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    bank walkaways..., 2009-03-31 05:53:03 | Main | larger than the entire mortgage market..., 2009-04-02 07:52:56

    colony collapse disorder:

    After a small mountain of effort, the threat to one third of our rather precarious food supply has, maybe, been identified:

    [O]ne bee virus stood out, as it had never been identified in the U.S.: the Israeli acute paralysis virus, or IAPV. This pathogen was first described in 2004 by Ilan Sela of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the course of an effort to find out why bees were dying with paralytic seizures. In our initial sampling, IAPV was found in almost all though not all colonies with CCD symptoms and in only one operation that was not suffering from CCD. But such strong correlation was not proof that IAPV caused the disease. For example, CCD could have just made the bees exceptionally vulnerable to IAPV infection.

    From subsequent work on IAPV, we know that at least three different strains of the virus exist and that two of them infect bees in the U.S. One of the strains most likely arrived in colonies flown in from Australia in 2005 after the U.S. government lifted a ban on honeybee importation that had been in effect since 1922. (The almond industry lobbied to lift the ban to prevent a critical shortage of pollinators at blossom time.) The other strain probably showed up earlier and is quite different. Where that one came from is unknown; it may have been introduced by way of importation of royal jelly (a nutrient bees secrete to feed their larvae) or a pollen supplement, or it may have hitchhiked into the country on newly introduced pests of bees. The data also suggest that IAPV has existed in bees in other parts of the world for a while, developing into many different strains and possibly changing rapidly.

    In an effort to settle the issue of IAPV's role, Cox-Foster experimented with healthy honeybees that had no previous exposure to the virus. Her team placed hives filled with bees into greenhouses and fed the insects sugary water laden with IAPV. Sure enough, the infection mimicked some symptoms of CCD. Within one or two weeks of exposure, the bees began to die, twitching with paralytic seizures on the ground. The bees were not dying near the hives, just as one would expect in CCD. So those findings seemed to support the notion that IAPV can cause CCD or at least contribute to the problem.

    Pangea must be rejoined at all costs.


:: posted by buermann @ 2009-03-31 17:39:36 CST | link





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