Disappearing Bees

Colony Collapse Disorder is a phenomenon where all of the bees in a colony suddenly disappear. Recently Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, has become a widespread problem, affecting colonies of bees throughout the United States as well as many European nations.

Not much is known about Colony Collapse Disorder nor what causes it. Experts point to everything from insecticides to viruses to changes in the weather, but as of yet there has been no identifiable cause for CCD. And unfortunately, an increasing number of bees are affected each year. Honeybees are vital to crop industry everywhere, and not just because their honey is delicious. Insects play a key role in pollinating crops, and the honeybee is the most important of all of them. For some crops like cherries and blueberries, the honeybee is responsible for ninety percent of their pollination. Almonds are completely dependent on bee pollination. Honeybee pollination is safe, quick, and effective, resulting in higher crop yield in the fields. An added bonus is the products of the bees as they collect nectar from the plants they pollinate.

As more wild honeybee colonies fall victim to Colony Collapse Disorder, it becomes more difficult for farmers to pollinate their crops “naturally.” Traveling beekeepers has become a lucrative industry. A beekeeper can load hives of bees onto a truck, travel to wherever they are needed and rent out their bees for pollination. While this has helped to supplement the loss of the wild colonies, even the bees kept by the beekeepers are not safe from Colony Collapse Disorder. Should the honeybee ever become extinct, the world of farming would be forever changed. The large-scale production of crops would be reduced, and food prices would surely go up. Until the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder is identified, the population of honeybees will continue to drop, and the malady will doubtlessly spread to other countries.

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