3 Sep 2009

Virus suspected as cause of bee colony collapses

7:55 am on 3 September 2009

A leading honey bee scientist says scientists are a step closer to identifying what's causing the destruction of bee colonies around the world.

A phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder is continuing to wipe out millions of bee colonies in Europe and the United States.

Theories about the cause include viruses, mites, pesticides and fungi.

Researchers in the United States have found a possible connection by studying ribosomes in bees, the internal "factories" that produce proteins.

Dr Mark Goodwin, who heads the Plant & Food Institute's honey bee research unit, says it's another piece of the puzzle that lends support to the theory that a virus is behind the colony collapses.

However, he says a virus will be much harder to deal with than some other cause.