Virus Named as Possible Factor in Honey Bee Disappearance

 

  rule
 

A comparison of healthy and unhealthy honey bee colonies shows that a virus called the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus is contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), new research reports. The disorder is threatening the capability of commercial bee-keeping operations in the United States to pollinate crops. Between 50 and 90 percent of the commercial honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in the United States have been afflicted by this problem that kills all worker bees out foraging. Diana Cox-Foster and colleagues collected and tested samples for three years from across the country from normal and CCD-infected hives. They also investigated imported royal jelly from China and apparently healthy hives from Australia. A metagenomic survey of the sequence of the entire range of microbial flora in all the hives and royal jelly allowed the researchers to compare the full repertoire of genes represented. This comparison revealed that the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus is implicated in CCD. The team developed this strategy to study epidemics caused by mysterious infectious diseases and used CCD as a model. This research appears in the 06 September 2007 issue of Science Express.

Science is published by AAAS, the non-profit science society.

Download this image in high-res JPG format

Honey bee worker carrying a parasitic Varroa mite.

[Image courtesy of ARS/USDA Scott Bauer]

 
Download this image in high-res JPG format

Honey bee reflecting on DNA gel data.

[Image courtesy of ARS/USDA Peggy Greb]

 
Download this image in high-res JPG format

Field collection materials for forensic samples from honey bee colonies.

[Image courtesy of ARS/USDA Jay D. Evans]

 
Download this image in high-res JPG format

Nancy Moran, August 2007

[Image courtesy of Claire M. Mirocha]

 

back to top