Photo courtesy of Kyle Anderson Photography
Bee Deviled: Scientists No Longer Bumbling Over Cause Of Colony Collapse Disorder
Posted: 09/19/2012 12:14 pm
Though worldwide bee health has been on the decline since the 1990s, it wasn't until the fall of 2006 that beekeepers nationwide began noticing millions of bees vanishing from their hives. This syndrome, named colony collapse disorder, or CCD, is characterized by the disappearance of adult honey bees from the hive, leaving the newborns to fend for themselves.
If you're not a huge fan of the bee, why should this matter to you? Well, if you like to eat food, you should be concerned. Besides gathering nectar to produce honey, bees pollinate agricultural crops, home gardens, orchards and wildlife habitat. As they travel from blossom to blossom in search of nectar, pollen sticks to their furry body and is transferred to another flowering blossom enabling it to swell into a ripened fruit. It's estimated that about one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and three-quarters of all plants on the planet depend on insects or animals for pollination.
Most scientists now agree that the main causes of colony collapse disorder are nutritional stress, pathogens (mites, viruses and fungus), and pesticides. Two recent studies published in Science strengthen the case that a relatively new class of systemic insecticides entitled 'neonicotinoid pesticides' are indeed key drivers behind recent pollinator decline.