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January 25, 2010

Bees dying due to mites

ENVIRONMENT - Canadian scientists have discovered the reason why 23% of bee hives are dying during the winter (where previously they were fine). The reason is a tiny mite about the size of a period which is killing the bees.

Known in the USA as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) the mysterious vanishing act has decimated approx. 40% of North America's bee population. Usually the bees left the hive and never returned, sparking theories the bees were being killed by radiation, cellphones, global warming, climate change, terrorists and aliens.

In Canada however the bees hibernate during the winter and Canadian scientists were able to investigate the dead bee hives in the spring and determined the difference between healthy hives and dead hives was the presence of varroa mites, a crab-like parasite that clings to the backs and bellies of bees.

Varroa mites has become the superbug of bees because they've built up a resistance to miticide. The news that the mystery has been solved is welcomed by farmers and the beekeeping industry, but now becomes the difficult task of trying to find a way to get rid of the mites with either a more powerful miticide or an alternative method.

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