In the many studies and research into bee mortality, an iron deficiency is not mentioned as a possible cause. An iron deficiency in bees may result from iron extraction, for example by the Varroa mite. An iron deficiency may also be due to a reduced supply via pollen or nectar. Ultimately, this leads to reduced availability of iron for the important processes in a bee's body. The consequences of a lack of iron in bees is not described in the literature. These consequences, however, can be derived from what is known for other insects and higher organisms.
In the event of a shortage of iron in an organism, the stocks will be depleted to meet the body's needs. In bees, iron is stored in the trophocytes in the fat body. When the Varroa mite parasitizes a bee via the hemolymph, iron is repartitioned, thus reducing a bee's own store. If this extraction is prolonged, for example if there are many mites for a long period of time, a bee's iron supply is exhausted. Only then do the bees display deficiency symptoms.
From medical and veterinary publications it transpires that an iron deficiency not only has an unfavorable influence on energy management, it is also detrimental to the immune and the nervous systems. For further information see the section Research.
Not returning to the hive, disappearing and disorientation
Bees not returning to the hive as well as bees disappearing and being disorientated, are due to iron deficiency, at least partially. This occurs in the following phases: 1 exhaustion, 2 diseases 3. disorientation. You can read more about this in the section Research of this website.