 1963. The Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus is in fact a virus that has a single stranded RNA. It has an ellipsoid form having a length up to sixty nm. The disease caused by this virus has various names such as the "hairless black syndrome" or "the little blacks" since the affected bees are all shiny and black. The Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus usually multiplies within the honey bee's tissues generating two types of syndromes.


First Syndrome

Honey bees infested by the Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus have wings and bodies that tremble in an abnormal way. The sick bees are unable to fly and they actually crawl on the bottom of the hive or on the ground. The bees affected by this virus have the habit of gathering on the upper part of the cluster or on the upper parts of the hive bars.

Most sick bees have bloated stomachs because the honey sac is distended. They also have spread, torn or dislocated wings. The sick bees do not move down the hive frames when the beekeeper smokes the colony. They just stay there incapable of moving.

Second Syndrome

The ill bees have not lost their flying abilities but they have lost their hairs. They have a dark appearance creating the illusion that they are smaller than the healthy honey bees. Their stomachs are also a bit bloated. It is assumed that old bees nibble them, thus causing their hair loss. The guard bees do not allow them to enter the hive. Eventually they start trembling, lose their ability to fly and die.

These syndromes might manifest themselves at the same time but one of them predominates in the majority of cases. Bees of big colonies live in close contact with each other; the congestion causes bee hairs to break from the cuticle and thus determining the spreading of the virus. The research done up till now suggests that the food exchange done by honey bees does not play a major part in the viral spreading.


There is no medical treatment or any type of vaccination against any bee viral diseases including the Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus. Viral diseases that affect the honey bees are quite similar to those that affect the human population. If the hive is healthy then it can overcome the viral infection by itself due to its immune system.

Thus, the secret of having a virus free apiary is healthy and strong bee colonies. Mites, bacteria and fungi inside the hive have the ability to weaken the immune system of a bee family to such a level that it can no longer fight with viral infections such as the Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus. Thus, the key is to treat the colony against mites and other bacteria so as to equip it with a proper immune system able to fight viral attacks. There are certain antiviral preparation that beekeeper can use so as to prevent various honey bee viral infections as well to sanitize and stimulate the development of the bee family.


Viral diseases like Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus are assumed to be triggered by stress caused by climatic changes or other bee diseases. It has been observed that bee colonies that suffer from Varro are more sensible to all sort of viral infestation.

Bee families that suffer from Nosema or Acarine mites have more chances of being infested with the Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus as well. There are researchers who claim that the genes of a colony may also be responsible for sensibility towards this disease.

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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