View Full Version : New research claims to have solved CCD (and it isnt cell phones)

12-16-2010, 01:30 PM
From popular science, apparently that military & science team up finally got them the resources they needed to figure this one out. Apparently it's a virus and a fungus working together (like a kind of symbiot? they were not clear) I look forward to explinations of the strange factors of CCD like why the bees all leave the hive before they die or why abandoned hives are left alone by other critters.

link and article posted below.


The Case of the Mass Honeybee Killer Has a New Prime Suspect
Thanks to a joint investigation from academics and the Department of Homeland Security, the culprit in the Case of the Honeybee Killer has been found. Over the last four years, 20 to 40 percent of the honeybee colonies in the U.S. have mysteriously collapsed. The killer has remained unknown--until now. A team of entomologists, along with military scientists from the Department of Homeland Security, have a new prime suspect (or rather, suspects), as shown in a new report on the science website PLoS One. A tag-team of a virus and a fungus show every sign of being the culprit. Now it's just a matter of eradicating that dastardly partnership.

Entomologists from the University of Montana have teamed up with military scientists from the Department of Homeland Security--an unexpected liaison, for sure--began following the clues of the mass deaths of the honeybees. The honeybee die-off is peculiar, and the circumstances of the illness that collapses colonies makes it particularly difficult to analyze. Before the bees die, they fly away from the hive in all directions, which hampers efforts to collect large numbers of bees for analysis. But the military proved to have the tools the academics did not, a protein research software that is designed to test and identify biological agents in the field. (The New York Times elaborates on the somewhat grotesque way the bees are analyzed--they must be turned into a paste, and it turns out that coffee grinders are the best tool for that unsavory task.)

The culprit seems to be an unholy combination of a fungus and a virus--to be precise, Nosema ceranae and an invertebrate iridescent virus. The fungus, N. ceranae, had already been identified, but the particular virus had not been connected. It turns out that the virus and fungus working in concert is just about 100% fatal, whereas either alone is not necessarily so.

Of course, just identifying the culprit is only the first step. The entomologists still have to find a way to stop the tag-team attack. It looks as though they'll focus on the fungus, which is easier to block and defeat than the virus, and which, if defeated, should be enough assistance to help get honeybee populations back on track. And there's always more to uncover--the tendency of the bees to wander off just prior to death is still a mystery (a University of Montana doctor actually uses the phrase "insect insanity" as a possible explanation), but that should all come in time.

12-16-2010, 02:06 PM


I can't help but think Clothianidin has something to do with it too, maybe a combination of both:


12-20-2010, 09:22 AM
Follow the money: What a scientist didn't tell the New York Times about his study on bee deaths - http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/08/news/honey_bees_ny_times.fortune/index.htm

"[U]nder the headline "Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery," ...described how a newly released study pinpoints a different cause for the die-off: "a fungus tag-teaming with a virus." The study, written in collaboration with Army scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center outside Baltimore, analyzed the proteins of afflicted bees using a new Army software system. The Bayer pesticides, however, go unmentioned.

What the Times article did not explore -- nor did the study disclose -- was the relationship between the study's lead author, Montana bee researcher Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, and Bayer Crop Science. In recent years Bromenshenk has received a significant research grant from Bayer to study bee pollination. Indeed, before receiving the Bayer funding, Bromenshenk was lined up on the opposite side: He had signed on to serve as an expert witness for beekeepers who brought a class-action lawsuit against Bayer in 2003. He then dropped out and received the grant."

12-20-2010, 09:26 AM
I can't help but think Clothianidin

Plus a few more. To date, 121 different pesticides and metabolites have been detected in 887 wax, pollen, bee and associated hive samples (average of 6.2 detections per sample) from 23 states and one Canadian province. (http://www.extension.org/pages/Bee_Research_at_Penn_State_2010)