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MSU research may lead to new ways to control honeybee parasite
Date:12/9/2009

viruses. The mites wiped out nearly 50 percent of the U.S. commercial honeybee population in 2004.

Varroa mites also may possibly contribute to colony collapse disorder, or CCD, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. First described in 2006, CCD is the official name for the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of bees from hives around the world. Scientists have not been able to find a cause.

"These mites are a big, big problem for agriculture," Huang said. "Nearly 80 percent of food crops depend on pollination."

In Michigan, fruit and vegetable crops valued at $400 million depend on honeybee pollination and honey and beeswax add another $5 million to the state's economy each year. Nationwide, bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA. It's estimated that one out of every three bites of food people eat is made possible by pollination.


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Contact: Jamie DePolo
depolo@msu.edu
609-354-8403
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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