Even with the caveats, the possible identification of a virus involved in large bee die-offs is “exceptionally important,” said May Berenbaum, who heads the entomology department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and was not involved in the study. “Among other things, figuring out where this one came from will help us prevent future problems.”
Dr. Berenbaum, who led a 2006 National Academies study of problems with bees and other pollinators, said that finding ways to swiftly home in on novel diseases is ever more important in a globally linked economy. She noted that the first reports of the latest bee die-offs in the United States came in 2004, the first year the country allowed the import of honeybees — from Australia in this case — since 1922.
It would be interesting if this was the cause, though as I recall Australian bees were brought in because of the needs of the almond crop and lack of the bees at that point