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A recently discovered virus deadly to bees

A recently discovered virus could be lethal to bees, or at least promote their disappearance, according to scientists the virus is probably not solely responsible for what specialists call “phenomenon of collapsing colonies” (Colony collapse disorder, CCD), but could help to understand what evil knocks bees in all USA, researchers reported. Known as “Virus Israeli acute paralysis” (IAPV), the virus, previously unknown, was discovered in Israel in 2004.

According to estimates, 23% of beekeepers have found their hives in the sudden disappearance of bees during the winter of 2006-2007. “These beekeepers have lost nearly 45% of their bees,” can be read in the report researchers, published by the journal Science.

Beekeepers do not find their dead bees. The hives are simply almost emptied of their workers, only remaining queens. This phenomenon also affects Europe and Brazil. The bees, in addition to the production of honey, are essential in the pollination of many cereal crops, fruit or vegetable.

In examining bees worldwide and samples of royal jelly, the team of Dr. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University in New York, discovered several bacteria, viruses and fungi that affect bees.

Only one virus was always present in the bees from hives whose populations had collapsed: IAPV. It remains to determine whether the IAPV is indeed responsible for mass disappearances of bees, or if, conversely, these disappearances that promote its appearance among insects.

He will know inoculate the virus in healthy hives and see how the bee population reacts.
Jeffrey Pettis, a researcher specializing in beekeeping for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said that it was only one of the runways envisaged to explain the phenomenon of disappearances.

“I still believe that several factors are involved in (the collapse of populations),” he said, referring to the parasites and feeding of bees. The IAPV is especially conveyed by the Varroa destructor, a tiny red mite that affects the bees the USA but also in Europe and other regions of the world.

Many tracks are being studied, but some with less urgent than others. “We have very little evidence that radiation from mobile phones have an impact on bees”, said Diana Cox-Foster, an entomologist at the State University of Pennsylvania.

Tests have also shown that GMO crops do not make bees sick, but that pesticides increased their stress. As the disappearance of bees, it is possible that their guidance system, disturbed, prevents them from returning to the hive. Another hypothesis, Cox-Foster think it is also possible that a bee sick deliberately avoids returning to the hive, so as not to contaminate its congeners.


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