Acute bee paralysis virus

Signs or indications

Adult bees trembling on bottom board or landing board of the colony or crawling awkwardly on the ground in front of the hive. Bees appear greasy-looking and hairless.


Acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV; sometimes a causative agent of hairless black bee syndrome) is a single-stranded RNA dicistrovirus, the largest group of honey bee-infecting pathogens. It is related to Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), Kashmir bee virus (KBV), and black queen cell virus. The distinction between acute and chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is not clear.

ABPV has been shown to be abundant with colony collapse disorder and weak colonies. Paralysis is presumably an inheritable characteristic that may manifest with inbreeding. Individual bees with high virus infections may display a pronounced trembling movement, seek to crawl away from their hive, have physical deformities, or be hairless, greasy-looking, and/or display signs of paralysis. Virus causes individual deaths; if infection is extensive, the entire colony may perish.

There is no treatment for this virus other than seeking to reduce varroa mites, a suspected vector for the virus. Their presence weakens bees to the point that they become more susceptible to a variety of infections, including ABPV.

Most closely resembles

KBV, IAPV, hairless black bee syndrome, or pesticide poisoning, especially when adult bees are crawling in front of colonies

Note: It is virtually impossible to determine if a condition is ABPV or CBPV.


McMahon DP, Wilfert L, Paxton RJ, and Brown MJF. 2018. Emerging Viruses in Bees: From Molecules to Ecology. Advances in Virus Research 101: 251-291.!

Moore, PA, Wilson ME, and Skinner JA. 2019 update. Honey Bee Viruses, the Deadly Varroa Mite Associates. Bee Health. Accessed 2023.

Grozinger C, Underwood R, and Lόpez-Uribe M. 2020. Viruses in Honey Bees. PennState Extension. Accessed 2023.

 Hairless, shiny adult bee, likely with ABPV; photo by University of Florida
Hairless, shiny adult bee, likely with ABPV; photo by University of Florida
 ABPV in two bees; photo by Robyn Underwood
ABPV in two bees; photo by Robyn Underwood