Bee colony collapse linked with viral, fungal infection

Washington, Oct 9 (ANI): It seems the long-standing mystery of the sudden death of bee colonies since late 2006 across North America has been solved.

Shan Bilimoria of the Texas Tech University said the bees might be taking a one-two punch from both an insect virus and a fungus, which may be causing bees to die off by the billions.

Bilimoria is part of a team of researchers searching for the cause of the collapse.

Led by research professor Jerry Bromenshenk from the University of Montana in Missoula, the group also includes virologists and chemists from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and the Instituto de Ecologica AC in Mexico.

"At this stage, the study is showing an association of death rates of the bees with the virus and fungus present," said Bilimoria.

To discover what might be attacking bee colonies, the team ground up dead bees that had succumbed to colony collapse disorder.

Using analytical equipment, researchers discovered through spectroscopic analysis evidence of a moth virus called insect iridescent virus (IIV) 6 and a fungal parasite called Nosema.

The insect virus is closely related to another virus that wiped out bee populations 20 years ago in India, he said. Also, unlike previous research that found the deaths may be caused by a virus with RNA, the IIV 6 contains DNA.

The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE. (ANI)

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