"Parasitic mites wiping out bee colonies by transmitting deadly virus directly into the bloodstream of the bees, research reveals"
"The deadly link between the worldwide collapse of honeybee colonies and a bloodsucking parasite has been revealed by scientists. They have discovered that the mite has massively and permanently increased the global prevalence of a fatal bee virus.
The varroa mite's role means the virus is now one of the "most widely distributed and contagious insect viruses on the planet", the researchers warned. Furthermore, the new dominance of the killer virus poses an ongoing threat to colonies even after beekeepers have eradicated the mites from hives.
Varroa destructor has spread from Asia across the entire world over the past 50 years. It arrived in the UK in 1990 and has been implicated in the halving of bee numbers since then, alongside other factors including the destruction of flowery habitats in which bees feed and the widespread use of pesticides on crops. Bees and other pollinators are vital in the production in up to a third of all the food we eat, but the role the mites played was unclear, as bacteria and fungi are also found in colonies along with the viruses."
Damian Carrington reports for the Guardian June 7, 2012.
"Bee-Killing Virus Gets Supercharged By Mites" (Reuters)