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Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have indentified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

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26 Jul
Dave Winer ☮ @davewiner
Scientists discover what's killing the bees and it's worse than you thought. http://t.co/oQ0UFjyPtA
26 Jul
Jason Yip @jchyip
Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought http://t.co/scUnS5EvLt via @qz
25 Jul
Chuck Reynolds @ChuckReynolds
Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought - http://t.co/A4Y2Dk6dq9
25 Jul
Ars Technica @arstechnica
RT @dangoodin001: Scientists discover what's killing the bees and it's worse than you thought: http://t.co/Y3W6EPbjwC > Sad
25 Jul
Jacqui Cheng @ejacqui
RT @DrPizza: More depressing bee news. http://t.co/51ZjqoiRWe
25 Jul
Oli Studholme @boblet
RT @teiwaz: Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought http://t.co/RIRY7GtFyT research published today in …
25 Jul
Hiro Asari @hiro_asari
RT @orenjacob: Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought http://t.co/PNEl6tpK0o via @qz
25 Jul
monkchips @monkchips
RT @TomRaftery: RT @derektroy: Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought http://t.co/dWKiOdRirp
25 Jul
Ketan Majmudar @ketan
RT @olivia_solon: Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought http://t.co/xofyE69nPM
25 Jul
Glyn Moody @glynmoody
RT @qz: Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought http://t.co/f1rKO24mGl
25 Jul
Hacker News 20 @newsyc20
Scientists discover whats killing the bees http://t.co/l6rE4poagd (http://t.co/lh8RIgyTC9)