Thursday, October 07, 2010

Bee Colony Collapse Disorder Solved?

In a collaborative effort between scientists and military, the mystery behind what is killing honeybee colonies throughout the United States and Europe may be solved. Since 2006, over a third of the managed honeybee colonies in the United States have disappeared. One of the difficulties in determining what was causing the mass death of millions of honeybees was that scientists could not perform autopsies on bees. Once afflicted the bees don't die immediately but fly away from their hive and die. Causes of the high death rate have been blamed on everything from cellphones, global warming, mites, pollution, pesticides, to genetically modified food. Fortunately a cure may not be far off.
A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One.

Exactly how that combination kills bees remains uncertain, the scientists said — a subject for the next round of research. But there are solid clues: both the virus and the fungus proliferate in cool, damp weather, and both do their dirty work in the bee gut, suggesting that insect nutrition is somehow compromised.

Read more about the unique technology that a brother tag-team and Army specialists combined to find the facts behind Honeybee Colony Collapse disorder.

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