Hypotheses to explain honeybee colony collapse disorder, or CCD, are available by the fistful. But the latest, from UK researchers laboring in the tropical Hawaiian sun, is in the journal Science so it gets substantial coverage.
The news is that the researchers, led by a Univ. of Sheffield author along with others from England and the Univ. of Hawaii-Manoa plus cooperating Hawaiian beekeepers, report a strong correlation between a well-known mite called varroa that can infest the bees and a virus that can deform bees' wings with fatal result. The virus appear to become unusually abundant and virulent in the presence of the mites. Such relationship has been suspected, but the news study had the advantage in Hawaii of being able to track the presence of both as the mites and virus spread through the isolated archipelago. How the mite influences the virus's impact on bee so far remains without explanation.
- LiveScience - Jennifer Welsh: Mite/virus combo killing honeybees, say scientists ; What the mite is like, really, she reports: "a teensy vampire."
- Reuters - Ben Hirschler: Bee -killing virus gets supercharged by mites ;
- AFP - Mite helps virus destroy bee colonies ;
- Daily Mail - Rob Waugh: 'Prime suspect' in bee colony deaths is found - a parasitic mite that spreads viruses while feeding on the insects' 'blood', He keeps this up, Waugh is going to ruin the Mail's reputation as a reckless, if highly entertaining, exaggerater of news that does not bother to check with sources on anything its reporters read anywhere. Mr. Waugh reports quotes gained from telephone interview, has none merely lifted from the university press release, and includes an opinion from a professor who was not involved in the work. Nicely done - succinct and on point.
- io9 - George Dvorsky : Honey Bee Apocalypse may not be caused by evil corporations after all ; The hed refers to the other prime culprit - pesticides.
Just to show other ideas still in circulation:
- Reuters - Gus Trompiz: France to ban a Syngenta pesticide to protect bees ;
Grist for the Mill: U. Sheffield Press Release ;
- Charlie Petit