Well, it looks like Nosema ceranae is not the sought after cause of bee decline after all (last message#770). It looks like the little critter, rather than being the cause may be taking advantage of an already weakened immune system in bees – sort of like what happens with AIDS. We are back to the question, just what is suppressing the bee’s immune system? Read the following exerpt. and see the full report on the link provided by Milt Bowling.
Environmental Emergency Updates:
Part 1 – Spreading Honey Bee Disappearances –
Nosema ceranae Not the Answer?
Â© 2007 by Linda Moulton Howe
“Nosema ceranae certainly is a stressor, but it doesn”™t seem to be the smoking gun that we were looking for.”
– Jerry Hayes, Apiary Chief, Florida Dept. of Agriculture
May 4, 2007 Gainesville, Florida – In the last week of April 2007, media headlined that University of California-San Francisco biochemists had “tracked down suspect in honey bee disappearances.”
The culprit? The news media called it a fungus. But it”™s a one-celled protozoan called Nosema ceranae. The problem with that suspect? Nosema ceranae had been identified long before in Spain, other European countries and the United States ”“ in both healthy, normal honey bees, as well as bee bodies found around empty hives where Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been reported. In CCD, the bees have disappeared in the billions in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres since the fall of 2006.
Five months ago in December 2006, scientists in the CCD Working Group publicly reported that whatever was causing the massive honey bee disappearances was also severely suppressing honey bee immune systems ”“ leaving the bees vulnerable to all sorts of pathogens, including the Nosema protozoan.
The fragility of the honey bee immune system was confirmed by the genome project last October, which for the first time mapped all the genes in honey bees. DNA researchers found that there weren”™t many genes to deal with poisons or to fight off disease. The conclusion was that honey bees might be especially vulnerable to attacks by pathogens and pesticides and other toxins.
The University of Montana”™s Bee Alert group recently surveyed more than 500 American beekeepers to find out how many have had bees disappear. The statistic now is: 38% of beekeepers have reported hive disappearances, some losing 75% or more of all their bees. One bee colony in California went from thriving to disappearance in only two days.
That”™s why the late April 2007 UC-San Francisco announcement that Nosema ceranae was most likely the cause of CCD was surprising and confusing. The protozoan was already on the growing list of hypotheses that more than a hundred American scientists have been trying to study for half a year in an effort to solve the honey bee mystery. This week I asked Jerry Hayes, Chief of the Apiary Section, at Florida”™s Dept. of Agriculture in Gainesville, Florida, about the Nosema news release and the spread of Colony Collapse Disorder into China, Taiwan, Guatemala and Brazil.
Jerry Hayes, Chief, Apiary Section, Florida Department of Agriculture, Gainesville, Florida: “That was kind of an awkward situation because the CCD Working Group (of scientists) had already identified Nosema ceranae, which is a one-celled protozoan that can live in the honey bee”™s intestine. The lab in California (UC-San Francisco) did not contact us. But it was good that they did the work because it confirmed what we had already known.
But Nosema ceranae does not seem to be a major player at this time because all of the samples we have taken from all bees seem to have Nosema ceranae in them. So it”™s not something that appears to be a brand new pathogen.
WELL, THEN WHY DID THIS HIT THE HEADLINES WITH THAT PROFESSOR SEEMING TO SAY THIS IS THE ANSWER?
You”™ve got me, Linda.
I WANTED TO UNDERSTAND BECAUSE I HAD TALKED WITH YOU AND PROF. COX-FOSTER AND ALL OF THESE PEOPLE IN THE TWO WEEKS LEADING UP TO WHEN YOU AND I HAD TALKED.
AND NOBODY WAS FOCUSING ON NOSEMA, BUT I KNEW IT HAD COME UP BACK IN FEBRUARY BECAUSE THEY HAD FOUND IT IN SPAIN.
Yes. And there was separate diagnosis of that at the USDA lab in Beltsville, Maryland, probably a month ago. So, this was not something new to us and then to have this kind of blurted out we thought was kind of interesting.
IS THERE ANY REASON WHY THE SAN FRANCISCO RESEARCHERS WHO PUT OUT THE INFORMATION ABOUT NOSEMA CERANAE POSSIBLY BEING THE EXPLANATION FOR THE COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER NOT HAVING CHECKED WITH THE COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER SCIENTISTS BEFORE RELEASING THE INFORMATION?
It certainly seems to be a disconnect in the communication process and we hope in the future our other colleagues in other realms and expertise will be able to work more closely with us. These guys (UC-San Francisco) kind of charged ahead and identified something we already knew about. This Nosema has been widely identified in Europe, including Spain and France, for several years. So there are treatments and controls for it and it”™s something that beekeepers are addressing already.
WHY DID THE COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER SCIENCE GROUP DISMISS NOSEMA CERANAE AS NOT BEING THE CAUSE FOR THE GENERAL DISAPPEARANCE OF HONEY BEES?
Because beekeepers were already in many cases treating with the antibiotic for Nosema in the samples that we took. So, some of the samples the beekeepers had been treating and did not have Nosema. Some of the samples, the beekeepers had not been treating. So, there didn”™t seem to be a connection. CCD appeared whether the beekeepers were treating for Nosema or not.
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