The recent collapse of honeybee colonies has been the cause for much justifiable alarm and all sorts of speculation ranging from pesticides to (of all things) cellphones.
Now it appears that the actual culprits may have been found.....
Using a new technology called the Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS), which was designed for military use to rapidly screen samples for pathogens, ECBC scientists last week isolated the presence of viral and parasitic pathogens that may be contributing to the honeybee loss.
Confirmation testing was conducted over the weekend by scientists at the University of California San Francisco. ECBC scientists presented the results of their studies yesterday to a United States Department of Agriculture working group, hastily convened to determine next steps.
The article says a parasite and a virus...this would make sense. If the two recently developed a symbiotic relationship or are just hitting the bees at the same time they could have overwhelmed the bees immune systems. More in this article, which identifies the parasite as Nosema ceranae.
While the situation is still dire, if this is in fact the culprit it is a bit of good news. Some treatment may be able to be devised, at least for domestic beehives.
Even if this is not the culprit, the fact that the Integrated Virus Detection System detected these pathogens indicates that the Pentagons biowarfare sensor methods are at least on the right track.
And that is quite good news.