According to the New York Times, an unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough in identifying a suspect (or two) in the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder.

Over the past few years, there’s been some serious concern over a mysterious disappearance in some of the world’s honeybee population. Speculations ran rampant and it was suggested that everything from pesticides and cell phones to genetically modified food were the culprit. Now it appears as though part of the bee die-off mystery has been solved.

According to a paper published in the online science journal by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana, the cause of CCD may be a fungus coupled with a virus have apparently interacted with each other. 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 the New York Times story: Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery

Read the published scientific paper in PLoS ONE: Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline

A personal thought: if this is true, let us hope they don’t use antibiotics or drugs or pesticides to “fix” CCD.

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Jordanne grew up as a farm girl living in the most unlikely of places -- the concrete jungle sprawl of Los Angeles. She lives on the Urban Homestead where she shares her life with a wacky and always entertaining menagerie of goats, ducks, chickens, cats, bees, and stray animals that land up on her porch. Her passions are the natural and sustainable care of animals and her knowledge lies in successfully integrating "farm" animals into the city lifestyle. Jordanne also contributes to her family's blog called Little Homestead in the City -- chronicling this bizarre, beautiful, and often hilarious journey they're on.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Jordanne, thank you for posting this article as I hadn’t seen it. That said, once I read “military scientists and entomologists”, I’m skeptical about the data they presented as truthful and factual. I believe the government will do anything to deflect any possible connection to GMO pollen. Please feel free to call me crazy and I’ll take no offense, but common sense tells me that GMO pollen is an undeniable factor on some level of colony collapse. Again, thanks for the “heads up” on this NYT article!

    • I too feel the way Chris V. does, 100%. There just has to be a connection with all the pesticides, GMO pollen, and chemical fertilizers that are now so prevalent in our air and soil.

  2. As with the food we humans intake, the bee’s food consumption HAS to have some effect on their health and well being. Eating high fructose corn syrup as a substitute for honey for months at a time has to be partially responsible for their demise. I have not seen anything written about this hypothesis.

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