Massive Bee Die-Off May Be Driven By Parasite
Bee populations around the world are experiencing an alarming and unprecedented decline. Biologists and entomologists are desperately searching for the reason, since pollination of plants – critical to our food supply – is largely accomplished by honeybees.
Recent research indicates that a parasite may be responsible for decline in bee population, associated with a phenomenon called “colony collapse.” There may be more than a single cause for the massive decrease in bee populations, and scientists have speculated that pesticides, mites, pathogens and some beekeeping practices may all be involved.
The latest discovery centers around called Nosema Ceranae, a variety of fungal pathogen that is spread by spores. Previous research in labs has shown no infection by the pathogen in honeybee larva, but new field research shows that the infection may lie dormant and only emerge in adult bees.
James Nieh, a professor of biology at Univesity of California in San Diego, expressed the importance of this research in providing a better understanding how the pathogen is transmitted and how it may be expressed in both larvae and adult bees.