Virus And Fungus Are New Suspects In Colony Collapse Disorder

According to new research, two pathogens — a virus and a fungus — were found in samples collected from hives affected by colony collapse disorder (CCD). These two pathogens, however, were not found in colonies that were not affected by the syndrome.


“We truly don’t know if these two pathogens cause CCD or whether the colonies with CCD are more likely to succumb to these two pathogens,” said Jerry J. Bromenshenk of the University of Montana.

The research found that the suspect virus is something called insect iridescent virus, similar to a virus first found 20 years ago in India, and also found in moths. The virus affects bees’ abdomens, turning their tissues bluish-green or purple in color. The fungus that has been found, Nosema ceranae, sickens bees when the spores are ingested.

“There seems to be a correlation between the presence of these two pathogens together,” said Robert Cramer, a pathologist at Montana Sate University. “We envision the bee gets an infection from one or the other, and this causes the bees to become stressed, which then allows the second infection to come in and more effectively cause disease.”

The study was conducted at the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

Source: Associated Press