At this point, two years into CCD, does anyone have a clue what CCD is, or what combinations of triggers cause it? I don't think so.
They now know that nosema C, has been around in samples 15 years old. That it is not a new nosema just introduced. And it may of been here longer than we thought.
We also know that the pesticides, neonicotinoids, and other chemicals that some thought were the source for CCD, has shown in numbers of comb tests that would indicate they are not sole to blame. Although I do think that the combination of chems in the hive, produce deadly concoctions that may be a piece of the puzzle, mainly by lowering the immune system and making other problems more opportunistic.
But lets talk outside the box for a moment.
Necrotizing fasciitis, also known as "NF" is probably something most do not know much about. But you may of heard about the "flesh-eating" disease that is more common in hospitals these days than most really know. It's caused by A. streptococcus, or "GAS".
Did you know that most people carry "GAS" already? It's not something you get from "catching" it, it is something you have already on your skin.
People at risk are those who have suppressed immune systems (chemotherapy, steroid use, kidney disease, or HIV infection to name a few) And once these people then have surgery or other procedures in a hospital, they are at risk for seeing NF, due to the bacteria entering the body through contusions, abrasions, cuts, or other skin breaks.
Once the strain GAS outbreaks into NF, it is often fatal. The regiment of different antibiotics alone may number a half dozen types since the culture and strain may be difficult to treat. And many times if not caught early, treatment is useless.
So what do we have for humans......a bacterial strain already present on most human bodies. But until the immune system is suppressed, and the right vector is presented, most people will carry the bacteria for their lifetime. And no problems will ever exist. And for all the science in the world, much of what we know today about NF, has come about through perhaps billions of dollars of research, study, and experience.
Now relate the above to bees today. We have bees with suppressed immune systems (pesticides, beekeeper introduced chemicals, poor genetics and breeding, stressed hives being moved, poor nutrition, etc) and couple that with a vector of infection via the v-mites, and what possible bacterial agent are we possible not seeing?
I inspected for the state for a few years. I had some commercial guys, just a few years ago, due to finances, have extreme amounts of mites in their hives going into fall, with DWV, and extremely high counts of mites. I actually heard some say "I have not treated them, because if I have to treat them before I send them to California, I might as well hit them up hard at that time". And I am not suggesting that this scenario is the whole picture of CCD. I'm just suggesting that treatments, and many decisions about mite loads, when to treat, etc., were made not because of mite load, but for timing of hives being moved, and other factors.
So, is there bacterial issues so off the scope that nobody is looking or has no clue what to look for? Are items such as management, movement of bees, chemicals/pesticides, coupled with poor genetics, suppressing immune systems to the point that when you have a mite load able to open up a vector in enough bees, that deadly consequences then are set in motion?
I look at NF, as something we just now are learning so much about. And it almost mirrors exactly what we see in bees. A bacterial being present all the time, then coupled with a suppressed immune system, then vectored into the body (or even passed by the queen or food - although I'm not sure)...and what does it all add up to? For humans, many times a death sentence with NF. For bees, perhaps CCD and a dead hive.
I do not know how researchers look for different bacterial strains in the hunt for CCD answers.. Are they looking at the one's we know and have cataloged before? What about new ones, like GAS on humans that have been there all along, but never really looked at?
This of course opens up many questions about passing disease between hives in a yard since entire yards are crashed from CCD, or if the infection is passed beyond the vector of open wounds (open feeding, etc) in bees from mites.
The point I'm suggesting is that we have a potentially deadly bacteria strain that we already carry on most of our bodies, yet only when the circumstances are correct, do we see the infection and outbreak. And CCD, could very well be the same model for bees. This of course is something that many, including myself have said all along. That it is a combination of factors all lining up, to create the CCD.