Bees Rejoice: One Potential Cause of Colony Collapse Disorder Identified


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The Mystery of Disappearing Bees
Before we get to colony collapse: If you haven't seen Sami's post about installing a bee hive, check it out. Okay, back to our regular programs.

Colony collapse disorder has been attributed to all kinds of things like pesticides, cell phones, fungus, different viruses, GMOs, etc. But according to a study published in the journal Environmental Microbiology Reports, the sole culprit (at least in the cases studied) seems to be the parasitic fungi Nosema ceranae. Read on for more details.From EMR:

Anamnesis, clinical examination and analyses support that the depopulation in both cases was due to the infection by Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia), an emerging pathogen of Apis mellifera. No other significant pathogens or pesticides (neonicotinoids) were detected and the bees had not been foraging in corn or sunflower crops. The treatment with fumagillin avoided the loss of surviving weak colonies. This is the first case report of honeybee colony collapse due to N. ceranae in professional apiaries in field conditions reported worldwide.

At the end is the good news. Treatment with fumagillin saved the colonies.

What's not clear is how hard it would be to screen bee colonies for early sign of infection. But even if it's hard, at least apiarists now have a better idea of what to look for.

Via Ars Technica
See also: Selenium in Pollen and Nectar Could Poison Californian Bees
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