Saturday, June 21, 2008

Disappearing Bees

This is pulled from wikipedia. I checked out the sources and the info is accurate and better compiled than the various sources.

Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a poorly understood phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of beekeeping, the term 'Colony Collapse Disorder' was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.

The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet well understood. Proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition, pathogens (i.e., disease including Israel acute paralysis virus), mites, pesticides such as neonicotinoids or imidacloprid, and genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics such as transgenic maize.

From 1971 to 2006, there was a dramatic reduction in the number of feral (wild) honeybees in the US (now almost absent); and a significant, though somewhat gradual decline in the number of colonies maintained by beekeepers. This decline includes the cumulative losses from all factors such as urbanization, pesticide use, tracheal and Varroa mites, and commercial beekeepers retiring and going out of business. However, late in the year 2006 and in early 2007 the rate of attrition was alleged to have reached new proportions, and the term "Colony Collapse Disorder" was proposed to describe this sudden rash of disappearances.

Limited occurrences resembling CCD have been documented as early as 1896, 22and this set of symptoms has in the past several decades been given many different names (disappearing disease, spring dwindle, May disease, autumn collapse, and fall dwindle disease). Most recently, a similar phenomenon in the winter of 2004/2005 occurred, and was attributed to Varroa mites (the "Vampire Mite" scare), though this was never ultimately confirmed. Nobody has been able to determine the cause of any past appearances of this syndrome. Upon recognition that the syndrome does not seem to be seasonally-restricted, and that it may not be a "disease" in the standard sense — that there may not be a specific causative agent — the syndrome was renamed.

Read the full article here. It really is interesting. And mysterious. I still see lots of bees in my garden, but this is a scary phenomenon. People sometimes think of bees as the canary in the coal mine.

No comments: