Friday, September 07, 2007
The Mark Of The Bees
According to this report from ARS Newslink, scientists may finally have found out what is behind the massive honeybee kills in the US...or maybe they've just found another bee virus. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been linked, mostly unsuccessfully, to everything from cell phone towers to pesticide. Now genetic testing has revealed a correlation between CCD and honeybees infected with Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), which can be spread by yet another honeybee pathogen, the Varroa mite. BBC News is reporting that there is evidence that the virus entered the US via honeybees imported from Australia.
The authors of the study are quick and right to point out that this is just a correlation, and does not implicate IAPV as the cause of CCD - further testing is going to be necessary to solve this complex mystery. If you want to read the full article, "A Metagenomic Survey of Microbes in Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder," published in v. 317 of the journal Science...well...you're unfortunately going to need a subscription to the journal. For free, you can read this supplemental material (pdf).
Labels: bees, genetics, insects, Varroa mite
Oh gee at this risk of being self serving, I refer you to my on going effort to save federal funding of ARS research which though I did not mention it includes research into Bee troubles. Interestingly at one time the idea was to get rid of the bee lab to save money. Th8is seems to be their entore approach which is why we have lost over 200 researchers thus far. Also re: the subscription please note that you should be able to get it form YOUR NAtional AG Library, except they have to stop getting scientific journals because, you guessed it, they are saving money.
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