Saturday, September 8, 2007

An Answer to the Bee Die-Off?

Scientists have discovered that bees imported from Australia may have started a massive die-off of in the United States, according to an article from ABC online excerpted below:
Australian honey bee exports to the US may be in danger thanks to colony collapse disorder suspicions. The US Agriculture Department has pointed the finger at Australian bees as possible carriers of a virus that they say is causing the collapse of the honey bee industry in the United States and Europe.
The claims are likely to harm the Australian industry and could lead to a ban on the import of Australian bees.
The failure to find what has caused the honey bee crisis is an ongoing headache for the industry, which in the US is worth about $17 billion.
The name for the mysterious problem, Colony Collapse Disorder, sums up its devastating effects for beekeepers.
Daniel Weaver, the president of the American Beekeeping Federation says it is also causing alarm for producers in other industries.
"The farmers and orchardists that produce the fruits and nuts and melons and berries and all the other tasty things for the table that depend upon honey bees for pollination," he said.
He says the latest research on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) will harm Australian bee exports. Genetic research has found that Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus turned up regularly in hives affected by CCD.
The US Agriculture Department has also pointed the finger at Australian bees as a possible source.
Mr Weaver says Australian bees will not be quite as welcome in America now.
"It's likely that some beekeepers in the US who might have been contemplating using Australian bees might take a second look at that option now, wishing to avoid any excess risk," he said.
"So they may not import Australian bees that they would have otherwise imported without this report."

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