Update on Bee Colony Collapse Disorder
Over the past six years, CCD has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives worth $2 billion. Bee colonies in the U.S. are so decimated that it takes 60% of the nation’s bee population to pollinate a single crop, California almonds. And that’s not just a local problem; California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds!
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA’s internal research agency, is leading several efforts into possible CCD causes. Varroa mites, a virus-transmitting parasite of honey bees, have frequently been found in hives hit by CCD. Some consider current pesticide and fertilizer use as another cause of the disorder. Researchers suspect that stress could be compromising the immune system of bees, making colonies more susceptible to disease, possibly caused by “poor nutrition (due to apiary overcrowding, pollination of crops with low nutritional value, or pollen or nectar dearth), drought, and migratory stress brought about by the increased need to move bees long distances to provide pollination services (which, by confining bees during transport, or increasing contact among colonies in different hives, increases the transmission of pathogens).”
To watch a short video on Bee Colony Collapse visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur1ZFj22K94. To learn more on what’s being done about bee colony diseases view the USDA Colony Collapse Disorder Plan at www.ars.usda.gov/is/br/ccd/ccd_actionplan.