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The Buzz about Colony Collapse Disorder

“As extinction spreads, some of the lost forms prove to be keystone species, whose disappearance brings down other species and triggers a ripple effect through the demographics of the survivors. The loss of a keystone species is like a drill accidentally striking a power line. It causes lights to go out all over.” – Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life

Currently, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is devastating bees and keepers all over the globe. Although research is being conducted, the exact cause of CCD is unknown. Possible contributing factors include:

  • Use of pesticides and insecticides, which can especially affect migratory bees that are exposed to a variety of pesticides as their beekeepers bring them around the country to pollinate different crops. The pesticides being scrutinized most severely are the types applied to the soil and taken up into the plants’ tissues, including pollen and nectar. The effects of these particular pesticides are consistent with the symptoms of CCD: immune system failure and disorientation. One of the suspect pesticides, Imidacloprid, has already been banned in France due to its effect on honeybees.   
  • Climate change, which wreaks havoc on sensitive weather cycles and affects growing cycles of flowers
  • Malnutrition due to extreme weather circumstances, which may be attributed to climate change
  • Immunodeficiencies caused by mites, bacterial, fungal, or viral pathogens
  • Varroa Destructor Mite, which was most likely brought into the U.S. by smuggled bees
  • Genetically Modified Crops which may weaken adult bee’s immune defenses
  • Ozone and pollution which reduce flowers’ aroma
  • Lack of genetic biodiversity due to beekeepers obtaining their queens from breeders