UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO 07/06/11 UCSF Finds New Bee Viruses, Offers Baseline to Study Colony Collapse Working in the lab, from left, are Michelle Flenniken, a postdoctoral scholar, Joseph DeRisi, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF, and Charles Runckel, a graduate student. A 10-month study of healthy honey bees by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) scientists has identified four new viruses that infect bees, while revealing that each of the viruses or bacteria previously linked to colony collapse is present in healthy hives as well. The study, which followed 20 colonies in a commercial beekeeping operation of more than 70,000 hives as they were transported across the country pollinating crops, was conducted to answer one basic question: what viruses and bacteria exist in a normal colony throughout the year? The results depict a distinct pattern of infections through the seasons and provide a normal baseline for researchers studying a colony – the bee population within a hive – that has collapsed.
You Asked: Are the Honeybees Still Disappearing? | TIME From almonds to cherries, dozens of food crops are partially or totally dependent on honeybee pollination. And while media attention has waned, there’s still reason to worry about the country’s smallest and most indispensable farm workers. Bee researchers first reported massive die-offs back in the 1990s. But the plight of the honeybee didn’t truly buzz into the national consciousness until the spring of 2013, when data revealed the average beekeeper had lost 45% of her colonies the previous winter. A mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD) further stoked the fires of public interest. Jump to 2015. You Asked: Your Top 10 Health Questions Answered Illustration by Peter Oumanski for TIME Dr. Varroa mites, properly (and frighteningly) named Varroa destructor, likely migrated to the U.S. sometime in the 1980s. Of the two other major bee-killers vanEngelsdorp listed, pesticides have arguably gotten the most press—especially a commonly used category called neonicotinoids.
ARS USDA 12/08/09 Pathogen Loads Higher in Bee Colonies Suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder By Kim KaplanAugust 12 , 2009 A higher total load of pathogens—viruses, bacteria and fungi—appears to have the strongest link with Colony Collapse Disorder found so far, according to a new study published by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists. The study was headed by Pennsylvania State University entomologist Dennis vanEngelsdorp and entomologist Jeff Pettis, geneticist Jay Evans and virologist Yanping Chen with the ARS Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. They looked at more than 200 individual variables in 91 colonies from 13 apiaries in Florida and California, where many beekeepers overwinter their honey bees. Among the factors for which the researchers screened were bacteria, mites, Nosema (protozoan parasites), numerous viruses, nutrition status and 171 pesticides. Among the colonies that had CCD, no single pathogen among those screened had a higher prevalence. ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S.
PLOS 30/06/11 Lack of Evidence for an Association between Iridovirus and Colony Collapse Disorder Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is characterized by the unexplained losses of large numbers of adult worker bees (Apis mellifera) from apparently healthy colonies. Although infections, toxins, and other stressors have been associated with the onset of CCD, the pathogenesis of this disorder remains obscure. Recently, a proteomics study implicated a double-stranded DNA virus, invertebrate iridescent virus (Family Iridoviridae) along with a microsporidium (Nosema sp.) as the cause of CCD. We tested the validity of this relationship using two independent methods: (i) we surveyed healthy and CCD colonies from the United States and Israel for the presence of members of the Iridovirus genus and (ii) we reanalyzed metagenomics data previously generated from RNA pools of CCD colonies for the presence of Iridovirus-like sequences. Figures Citation: Tokarz R, Firth C, Street C, Cox-Foster DL, Lipkin WI (2011) Lack of Evidence for an Association between Iridovirus and Colony Collapse Disorder.
Varroa destructor Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks the honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroosis. Varroa destructor can only reproduce in a honey bee colony. Physical description The adult mite is reddish-brown in color; has a flat, button shape; is 1–1.8 mm long and 1.5–2 mm wide; and has eight legs. Reproduction, infection and hive mortality The adults suck the "blood" (hemolymph) of adult honey bees for sustenance, leaving open wounds. The model for the population dynamics is exponential growth when bee brood are available and exponential decline when no brood is available. Low temperature scanning electron micrograph of V. destructor on a honey bee host Varroa destructor on bee larva Introduction around the world As of mid-2012, Australia was thought to be free of the mite. In early 2010, an isolated subspecies of bee was discovered in Kufra (southeastern Libya) that appears to be free of the mite.
ARS USDA 23/05/11 USDA/AIA Survey Reports 2010/2011 Winter Honey Bee Losses By Kim KaplanMay 23, 2011 WASHINGTON — Total losses from managed honey bee colonies nationwide were 30 percent from all causes for the 2010/2011 winter, according to the annual survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA). This is roughly similar to total losses reported in similar surveys done in the four previous years: 34 percent for the 2009/2010 winter, 29 percent for 2008/2009; 36 percent for 2007/2008, and 32 percent for 2006/2007. "The lack of increase in losses is marginally encouraging in the sense that the problem does not appear to be getting worse for honey bees and beekeepers," said Jeff Pettis, an entomologist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) who helped conduct the study. The survey, which covered the period from October 2010 to April 2011, was led by Pettis and by AIA past presidents Dennis vanEngelsdorp and Jerry Hayes. Average colony loss for an individual beekeeper's operation was 38.4 percent.
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY 11/06/12 Iowa State Researchers Explore Possible Causes of Honeybee Disappearance AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University is taking a team approach in studying what is behind the disappearance of honeybees known as "Colony Collapse Disorder." Amy Toth, assistant professor in Iowa State's ecology, evolution and organismal biology department, was awarded an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to explore the importance of nutritional stress and viruses on honeybee health. "We're taking a novel approach to studying the colony collapse phenomenon," Toth said. Colony Collapse Disorder was recognized in 2006, but Toth said honeybees have been in trouble for decades. The effects of colony collapse are sudden. Fewer honeybees to pollinate food crops has led some farmers to import bees from Australia to ensure an adequate supply. "This is a food security issue that seeks to maintain competitiveness of U.S. agriculture," she says. Scientists have so far been frustrated in pointing to one cause of the disorder.
Varroa mites « Bee Aware Life cycleEffectDetectionSpread & distributionOverseas experiencesResponseAdditional informationVideos Life cycle Different life stages of Varroa mites at the bottom of a brood cell. Varroa mites are parasitic mites, which require a honey bee host to survive and reproduce. Female Varroa mites are more likely to lay eggs on drone brood than on worker brood (10–12 times more frequently). The Varroa mite life cycle consists of the following stages: Adult female Varroa mites enter honey bee brood cells (especially drone brood) at the pre-capping stage and lay two to five eggs after the brood cell is capped.0.5 mm long eggs are laid on the bottom of the cells, on the walls, and sometimes directly on the larvae.The first egg laid is a male, and subsequent eggs are female.After hatching Varroa mites pass through two larval stages (called a ‘protonymph’ and a ‘deutonymph’) before developing into an adult. Varroa mite life cycle. www.extension.org Varroa population growth Effect Background Detection
USDA 21/06/16 USDA Scientists and Beekeepers Swap Colonies to Better Bees By Kim Kaplan June 21, 2016 BELTSVILLE, Md., June 21, 2016 —The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Bee Research Laboratory and Geezer Ridge Farm apiary have begun an unusual partnership that may help honey bees take another step up the survival ladder. "Usually with science, researchers finish a study and turn the results over to beekeepers to apply; then researchers start on the next experiments and so on," explains entomologist Jay Evans, research leader of the Beltsville, Maryland lab and one of the USDA's pioneers in bee health science. This time, the Bee Research Lab is studying the success Geezer Ridge Farm in Hedgesville, West Virginia, has had improving honey bee health after applying USDA research results. Last winter, beekeepers Cheryl and Ed Forney lost only 4 percent of their bee colonies compared to the national average of 30 percent. "We believe strongly in science-based beekeeping. "This is an opportunity to give back.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 10/05/13 The Plight of the Honeybee - Billions of dollars—and a way of life—ride on saving pollinators. Part of our weekly "In Focus" series—stepping back, looking closer. Bees are back in the news this spring, if not back in fields pollinating this summer's crops. The European Union (EU) has announced that it will ban, for two years, the use of neonicotinoids, the much-maligned pesticide group often fingered in honeybee declines. The U.S. hasn't followed suit, though this year a group of beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups sued the EPA for not doing enough to protect bees from the pesticide onslaught. For the last several years scientists have fretted over the future of bees, and although research has shed much light on the crisis, those in the bee business—from hive keepers to commercial farmers—say the insects remain in deep trouble as their colonies continue to struggle. The current crisis arose during the fall of 2006 as beekeepers around the country reported massive losses—more than a third of hives on average and up to 90 percent in some cases. The Threat From Pesticides
Explainer: Varroa mite, the tiny killer threatening Australia's bees A tiny mite has been killing honey bees all around the world, and will inevitably reach Australian shores. So what is this destructive mite, and what we can do to protect Australian honey bees? The Varroa mite, also known as Varroa destructor, is only the size of a pin head but it is the most serious threat to the viability of the Australian honey bee industry. The mite is parasitic and feeds on the blood of adult and larval honey bees. The global invasion heading our way Varroa mite has been highly invasive. Varroa kills honey bees that are managed by beekeepers as well as honey bees living in the wild (known as “feral” bees). Honey bees living in the wild are even more vulnerable, and widespread declines occur. Australia is one of the last remaining regions in the world still free of Varroa. Why bees are so crucial to farming When free pollination from feral bees declines, horticultural industries will look to managed bees to fill the gap. Better border protection and beyond
ARS USDA 02/08/16 ARS Research Leads to Better Understanding of Bee Health By Kim Kaplan August 2, 2016 WASHINGTON, August 2, 2016—Bacteria in the gut of young honey bees may provide clues about the impact parasites have on bee health. That and other experimental findings were published by U.S. Because young honey bees don't have gut bacteria, entomologist Jay Evans and post-doc Ryan Schwarz at ARS' Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, and University of Texas at Austin professor Nancy Moran conducted tests to determine the impact different combinations of a common bacterium and a common parasite had on honey bee health. "This was 180 degrees opposite of our original hypothesis," said Schwarz. Other findings from the research include, If the gut of the young bees were colonized by parasites and/or by an unusually large number of the gut bacterium, they would have a much different gut make-up (microbiome) in later life than normal bees. Pollinators are critical to the nation's economy, food security and environmental health.