Deadly Honey Bees Virus Is Transmitted by Mites, Says Scientists
Scientists have discovered that deadly honey bee virus is actually transmitted by parasitic mites. REUTERS

Scientists have discovered that the deadly honey bee virus is actually transmitted by parasitic mites.

An international team of scientists has found that a parasite called Varroa mite has spread a deadly virus among the bees. The virus is probably one of the reasons behind the drastic decline in honey bee colonies.

Scientists claim that the Varroa mite which causes Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) is one 18 viruses that affects bees. It causes wing and abdominal deformities found in adult bees. The virus is usually transmitted through feeding or sex.

However scientists have found that the Varroa mite changes the disease and makes it deadlier.

"Deformed Wing Virus is naturally transmitted in bees through feeding or sex but the mites change the disease so it becomes more deadly, shortening the bees' lives," said Dr Stephen Martin, scientist at the University of Sheffield, in a statement.

The study claims that a few Varroa mites have the capability to kill thousands of bees. They are one of the major reasons behind colony collapse disorder.

"Just 2,000 mites can cause a colony containing 30,000 bees to die. The mite is the biggest problem worldwide for bee keepers; it's responsible for millions of colonies being killed," Martin added.

Earlier, another group of researchers discovered that fly parasites were one of the major reasons for decline in honey bee colonies

Now researchers have found Varroa mite causes Deformed Wing Virus that kills several bees across the globe.

"Understanding the changing viral landscape that honey bees and other pollinators face will help beekeepers and conservationists worldwide protect these important insects. We have discovered what happens at the start of an infection. The goal is to understand how the infection comes about so that we can control it," Martin concluded.