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Friday, October 8, 2010

Virus and fungus suspected to cause Colony Collapse disorder

A new research paper has been published and the authors of it are asserting that they believe colony collapse disorder may be caused by the combination of a virus and a fungus simultaneously attacking bees in a colony.

In the paper entitled, "Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline" (which you can access at: )

which is co-authored by many scientists, these experts state that:

"RNA viruses in North American  honey bees, Varroa destructor-1 virus and Kakugo virus, and an invertebrate iridescent virus (IIV) (Iridoviridae) have been identified as being  associated with CCD colonies."

An RNA Virus, is "Any of many viruses that possess ribonucleic acid as their genetic material and do not replicate using DNA." (source: ). RNA is a biologically important type of molecule that consists of a long chain of molecules  which perform important functions such as:
(a)being sources of chemical energy for the cells in our body,
(b)being involved in cellular signalling, and being
  (c) components in enzyme reactions.
  (source: )

What is an iridescent virus (IIV) (Iridoviridae) you ask?

"Iridescence (also known as goniochromism) is generally known as the property of certain surfaces which appear to change colour as the angle of view changes."
(source: ). Iridoviridae are a family of viruses. An iridescent virus is one which has  particles of 120 – 180 nm in diameter, containing an internal lipid membrane and a double-stranded DNA genome  that belong to the family Iridoviridae.IIV particles are organized into crystalline arrays. Light reflected from such arrays interferes with incident light, resulting in the characteristic iridescent colours that are the most obvious sign of patent infection. Patent disease is lethal in the larval or pupal stages.Little is known about the factors that determine the virulence of these viruses, but it is assumed that covert infections open the way to vertical transmission of the virus from parent to offspring."
(source: )

"The word Iridoviridae is derived from Iris who was the Greek goddess of the rainbow. This is due to the "rainbow like" iridescence observed in heavily infected insects and pelleted samples of invertebrate iridoviruses." (source: )

Apparently these iridescent viruses were found in bee hives which had been striken by  CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) but not in hives which had not been affected by the disorder. Scientists have also indicated that the hives which had been striken by CCD also possessed  NosemaNosema is a genus of parasites, The dormant stage of nosema is a long lived spore which is resistant to temperature extremes and dehydration. (sources: and ). "Nosema apis" can multiply only in living honey bee midgut cells. Research has indicated that "Heavily infected worker honey bees can contain an excess of 50 million spores" in their abdomen!

"Nosema infections have specific negative effects on honey bees. Worker bees that ingest spores when they are less than a week old normally do not produce royal jelly. Their life spans will be reduced up to 78%. Young queens that ingest Nosema spores normally are superseded within a month. In climates where winter prohibits supersedures for many months, colonies often go queenless and dwindle away in early spring. When high percentages of workers are infected and spore counts exceed ten million spores per bee, significant numbers of colonies will die or lose queens during the winter. All levels of infection lead to very slow spring build up, even when forage and temperatures are ideal. Frequently, reduced honey yields follow this poor population build up

(source: ).

Hopefully now that scientists know what caused Colony Collapse disorder they will be able to develop a bee through genetics which will be resistant to this virus and fungus. I wish to applaud all of the scientists who worked on this research and I hope that  existing ways of treating bee colonies so CCD does not infect  them can successfully keep CCD from mutating and infecting healthy bee colonies.

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.