Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus

by Scott Smith

Yesterday an update on Colony Collapse Disorder hit the news (thanks to all who sent me links). Scientists have discovered a virus that shows up in bee colonies affected but not in healthy colonies – unless it’s a bee in Australia… those bees seem to handle the virus well.

“There are no cases [of Colony Collapse Disorder] in Australia at all,” entomologist Dave Britton of the Australian Museum told the Sydney Morning Herald last month. “It is a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon.”

It’s interesting to me that this is happening in mostly big, commercial operations that move their hives around the country pollinating big corporate farms. Some scientists believe that it is not that the virus is so bad, but that colonies with immune systems weakened by a multitude of stresses can’t fight off the virus – I heard it compared to HIV on NPR. I wonder if mono-culture might be one of the factors. Bees are trucked around to pollinate huge crops of single plantings…

“I still believe that multiple factors are involved in CCD,” said Jeff Pettis, “and what we need to do is look at combinations such as parasites, stress and nutrition (together with the virus).”

People who eat only one type of food don’t tend to be healthy either.