Bee population decline linked to a Virus

Bee population decline linked to a Virus

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[Best Syndication] Researchers have new understandings as to what may be causing the death tens of billions of honeybees. Previous conjecture of the massive reduction of the bee population was linked to cell phones. Researchers from Columbia University have pinpointed a virus that would cause the death of so many bees.

The researchers were able to use a Genome Sequencer™ system to identify the virus. The study is called, "A metagenomic survey of microbes in honey bee colony collapse disorder." It can be read in the online edition of Science.

Dr. Ian Lipkin, Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health along with his colleagues sequenced 454 DNA and RNA samples that were collected from bee colonies. In this study, they were able to identify five major bacterial clusters, four different fungi and seven varieties of viruses.

One virus in particular Israeli Acute paralysis Paralysis Virus (IAPV), was found in the collapsed colonies of bees. The researchers suspect that the IAPV virus may be responsible for the devastation of the honeybee populations.

The populations of honeybees are vital for pollinating over 90 fruit and vegetable crops worldwide. With the collapse of a colony of bees occurs, the entire community of worker bees die. This reduces pollination of plants. Beekeeping operations in the United States reported a loss of 50% to 90% of their colonies since 2006.

The beekeepers were able to repopulate the colonies with health bees if they irradiated the honeycombs. If they tried to repopulate honeycombs without first sterilizing, they were unsuccessful.

The bee population was first reported on in the fall of 2006 in the United States, however, other countries have also been infected. They include, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. It is estimated that beekeepers in the United States have lost on average half of their bee colonies from September 2006 to March 2007.

See what others are saying about the honeybee decline at the Forum

By Marlene Donor
Best Syndication News Writer



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