Mid-South News
7:23 am
Thu April 24, 2008

Stress May Be Linked To Disapearing Honeybee Disease

Memphis, TN – Scientists may be honing in on the cause of the disappearing honeybees. Apparently, the bees may be too stressed out, and that's what's causing them to fly away from their hives in droves.

Over the past two years, beekeepers, backyard and commercial alike, are losing their bees. Bees are our pollinators.

University of Arkansas Jonesboro Ag Extension Agent Steve Culp says bees are responsible for one third of the food we consume.

Colony Collapse Disorder is puzzling to scientists and beekeepers because they just disappear. At first they thought that cell phone towers were the cause of the disappearing honeybee disease. Now, some think that it's a perfect storm caused by the culmination of many factors: trucking commercial bees, imported viruses, pesticides, mites, and even Royal Jelly.

Commercial beekeeper Richard Adee, whose family has kept bees since the Depression, lost 28,000 colonies this year due to Colony Collapse Disorder - which is nearly nearly half. Adee Honey Farms are located in Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas and California

Adee said Cashmere Virus was found in the colonies that were abandoned, so he thinks that it's the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder that hit him.

Jerry Hayes, Chief of the Apiary Section for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is not too sure if the Cashmere Virus caused the Colony Collapse Disorder that Adee Honey Farms experienced recently.

John Skinner, Professor of Etymology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is nearly certain that there isn't just one cause. It's a multiplicity of culminating factors that are causing honeybee colonies to collapse. A bee virus that is topping the list, though, is Israeli acute paralysis.

Dr. Skinner believes that they will find answers, hopefully within the next two years. He thinks it won't be too late.