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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Update on Colony Collapse Disorder

The New York Times has an update on the scientific pursuit of an explanation for Colony Collapse Disorder. There's no mention of the recent experiment in the UK linking cell phones to bee disappearances, but the story includes a graphic of the affected states as well as discussion of the possible causes.

Scientists seem to be dismissing genetically modified crops as a potential cause, but are concerned about the types of food given to bees, such as corn syrup, that may come from genetically modified corn. Other potential causes include some sort of bee pathogen (such as a virus or bacteria) or pesticides in the neonicotinoids family. The French government banned a pesticide, called imidacloprid, after scientists linked it with the so-called "mad bee disease" that struck France in the 1990s:

The chemical, while not killing the bees outright, was causing them to be disoriented and stay away from their hives, leading them to die of exposure to the cold, French researchers later found. The beekeepers labeled the syndrome “mad bee disease.”

The French government banned the pesticide in 1999 for use on sunflowers, and later for corn...

...Among the pesticides being tested in the American bee investigation, the neonicotinoids group “is the number-one suspect,” Dr. Mullin said. He hoped results of the toxicology screening will be ready within a month.

For more information on the progress in diagnosing CCD, check out the CCD Working Group and their preliminary report on the disease from January.

1 comment:

John Blatchford said...

I have just written a brief article about the Honeybee crisis which you might find of interest