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Australian Bees Killing American Bees?

In what is turning out to be one of the most puzzling 'whodunnit' stories of the year, there may be a new clue as to why North American bees are disappearing.

The new culprit may be a virus (Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV)) found in healthy Australian honey, that could be adversely affecting and killing honey bee colonies across the United States, researchers reported Thursday.

Colony collapse disorder has killed millions of bees -- up to 90 percent of colonies in some U.S. beekeeping operations -- imperiling the crops largely dependent upon bees for pollination, such as oranges, blueberries, apples and almonds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says honey bees are responsible for pollinating $15 billion worth of crops each year in the United States. More than 90 fruits and vegetables worldwide depend on them for pollination.

Signs of colony collapse disorder were first reported in the United States in 2004, the same year American beekeepers started importing bees from Australia.

The disorder is marked by hives left with a queen, a few newly hatched adults and plenty of food, but the worker bees responsible for pollination gone.

Although worker bees in colony collapse disorder vanish, bees infected with IAPV die close to the hive, after developing shivering wings and paralysis. For some reason, the Australian bees seem to be resistant to IAPV and do not come down with symptoms.

Recently, reports had pointed to cell phone radiation as another culprit for the disappearing honey bee population.

U.S. beekeepers estimate that more than one-quarter of their 2.4 billion colonies have been affected

Happyhippie.com newswire - 9/10/07


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