Bee Die-Offs Tied to Tobacco Plant 'STD'
Tobacco ringspot virus jumped from tobacco to soy to bees: study
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2014 8:13 AM CST
This April 25, 2007 file photo shows a colony of honeybees at the Agriculture Department's Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

(Newser) – Honeybees have been dying in huge numbers since 2006, and a new study finds that a virus may be one cause. The tobacco ringspot virus has mutated quickly and jumped from tobacco plants to soy plants to bees, researchers say, and the annual increase in honeybee deaths between autumn and winter correlates with an increasing number of infections. The virus exists in pollen, and is likely spread as bees mix saliva, nectar, and pollen to feed their larvae; mites may also be transmitting the virus when they feed on bees. (Grist calls the virus a "plant STD," since it's spread as bees pollinate plants.)

It's just the latest explanation offered for "colony collapse disorder," which has decimated about one-third of commercial honeybee colonies per year since 2006, the New York Times reports. The study authors and other researchers believe that a number of factors are to blame, including viruses, parasites, and perhaps pesticides. This is the first known example of bees contracting a virus from pollen. And since 5% of known plant viruses can be transmitted from plant to plant via pollen, researchers think pollen should be monitored for other potential host-jumping viruses, Science Codex reports. (More bee news: It turns out they almost disappeared with the dinosaurs.)

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Jan 24, 2014 7:39 AM CST
We bee screwed.
Jan 23, 2014 5:30 AM CST
In order to mass produce the crops that we need, farmers (or should I say corporations) place tons of various pesticides on them each year. Not only do these pesticides kill off insects that are unwanted, they also kill off (and sicken) insects that are beneficial in the process which includes our friends the bees. Insect nerve systems are very simple, most insecticides are neurotoxins and affect them very rapidly. Pesticides work the same way that VX, Sarin etc work on us. We are alo the recipients of minute quantities of all this global pesticide runoff. Have you ever wondered why, cases of cancer, alzhiemers, etc seem to be more prevalent in the modern age? Make you wonder.... Of course Monsanto, Dow Chemical and those folks have huge and powerful lobby teams that will point to studies showing otherwise. Remember, no bees, no birds no life on earth as we know it.
Ezekiel 25:17
Jan 22, 2014 8:50 PM CST
Because of China's massive use of chemicals, several provinces report a near total loss of bees. In important agricultural provinces, China has been forced to adopt a hand pollination program. Thankfully since they are already a communist state, there is plenty of labor available to requisition a couple thousand ready and able bodies to git-r-done.