An Israeli scientist says that he has found the answer to a riddle that has plagued scientists for the past several years: Why are bees disappearing? The answer, according to Professor Ilan Sela of Hebrew University is because they are succumbing to a virus.
Countries all over the world have reported in recent years of a drastic fall in their bee populations. The phenomenon has become so widespread that the condition was given its own name in 2006, and is called Colony Collapse Disorder. The disappearance of bees has led many scientists to fear that crops which rely on bees to spread pollen will be negatively affected, resulting in shortages in some crops.
Scientists have not been sure as to the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, attributing it to situations as diverse as an increase in pesticide use to global warming, but according to Hebrew University's Sela, the culprit is a virus that has been spreading in the worldwide bee population. Speaking to Israel Radio, Sela said that he had developed, together with an American company, a treatment for the virus, which rehabilitated up to 70% of the hives that it was tested on.
According to American officials, the losses to the economy due to the disappearance of bees in the past few years has been about $35 billion annually.