At last there seems to be an answer to the honeybee disappearance mystery. In the last four years, honeybee colonies across the country have suffered inexplicable 20-40 percent total die-offs over the winter months as a result of, what scientists dubbed, the colony collapse disorder or CCD. This mysterious condition has struck widely both in the United States and Europe wiping out entire bee hives without leaving bodies and has become a major public and agricultural concern.
According to a New York Times article, Dr. Bromenshenk’s team at the University of Montana and Montana State University in Bozeman, working with the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center northeast of Baltimore, said in their jointly written paper that they discovered the virus-fungus one-two punch in every killed colony the group studied. While neither agent alone seems able to devastate; together, the research suggests, they are 100 percent fatal.
Exactly how the virus-fungus combination kills bees remains uncertain. Many scientists have previously pointed to a perfect storm of disease, adverse climate, and pesticide contamination as the culprit behind the widespread epidemic. Additional studies are needed to determine if a combination of environmental factors plays a role and how to control the outbreaks.
Continue reading the full New York Times article.