Scientists at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have devised an edible antiviral treatment to safeguard honey bees from deformed wing virus (DWV) and other viral threats. DWV and similar viruses have been linked to mass bee colony deaths worldwide, predominantly transmitted by Varroa mites. The infections lead to deformities and fatalities, jeopardizing agricultural pollination and food supplies.

While existing treatments target other bee ailments, none currently address viruses, which are pervasive in colonies. The engineered algae-based treatment, integrated into bee food, enhances bee immune response, reducing DWV infection rates and boosting survival. Vincent Ricigliano, a researcher at the ARS Honey Bee Laboratory, lauds blue-green algae as a beneficial dietary supplement for bees, boasting nutritional parallels to pollen and scalability for commercial beekeeping. This breakthrough offers hope for bee colony health, agricultural sustainability, and pollination efficiency.

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