Update: Bee Virus Story Breaks
Earlier this week I brought two informative articles about Colony Collapse Disorder to your attention. Both alluded to a study that scientist Ian Lifkin was involved with, which he was confident would be considered a breakthrough when released. The study that Lifkin referred to hit the news stands today. Here are three different versions, along with the person I have to thank for each:
- Genetic Survey Finds Association Between CCD and Virus thanks to Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
- Virus implicated in bee decline thanks to my DH
- Scientists find clue in mystery of the vanishing bees thanks to Kim
Key points emerging:
- They found Israeli acute paralysis virus in 96% of the hives affected with CCD, and in none of the healthy hives. This does not mean that the virus causes CCD. It just means that they are almost always found together. And what about the 4% of the CCD-affected hives where the virus wasn’t present? There’s more to this story than we presently understand.
- The bee virus was first discovered in Israel, but affects bees differently there. It isn’t clear whether this is a variation in the virus or in environmental conditions.
- The virus is also present in Australian bee colonies, but the bees don’t seem to be affected by it. Some speculate that the virus entered this country through infected honeybees imported from Australia.
I didn’t pay much attention to bees as a kid, except for that one time the neighbor girl and I stood by a hive and waved “shoo! shoo! shoo!” with our hands, just like they did on the cartoons. Let’s just say it was a good lesson in how television does not mimic real life.
But when, as an adult, I moved to our little piece of rural living with my husband and children, I came to understand all those familiar cliches much better. “Busy as bees” and “humming with bees” really happened, and I marveled how they worked the crocus patch and the apple trees in turn.
I miss the bees.