Tobacco Ringspot Virus could be Culprit behind Mysterious Honeybee Colony Decline
Since 2006, around 33% of commercial bee colonies have been wiped out due to higher instances of death of honey-bees. Researchers have been trying to find the reason for the mysterious decline in honeybees.
It is vital to figure out the root cause as honey bees are important for the survival of agriculture industry. About 30% of food and beverages' production in the US require the pollination carried out by honeybees.
Recently, a study has been carried out that has found a rapidly mutating virus, which has jumped from tobacco plants to soy plants to bees, may be the reason behind the wipe out.
The academic journal mBio-published study has found a correlation between honeybee deaths and increasing infections by a variant of the tobacco ringspot virus. The researchers have said that pollen that is picked up bees contain the virus.
The virus gets spread through an activity of bee in which it mixes saliva and nectar to make bee bread. The researchers think that mites that feed on bees may also be having hand in transmitting the virus.
Lead author of the study, Yan Ping Chen from the USDA Agricultural Research Service laboratory in Maryland, said about the virus, "The cause of colony collapse disorder remains unclear. But we do have evidence that TRSV along with other viruses that we screen on a regular basis are associated with lower rates of over-winter survival".
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