So, it turns out that the whole bee population decline might actually be our fault. We’ve known for a while now that Colony Collapse is at least partially due to the fact that there’s been a spread of a disease known as Deformed Wing Virus. What we are just learning now is that we have helped the virus spread.
Deformed Wing Virus is spread by a little parasite known as the Varroa mite. Along with infecting the young bees, leaving them with under developed wings, they also eat the larvae of the bees, leading to the internal collapse of the hives. Now, a new study is showing that is has been humans who have helped the mites and the diseases they carry to proliferate. How? Through the bee trade industry. This has let infected bees be relocated to areas where the mites were not previously present. Before this, the bees would have died out in that particular area and then the virus would be contained. Now, the virus moves as farmers sell bees to other farmers and we spread the disease among the populations.
Luckily, this can be fixed. Farmers need to be more aware of the mites and check their bees regularly to make sure they are not infected. If they are, they need to kept in a small area.
Deformed Wing Virus actually started in Europe but has spread around the world to North America, Australia, and New Zealand due to the bee trade.