Tuesday, April 28, 2009

To bee or not to bee


Scientists think they may have isolated the cause of the colony collapse disorder and also, and more importantly, how to fix it:

There may finally be some good news when it comes to colony collapse disorder. Starting a few years ago, apiarists began noticing that honey bee colonies were dying off in record numbers. A whole host of suggestions were put forward as to why—some reports even attempted to link cell phone usage with the loss of honey bees. Oddball suggestions aside, detailed studies into the DNA and health of the bees found that fungal invaders or viruses were potential causes of the large-scale collapses.

A new study published in the journal Environmental Microbiology Reports may clarify things, as a team of Spanish researchers report the cause of the colony collapse disorder, and also suggest a cure. The researchers isolated the parasitic fungi Nosema ceranae from a pair of Spanish apiaries, while finding none of the other proposed causes—Varroa destructor, IAPV, or pesticides. With the identification of the invading pathogen, the team treated other diseased colonies with fumagillin—an antibiotic—and observed a complete recovery of the colony.

edited for links and pic.

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