Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus

Chronic Bee Paralysis, Hairless Black Syndrome

Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is an infectious and contagious disease of adult honeybees. It manifests itself in adult bees through two distinct set of symptoms. One set consists of trembling of the wings and bodies and a failure to fly, causing them to crawl in front of the hive in large masses. They often have partly spread, dislocated wings and bloated bodies as well. The other set of symptoms consists of hairless, greasy black bees caused by nibbling attacks from healthy bees in the colony. They soon also become flightless, tremble and die (Bailey, 1965; Bailey and Ball, 1991; Ribière et al., 2010). The virus also infects the larval and pupal stages, can be detected in fecal material and is efficiently transmitted through contact and feeding (Bailey et al., 1983b; Ribière et al., 2010). CBPV is sometimes associated with a small “satellite” virus; chronic paralysis satellite virus (CBPSV; originally called chronic bee paralysis virus associate CBPVA), which has a unique genome and capsid protein to CBPV (Ribière et al., 2010) and is of unknown significance to symptomatology (Bailey et al., 1980; Ball et al., 1985). Bees die within a few days of onset of symptoms. Bees vary genetically in susceptibility. Disease occurs irregularly in apiaries, sometimes leading to losses of thousands of individuals.


The virus is spread from bee to bee by direct body contact. Food exchange does not appear to be an important mode of spread.


  • Adult bees found on the top bars of combs
  • Abnormal trembling of wings and body
  • Bees are unable to fly
  • Large numbers of bees are found crawling outside hive entrance
  • Bees appear shiny and greasy due to lack of hair
  • Partially spread or dislocated wings
  • Bloated abdomens
  • Bees are chewed by other bees
  • Bees are harassed by guard bees at the entrance to the hive


  • Clinical signs
  • Agarose gel immunodiffusion (AGID) test


Replace comb and requeen


  • Good sanitation practices

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