Posted: 17 Feb 2010 05:00 AM PST
Beekeepers will be interested in highlights from an article published recently in Science magazine, called Clarity on Honey Bee Collapse?. It’s by Francis L. W. Ratnieks and Norman L. Carreck of the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Sussex, UK.
It is not the mite itself that causes bee death, but a range of normally innocuous bee viruses that it carries.
A recent study of beekeeping history pointed out that extensive colony losses are have occurred at different points in time in many parts of the world. In other words, Colony Collapse Disorder is not the unique event that media attention would lead us to believe — and concern for honey bees has been “magnified by their vital role in agriculture” in the United States, where the $2-billion-per-year California almond industry depends on the pollination services of honey bees. Theories as to the cause of CCD have ranged from mobile phones and genetically modified crops (theories that were quickly dismissed by scientists) to more credible theories that have been the subject of more serious research: pests and diseases, environmental and economic factors, and pesticides.
There is also growing evidence that the ability of a particular pathogen to kill colonies may depend on other factors, such as the Varroa mire — but it’s not the mite itself that is killing bees, Ratnieks and Carreck point out, but the bee viruses that it carries and passes from one weakened, stressed honeybee to another.
Clarity on Honey Bee Collapse? was written and published by the Central Beekeepers Alliance - Honey Bees & Beekeeping in New Brunswick, Canada. For more information, please visit http://cba.stonehavenlife.com.
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