A MUSHROOM EXTRACT MIGHT SAVE BEES FROM A KILLER VIRUS

ROBBIE GONZALEZROBBIE GONZALEZ

A MUSHROOM EXTRACT MIGHT SAVE BEES FROM A KILLER VIRUS

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The bees, as you’ve probably heard, are dying, in massive numbers. Termed colony collapse disorder, the die-off counts among its causes a parasite aptly named Varroa destructor. A flat, button-shaped, eight-legged critter no more than 2 millimeters long, varroa mites invade honeybee hives around the world in droves, latch onto their inhabitants, and feed on their tissues, transmitting devastating RNA viruses in the process..

The worst of these diseases is deformed wing virus, believed to be one of the largest contributors to the devastation of honeybees worldwide. Named for the shrunken and misshapen wings that develop in affected bees, DWV robs its hosts of flight, undermines their immune system, and halves their lifespan. The sicker a bee is, and the more useless its wings, the fewer plants it pollinates. What’s more, what flora an infected bee does manage to visit become tainted by the virus, transmitting the infection to future pollinators. As if a bee-debilitating virus transmitted by itty-bitty parasites wasn’t terrifying enough, beekeepers currently possess no effective means of battling the virus…