There are so many ways to like this story! Especially for a Californian.
First, bees are a really big deal.Â Like apples? Nuts? No pollinators, no crop, and fruits, nuts and vegetables are half the value of US agriculture, not to mention good for you and yummy.Â Bee colony collapse, along with varroa mites and sundry other troubles, has been a refractory and very costly problem; if this research holds up, we are a big step toward getting on top of it.
Second, interagency collaboration is neither common nor easy, and this is a success story of ‘quantum tunneling’ between distant stovepipes. I like the improvisatory lab technique, too, smashing bees on a desk and putting them through a coffee grinder.
Third, the equally improvisatory collaboration of the virus and the fungus is an interesting scientific finding in itself. What’s in it for each of these species; why does it help them to kill the bees rather than just inhabit them?Â Obviously lots more to come now that the door has been opened.