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USDA: Possible Cause Of Colony Collapse Disorder Identified

The USDA may finally have an answer to why some beekeepers have mysteriously lost 30-90 percent of the honey bee population of their hives since October 2006.

A new study has just been released on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the term given to the recent declines in honey bee colonies.

USDA Scientist Jay Evans from the Beltsville Bee Lab is suggesting that two pathogens working together (a fungus called Nosema cerena and the RNA virus family Dicistroviridae) are the culprits behind CCD.

Nosema cerena enters the honey bee gut and damages the epithelial cells, making it easy for another pathogen, Dicistroviridae, to invade.

Poor Nutrition A Contributing Factor

Evans mentioned that poor nutrition can also be a contributing factor to CCD.

Bees affected with Nosema cerena can starve to death, because they are unable to eat enough food to deal with the stresses and additional energy required to forage for more food to accommodate new members of the hive in the springtime.

The USDA has some suggestions for people who want to help prevent the decline in honeybees: avoid using pesticides at mid-day when honey bees will be out gathering nectar, and plant good nectar sources such as red clover, foxglove, bee balm, and joe-pye weed.

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