PerspectiveEcology

The mite that jumped, the bee that traveled, the disease that followed

Science  05 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6273, pp. 554-556
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf0938

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Summary

European honeybees are among the best-studied and most widely recognized insect species in the world. Originally kept for honey production, they have become the flagship species for pollination and large-scale agriculture. Since large colony losses were reported across the United States in 2006, researchers have investigated the myriad factors that contribute to the decline in honeybee populations. In particular, the aptly named Varroa destructor mite (see the photo) and the deformed wing virus (DWV) have been clearly linked to colony collapse (1). On page 594 of this issue, Wilfert et al. use a phylogeographic analysis to examine the evolutionary origin and mechanisms for the global spread of the DWV (2).