What Is Colony Collapse Disorder In Bees?

bees dying

Article Source: CNN Even people who are afraid of bees know how important these insects are to the economy. Because of the role that they play in pollinating many crops, honey bees are vital to the agricultural sector. However, in recent years, these insects have come under siege from a mysterious ailment known as colony collapse disorder, or CCD.

What is colony collapse disorder? Essentially, it is a situation where colonies are found with no living, adult bees. Instead, there may only be a living queen and some juvenile bees. The adults are either dead or entirely missing. So far, there is no proven cause of why this happens, though there are a number of theories that are being investigated.

While such problems have been observed for centuries, it is only within the last decade that the numbers have risen significantly, leading to the problem being named. In North America and Europe, the number of colonies that collapsed rose by quite a bit. The loss of these bees can be quite expensive, since there is not readily available alternative when it comes to pollinating many important crops.

Colonies are often lost over the winter, so the presence of some dead colonies is not surprising. What alarmed many beekeepers was the number. In the fall of 2006, quite a few reported that as many as 30 to 90 percent of their hives had died. This was a much higher rate of loss than was usually observed.

Most estimates are that the value of bees to the economy is as much as $15 to $20 billion or more. Bees pollinate many of the most important crops. Roughly one-third of the crops grown in the United States are either directly or indirectly the result of the activity of bees. As a result, these losses are quite alarming to many researchers.

A number of hypotheses have been suggested to explain why these colonies are collapsing. However, to date scientists have not been able to agree on the primary cause of CCD. It may be that multiple causes are interacting to create such significant losses, or that different colonies are being affected by different factors.

For example, many people have argued that the increased use of pesticides on crops is having a negative effect on bees. As more and more chemicals are used on crops, the argument goes, these chemicals are inadvertently affecting the health of bees.

Other possible causes include infestations of varroa mites, which are parasitic insects that live on bees. These mites have frequently been found in colonies that have been destroyed. Fungal infections or other pathogens may also be playing a role. Some people have also suggested that beekeeping practices are contributing to the problem by spreading diseases and other infections.

So what is colony collapse disorder? It is a serious problem that faces the world’s bees. Scientists are working very hard to find a solution. Without one, these vital insects may no longer be able to pollinate our crops for us.

Helpful Tips On How To Save The Bees

There is a wonderful movement today where a lot of local and national farmers are trying to do what they can to save the bee population. If you are interested in how to save the bees, you should know that there are a number of things that you can do to get started. While bees may bring out a fear of being stung in some people, the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages that could be involved. Throughout the pollination process, bees have the ability to help us with a wide variety of crops such as fruits, vegetables, berries, flowers and nuts. As a matter of fact, bees are actually responsible for roughly one out of every two to three bites of food that is consumed within the United States.

Some of the different ways that you can help to save the bees include:

Buying Local

Whenever possible, look into buying fruits, veggies and honey that are all locally grown and organic. In most cases, you are going to be supporting the majority of the beekeepers that live in your area.

Planting

There are all sorts of plants that you can place outdoors, even if it is a simple collection in a window box at your apartment. The more green space that you put out there in your community, you are going to be helping the bee population.

Cut Back

Try to always limit the use of harmful pesticides that are not good for bees as they need to be out foraging while the flowers and plants are blooming. Some of the pesticides that are available on the market today can end up drifting onto some of the blooming plants or even weeds that bees visit and it can poison them. Cutting back as much as possible will help to prevent harm as much as possible.

Start Your Own Hives

The other thing that you can look forward to is learning more about starting up your own bee colony and taking part in the movement. The more that you learn how to save the bees, the easier it will be for you to not only start a hive but also grow your population. The honey that you are able to produce can be used by your family and friends or you may even produce enough that you can start to sell in your local farmer’s market.

Regardless of what you get started in on, you will always find that there are plenty of different ways that you can help with the bee population and do your part to make sure that this is a movement that keeps moving forward. Remain proactive, take the time to get involved and look for other people in your local area who are just as passionate about bees and beekeeping as you are. The bees play such a vital role in our everyday lives that you are going to find that there are tremendous advantages from working hard and remaining active in bee saving efforts.

Why are the Bees Dying? The Truth on the Buzz Killer

Bees seem to be having a harder time than usual recently. Since the early 2000s, beekeepers and environmental agencies have observed their numbers dying off at an alarming rate. In the US alone the loss of domesticated honeybees topped $2 Million.

Why are the Bees Dying?

This unprecedented phenomena was quick to be thrown at the blame of everyone and their neighbor and not even irregular weather patterns were beyond the scope of guilt. Nevertheless, it has only been in the past few years that the scientific community has produced sound conjectures as to what has caused this death among bees.

The compelling evidence points to the use of certain pesticides in large scale agricultural regions that have had the greatest effect on the honeybee. Pesticides containing neonicotinoids are especially lethal to the bee. furthermore the holes left in certain ecosystems by pesticides have invited invasive parasites to encroach on the bee’s land.

In the light of the aspect that bees are solely responsible for the world’s food supply, this is a serious concern. As a matter of fact, the situation is so serious that the President Himself has issued a contingency plan for improving the health of bees on a national scale.

On the other hand, investigations conducted by the agricultural community have also found that a much more evil evil may be at work behind this little death among the honey makers. Climate change, according to an article in the Journal of Science 1970 edition –this is well before the presence of neonicotinoids was ever uncovered– the honey bee has been losing significant chunks of territory (as much as 200 miles) from the southern tips of the US and Europe.

This has reportedly continued at an average of 5 miles per year since then. As the temperatures continue to rise in comparison to weather patterns and climates a hundred years ago, scientists at the University report an increase in the amount of animal and plant life that is relocating further north to enjoy temperate climates.

Bees are not joining in on the fun, as a matter of fact they are not spreading north but becoming more compacted in the regions that are still inhabitable to them. This means that less land is available for them to inhabit and therefore many will die.

In a recent press release, the lead researcher in the investigation into why are the bees dying, Jeremy Kerr, pointed out that although the use of pesticides is certainly a factor in this high rate of bee mortality, it did not explain why the bees would be losing their habitat on such a wide scale nation wide. The temperature changes do explain a lot however.

If these conditions continue the result could be very bad for everyone, I reiterate the essential function that bees have in the production of food sources for just about every ecosystem the natural world and the human race depend upon.

The reasons the bees are not advancing northward, is not answered as easily. Perhaps it is an essential part of their evolution that their populations in a particular region reach critical mass before the evolution can be made that advances a portion of the population into colder regions.