A mysterious illness has been causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) around the world for years, seriously putting our bee populations at risk of drastically decreasing and possibly becoming extinct. Scientists have finally discovered what they think is causing the mass collapse of honeybee colonies across the globe. A recent study found that a combination of a virus and a fungus is likely the culprit behind the wipe out of bee colonies around the world.
Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk has come to the conclusion that the first illness affecting bee colonies is a virus called insect iridescent virus (IIV). The virus infects a bee’s abdomen, turning the affected tissue a bluish-green or purple color. It is this virus that then allows the spores of the fungus Nosema ceranae to easily invade the bee’s already sick body. The bee ingests the spores, which then spread throughout its gut. While both the virus and the fungus can make bees ill on their own, scientists believe that it is the two working together that cause colony collapse. They believe there is a link between the two pathogens, stating, “the bee gets an infection from one or the other, and this causes the bees to become stressed, which then allows the second infection to come in and more effectively cause disease”.
The next step is to better detect these pathogens and develop and way to manage them in order to decrease the losses of honeybee colonies.
Have you noticed a decline in honeybees? How do you think humans might be affected if we lose our honeybees?