A virus that leaves bees with stubby, useless wings, bloated abdomens and sluggish brains before killing them off takes advantage of one of the pollinators’ nastier habits — a tendency to cannibalize their young, a new study found.
The deformed wing virus (DWV) lurks inside the bellies of mites that prey on the bees’ young; then, the worker insects get infected when they gobble up the baby bees, the study researchers found.
This finding may explain why DWV has become much more catastrophic, often leading to colony collapse, now compared with in the past. Research published April 26 in the journal Scientific Reports has found that the increasing virulence of DWV is due, in part, to the honeybee’s cannibalism behaviors. …