Scientists buzzing about pesticides’ and pathogens’ role in bee deaths

Busy bees: Washington State University researchers think they might have found a cause of colony collapse disorder, the mysterious malady that has been wiping out bee colonies around the world. They propose that the combination of pesticides absorbed into the honeycomb and a microsporidian pathogen known as Nosema ceranae can weaken the workers and doom a colony. As pesticides are applied to battle such pests as the varroa mite, a portion of the chemical and its decomposition products are absorbed by the honeycomb, leading to background toxicity for the bees. Nosema ceranae is a relatively recent arrival to the U.S. that interferes with bees’ digestion and compromises their immune systems. (Environmental News Service, via the Rural Blog)

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