What is the BEE Colony Collapse Disorder?



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    Bee Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, has been happening for several years in a row. It is a term used to describe the dying out of honey bee populations in the US. It is characterized by the death and disappearance of all adult bees in a hive. All that remains are the juvenile bees and honey. The disappearance of honey bees has been occurring in record numbers, with some bee keepers losing 90% of their hives in winter (far more than typical for winter).

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    Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is when the worker bees of a colony suddenly die, and very few dead bees are found near the hive. The queen and the young remain in the hive, but eventually die out without the assistance of the worker bees. This process has been labeled Colony Collapse Disorder. Currently there are no known causes of this event.

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    Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a very complicated phenomenon that has been observed in bee colonies around the world since 2004. As research has come to light recently, more experts now believe there is no one affliction that is causing the deaths in bee populations. Some of the possible factors causing significant population declines include infestations of blood-sucking varroa mites and effects from agricultural pesticides. Various other theories have been suggested, such as effects from cell phone radiation. But none of these have been proven as explaining the decline. One hive-keeper argues that by forcing the bees to pollinate particular crops for a whole season (like if we had to eat just potatoes for a month) we’ve weakened their immune systems. Whatever the explanation for the deaths, it is clear that a complex combination of human and environmental influences have affected the bee and its essential function as a pollinator for human agriculture.

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    Colony Collapse Disorder is the single biggest threat currently faced by honeybees. Beekeepers first started to report the sudden disappearance of bees from their hives in 2006 in the Eastern United States. Over the last 3 years, CCD has killed over one in three bee colonies in 35 states across the US. In some cases, up to 90% of bees have been lost, and the problem is now worldwide – there have been losses reported in both Europe and Asia.

    The main symptom of CCD is no (or a low number of) adult honey bees present but with a live queen – and no dead honey bees in the hive. The bees simply disappear. Often there is still honey in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are present.

    The cause of CCD is still unknown, but recent researsh sugests that a combination of the varroa mite (a parasite that lives on honey bees) and nosema (a type of dysenntry in bees) might be the cause. It seems likely that the industrialization of commercial beekeeping, with bees transported thousands of miles to pollinate crops, is a contributory stress factor as well.

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