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.