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Research Article

Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline

  • Jerry J. Bromenshenk mail,

    beeresearch@aol.com

    Affiliations: Division of Biological Sciences, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, United States of America, Bee Alert Technology, Inc., Missoula, Montana, United States of America

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  • Colin B. Henderson,

    Affiliations: College of Technology, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, United States of America, Bee Alert Technology, Inc., Missoula, Montana, United States of America

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  • Charles H. Wick,

    Affiliation: US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood Area, Maryland, United States of America

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  • Michael F. Stanford,

    Affiliation: US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood Area, Maryland, United States of America

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  • Alan W. Zulich,

    Affiliation: US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood Area, Maryland, United States of America

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  • Rabih E. Jabbour,

    Affiliation: Science Applications International Corporation, Abingdon, Maryland, United States of America

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  • Samir V. Deshpande,

    Affiliations: Science Technology Corporation, Edgewood, Maryland, United States of America, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, United States of America

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  • Patrick E. McCubbin,

    Affiliation: OptiMetrics, Inc., Abingdon, Maryland, United States of America

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  • Robert A. Seccomb,

    Affiliation: Bee Alert Technology, Inc., Missoula, Montana, United States of America

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  • Phillip M. Welch,

    Affiliation: Bee Alert Technology, Inc., Missoula, Montana, United States of America

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  • Trevor Williams,

    Affiliation: Instituto de Ecologia AC, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

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  • David R. Firth,

    Affiliation: Department of Information Systems and Technology, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, United States of America

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  • Evan Skowronski,

    Affiliation: US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood Area, Maryland, United States of America

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  • Margaret M. Lehmann,

    Affiliation: Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States of America

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  • Shan L. Bilimoria,

    Affiliations: Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America, Center for Biotechnology and Genomics, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America

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  • Joanna Gress,

    Affiliation: Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States of America

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  • Kevin W. Wanner,

    Affiliation: Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States of America

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  • Robert A. Cramer Jr

    Affiliation: Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States of America

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  • Published: October 06, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013181

Reader Comments (14)

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Why bees fly away

Posted by jmontague on 07 Oct 2010 at 19:18 GMT

I saw the write up on this study in 10/7 NYT, and it occurred to me that infected and dying bees might fly away from their colonies to die, not because they're insane, but rather because they somehow recognize that they're ill, and don't want to further infect or damage the rest of the colony. This idea might fit with some of the bees' communication and societal coordination capabilities, and might suggest some new areas for further research.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Why bees fly away

beeresearch replied to jmontague on 23 Feb 2011 at 00:30 GMT

I agree, this was a misquote by NYT. I don't remember ever saying bees go insane. Some investigators speculate that bees forget how to find their way home. A simpler explanation might be that sick bees fly out, are too weakened to return, die in the field.

Competing interests declared: Corresponding Author