Study links parasitic fly to bee colony losses

A possible contributor to the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) among honeybees has been identified.

The parasitic fly Apocephalus borealis has been found to invade, disorientate and finally kill honeybees, according to a paper in the journal PLoS ONE. As well as being lethal to bees directly, the flies harbour deformed wing virus and other pathogens, the study found.

"We don't fully understand the web of interactions," said Professor John Hafernik of San Francisco State University, one of the research team.

"The parasite could be another stressor, enough to push the bee over the tipping point. Or it could play a primary role in causing the disease," he added.

Debate continues as to the cause or causes of CCD, including mites, fungi, viruses, crop chemicals, loss of food sources and even mobile phone masts. While the existence of CCD in the UK is disputed, the British Beekeepers' Association has reported four years of "unacceptably high" colony losses.

Agriculture's role in the decline of bee and other insect populations - and in reversing it - will be the subject of a Society of Chemical Industry conference at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden on 25 April.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

What should be done to ensure sustainable growth in English wine?

What should be done to ensure sustainable growth in English wine?

How can British apples achieve 60% market share target?

How can British apples achieve 60% market share target?

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Bespoke apprenticeships and internal training are helping firms to get ahead in skills-shortage horticulture, says Rachel Anderson.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +


The Horticulture Week Business Awards is now open for entries

Horticulture Week Top UK FRUIT PRODUCERS

See our exclusive RANKING of UK Fruit Producers by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon