BeeDoctor, a Versatile MLPA-Based Diagnostic Tool for Screening Bee Viruses
Most of the currently characterized honeybee viruses (around twenty) are positive stranded RNA viruses. Techniques based on RNA signatures are widely used to determine the viral load in honeybee colonies. A new multiparameter assay, called “BeeDoctor”, was developed based on multiplex-ligation probe dependent amplification (MLPA) technology. This assay detects 10 honeybee viruses in one reaction. The “BeeDoctor” assay was used to screen 363 apparently healthy colonies from randomly selected apiaries throughout Flanders. This survey showed that almost 80% of colonies are infected with at least one virus, and many with multiple infections, showing that virus infections in apiaries are quite common, even in the absence of clinical symptoms.