Across Appalachia

“Zombie Bee” Disease Found in Virginia and other shorts

Date: August 10, 2016

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“Zombie Bee Disease Found in Virginia

This June, scientists confirmed that the South’s first case of a particular bee-killing parasite was discovered near Roanoke, Va., according to the Associated Press.

The “zombie bee” condition, which is caused by parasitic flies laying larvae in live bees, was first discovered in California in 2008.

The phenomenon causes bees to display “zombie-like” behavior, such as flying at night or drifting towards light. Several hours after being infected, bees will die. Scientists are working to determine the significance of the condition’s spread and its potential effects on bee populations.

— Savannah Clemmons

Protections Sought for Rare Alabama Snail

In June 2016, environmental groups filed a petition to list Alabama’s oblong rocksnail as threatened or endangered due to its vulnerability to pollution, climate change and invasive species.

The snail was thought to be extinct for over 70 years. However, in 2011, a graduate student rediscovered an isolated population of the nickel-sized mollusks on an unnamed shoal in the mountainous region of the Upper Cahaba River.

— Otto Solberg

N.C. Mapping Project Assesses Pollution from Big Farms

North Carolina is one of the largest pig- and chicken-producing states in the country, and the operations create millions of tons of animal waste each year.

Two advocacy groups, the Environmental Working Group and the Waterkeeper Alliance, developed a series of interactive maps of poultry, swine and cattle operations across the state, including waste lagoons and waterways that could be affected.The maps are intended to serve as a tool to assess the social and environmental impacts of industrialized animal farms.

View the map at tinyurl.com/ncfarmsmap.

— Otto Solberg

National Chemical Safety Rules Updated

After years of negotiations on Capitol Hill, on June 22 President Obama signed the first chemical legislative reform since 1976. The law gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency more authority to test and regulate chemicals and keep dangerous items off the market. Although it may take years to ban some chemicals, the law requires the EPA to develop a risk evaluation process by the end of the year.

The Southeast’s waterways are contaminated with traces of pharmaceuticals, a new United States Geological Survey study found. Besides discharge from wastewater treatment plants, aging sewers and leaking septic systems are also at fault.

— Otto Solberg

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