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Highly Contagious Honey Bee Virus Transmitted by Mites

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have discovered a parasitic mite has caused the deformed wing virus to proliferate in honey bee colonies.

This association is now thought to contribute to the world-wide spread and probable death of millions of honey bee colonies. The current monetary value of honey bees as commercial pollinators in the United States alone is estimated at about $15-$20 billion annually.

The research conducted in Hawaii by researchers from the University of Sheffield, the Marine Biological Association, the Food and Environment Research Agency and the University of Hawaii, and reported in the journal Science, showed how the Varroa mite caused deformed wing virus (DWV) -- a known viral pathogen -- to increase its frequency among honey bee colonies from 10 per cent to 100 per cent.

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