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Transmission of deformed wing virus (DWV) through imported semen

Australian beekeepers can import drone bee semen to access overseas genetics for desirable traits like improved honey production or resistance to Varroa mites. However, semen can be infected with bee viruses like Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), which we want to keep out of Australia. This is why any imported semen must pass strict virus testing requirements. DWV is very common in honey bees overseas, which makes it challenging to obtain DWV-free semen to import.


This project will investigate the transmission of DWV from queens to their offspring when inseminated with DWV-infected semen. It will also explore the feasibility of anti-viral treatment of imported semen. This information can be used to develop protocols that assist beekeepers to import drone semen that meet the virus testing requirements and maintain strong bee biosecurity.

Project date

12 Jun 2024-18 Dec 2025
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Principal investigator

John Roberts

Project funded by

Multiple industries
Alternative protein Aquaculture Cereal grains Cross industry Essential oils Fruits Game Honey bees Nuts Other rural industries Pasture, fodder & feed Poultry Pulse grains

AgriFutures Australia

AgriFutures Australia proudly focuses on building a rich future for Australian agriculture. We live and work in the regions and …
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    Research funding body



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