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Bee Emergency

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photo by David Luttrell

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  • University of Tennessee entomology professor and apiary expert and grad student Michael Wilson, who’s also a bee keeper, examine frames at the UT apiary.
  • Associate professor John Skinner conducts bee research but also plays an important role in getting information about the fight against CCD out to the “smartest land-grant university minds across America” through a website,
  • Researcher Paul Rhoades removes vials of nosema spores from a tank filled with liquid nitrogen. He’s interested in how well the fungus survives low temperatures — the tank is around -250 C. Nosema is a particular threat to honey bees, striking their digestive track.
  • The queen bee, noted by a blue dot, surrounded by her sterile female worker bees. In Colony Collapse Disorder, no adult bees are left in the hive, only “brood” and food stores.
  • Last year UT lost 25 bee colonies at its apiary due to European foulbrood (pictured above), a bacterial disease. Says bee expert and professor John Skinner, who co-authored an educational article about treating foulbrood: “Prior to that, I’d only seen the disease one time in 20 years, in one colony.”
  • Tennessee apiaries have suffered record numbers of foulbrood cases in the past year‹it’s a bacterium that competes for food inside honey bee larvae.
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University of Tennessee scientists study Colony Collapse Disorder as part of a USDA task force, trying to solve the mystery of dying bee colonies.

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