Bacteria carried by Varroa mites may be key to unlocking mystery of honey bee deaths

Screen Shot at AM
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A University of Wisconsin-Stout biology professor and his students may have made an important discovery in the effort to determine why honey bee hives are dying out during the winters in the Upper Midwest.

Biology Professor Jim Burritt and his students have published research [in PLOS One] about a new strain of the bacterium called Serratia marcescens strain sicaria. … Ss1 for short.

“Our results indicate that Ss1 may contribute to the wintertime failure of honey bee colonies. We believe this is important because most beekeepers in our area lose over half of their hives each winter. …” said Burritt….

The bacterium came to light … as researchers looked for a different organism in blood drawn from sick bees in Dunn County. …

“It was clear we were looking at something different. As we did more testing on the organism, we began to realize we may be working with a new threat to honey bees. …” Burritt said.

Related article:  Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week

. . . .

Along with finding the new strain of bacterium, also groundbreaking within the study is confirmation that Varroa destructor mites carry the Ss1 bacterium, Burritt said. Previously, mites were known only for transmitting viruses to honey bees.

The eight-legged Varroa mites are about the size of a poppy seed, Burritt said. “With the help of the students, we developed a method to efficiently obtain culture information from many individual mites,” he said.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Professor, students identify bacterium that may kill honey bees

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend