Bee Diseases
Honey bee diseases
   Bee Disease | Colony Collapse Disorder

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Bee Disease

The honeybee has been in recent decline due to a number of bee diseases. Unfortunately, scientists don't yet understand why their numbers are being reduced. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites that include mites and fungal diseases are known to cause injury to bees, but bees are also highly susceptible to pesticides that cause neurological poisoning, even in minute amounts. Brood are injured when adult worker bees return to the hive, contaminated with pesticides or the other pathogens. Significant bee populations are required to pollinate agricultural crops, but as bee colonies collapse, a decline in population means there will ultimately be lower crop yields, higher prices, and less food on the table of consumers. Pollination is one of the major casualties of bee disease.

Of the mites that injure bees, Varroa destructor and V. jacobsoni, are two parasites that are particularly destructive. Not only do they suck the juices out of adults, but the also feed on pupae and larvae. These mites are blamed for colony collapse disease by some scientists and beekeepers. Wax moths eat the honeycombs of the hive, but these moths are killed by cold temperatures. Small hive beetles will drive out the bee colony, but they are controlled by diatomaceous earth or pesticides.

After ingesting food that contains either the European foulbrood bacteria or spores of the American foulbrood, bee larva become infected and die from having these bacterial diseases in their digestive tracts. Spores remain viable for up to 40 years. Chalkbrood is a fungal disease that also infects the larva in the same way, competing for and starving the larva of food. Stonebrood is still another fungal disease that infects the brood of a colony. Viruses include Cloudy wing virus, Acute bee paralysis, Black Queen cell virus, Deformed wing virus, Varroa destructor virus 1 (not the same as the mite), Sacbrood virus, Kakugo virus, and Israel acute paralysis. Dysentery is caused when there are not enough warm days (>50F) for the bees to fly and defecate. When this is the case, they defecate within the colony and poison it, yielding dark honey with higher levels of insoluble matter. I guess nobody would eat that.
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