There is a new suspect thought to contribute to the demise of honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies worldwide, termed colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Until now, scientists have identified a host of potential culprits including pesticides that might weaken their immune systems, pathogens, parasites, and malnutrition from poor nutritional sources:

Watch Silence of the Bees on PBS. See more from Nature.

Another potential culprit is a virus found in nearly all the CCD hives examined by researchers in prior studies called Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV):

Watch Silence of the Bees on PBS. See more from Nature.

Meet the new culprit discovered in the United States:
i-a0ffdcffb401c879b344673c725e6d35-fly_parasite_honeybee-thumb-320x308-71722.jpg

Shown in the image above is a fly (Apocephalus borealis) that Dr. John Hafernik from San Francisco State University observed parasitizing honeybees. The flies insert their eggs into the bees and the bee’s body is then taken over by the developing fly larvae. This is reportedly the same fly species that parasitizes bumblebees and paper wasps. Dr. Hafernik was surprised that with all of the research on honeybees and CCD, this parasite had not yet been detected. Evidence of the fly was found in 77% of the hives that were sampled in Northern California and the Central Valley of California as well as South Dakota.

Source of information and images:
-Scientific American
-KGO-TV

Comments

  1. #1 MarkH
    January 5, 2012

    In a way this is good news. I remember when CCD first emerged speculation ranged from a new virus to cell-phones (Bill Maher even happily promoted that nonsense on Real Time).

    An identified cause, even if multifactorial in concert with pesticides and other human contributions, means we can begin to counteract it. And since the causes both happen to be other life forms there is the chance that we’re looking at selection in action, and a sturdier bumble bee may emerge that is resistant.

  2. #2 Mike
    January 8, 2012

    Very Interesting. Unfortunately I can’t see the PBS video from New Zealand.

  3. #3 James Brenner
    February 10, 2012

    Of the possible causes, the Parasite fly seems to be the LEAST likely. It is a red herring because colony collapse is a global phenomena while the fly is not.

    There is a must stronger study out of UC Berkeley showing a connection to GMO foods and the weedkillers that these plants have developed an immunity to.

    The BT in the corn pollen causes an immune system response (rather like triggering a sneeze) in the bees — similar to if they had eaten the BT directly — also causes holes and porosity in the gut.

  4. #4 James Brenner
    February 10, 2012

    PBS = Propaganda By Storm

  5. #5 Ankara Masaj Salonları
    April 6, 2012

    There is a must stronger study out of UC Berkeley showing a connection to GMO foods and the weedkillers that these plants have developed an immunity to. Thenks

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