Colony Collapse Disorder

With the felling of 25,000 bees this spring in Oregon, a link to the impact of pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids are being implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  CCD is explained as the disappearance or death of bees in a hive or colony.  Other explanations of CCD have included varroa mites, viruses, not enough food, and loss of habitat.

What are bees good for, anyways?  They can sting, cause life-threatening allergic reactions in some people, and buzz around your ears.  However, to those in agriculture, the sound of bees buzzing is music to the ears.  In many fruit and vegetable crops, bees are an important pollinator.  Without them, no pollen would be transferred to female parts of the flowers, and hence, no fruits and vegetables.

Almost 1/3 of the U.S. diet can be traced back to plants that are pollinated by insects, including bees.  That’s worth over $15 billion dollars to the U.S economy, but more importantly, would further strain the nation’s food supply during the economic downturn.

We have to find a solution to this — what do you think?

Recent articles:

USDA Spending $3 million to Kickstart Recovery of Honey Bees, Huffington Post, March 2014

Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae, PLoS One, July 2013

The Plight of the Honeybee, Time Magazine, August 2013

Colony Collapse Disorder: An Incomplete Puzzle, Agricultural Research, July 2012

Colony Collapse Disorder: A Complex Buzz, Agricultural Research, May/June 2008