First, there was the study that seemed to shed light on the problem of colony collapse disorder, highlighting an intriguing link between an Australian virus and the U.S. hives that were inexplicably emptying of bees. It called into question the imports of Australian bees that had been approved to bolster the honeybee population even before the onset of the mysterious collapse.
Then, there was another study, showing that the virus had been present in U.S. hives for several years before colony collapse disorder. That threw cold water on the Aussie virus hypothesis.
Both used sophisticated genetic analysis to arrive at their conclusions.
Now, the Australian agriculture minister, Peter McGauran, has taken a whack at the original scientists, facetiously asking for an apology, even as he hopes the new study will quiet tensions that might have cut off trade in honeybees, according to The Australian.
Quite a kerfuffle. The main point, of course, is that the cause of the decline of American bees, which has the potential to decimate many crops, is still as mysterious as the disease itself.
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