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Nov 8, 2008
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Nr Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
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Got this through from my local association, thought it may be of interest

The New Scientist (29th August 2009) gives the cause of colony collapse disorder (CCD) as a genetic fault. May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois found, whilst mapping the genome of the honeybee, that 65 genes in CCD bees were distinctly different to bees whose colonies had not shown signs of CCD. She also discovered unusual snippets of genetic material typical of a picorna-like virus which is known to infect RNA, the building block for DNA. She found no evidence to suggest that pesticides or bacterial infections are the primary cause of CCD. Berenbaum's research suggests that the picorna virus may however make bees more vulnerable to pesticides or bacterial infections.
The Swiss Bee Research Centre in Bern believes that "genetic screening could be a new avenue for colony monitoring". Berenbaum would now like to study the genetics of other countries' CCD bees to ascertain whether her research could find similar results there also.

Just needed to add that this is not the views of the LRBKA but just a forwarded message

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Not the other way around then,Pesticides altering the RNA synthesis ?

Its like saying that bees suffering from deformed wing virus have altered RNA so its nothing to do with the Veroa mite,its a virus in the RNA.
I'm not sure that this bit of work has been that well reported. The evidence from CCD-affected colonies was that there is evidence (including chopped pieces of the ribosomal apparatus) that suggests the final straw for these colonies is the build-up of picornaviruses. The patterns of gene expression indicated no response in the cells of the bees to pesticides, which even surprised me given the load of beekeeping pesticides pumped into colonies belonging to some of the commercial beekeepers involved. None of the pesticide response genes activated strongly suggests that they are not a major cause of CCD, even in the US where they seem to use them with much less caution than we do.

This was described as the 'bullet hole' and some have said we still don't know the gun, or who fired it, or why they were playing with guns in the first place.

So - probably stresses of some kind (add your favourite thing here but US commercial migratory beekeeping practices must surely be high on the list) plus agents that spread picornaviruses (Varroa, tracheal mites, Nosema ... ) lead to poor health and viral epidemics, which may then cause mass absconding.

Personally I think the sunspot cycle may have a lot to answer for ..... :p

I think its a virus that has escaped from a lab doing Spud research who are trying to cover it up by posting physics alternatives across the internet.

On a more serious note Gavin I think anyone would be very foolish to play down the effects migratory beekeeping in the usa has had on colony health.
I wonder if the sheer scale of migarion in the states is appreciated here.

When I read the ABJ in the 80's & 90's there would appear in the column ads on the back page requests for 10,000 colonies for the Almonds, below which might be 100,000 for the almonds and so on. Incredible numbers.

I remember an outfit which boasted they could have bees on your land with in 48 hours from the time of booking on the mainland USA.

There was also a town which was notorious for semis crashing as the drivers fell asleep and the local fire crew evolved a way of dealing with the spilt hives. 2% aspirated foam as I recall.

This is not toddling along to the heather or the OSR this is thousands of miles at a time with hundreds of colonies on each truck on pallets.

No wonder they are stressed.

Wondered what all the big artics loaded with hives were doing,they move them around a fair bit then.

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