Beekeepers Utilize Internet to Fight Mystery 'Disorder'
As many Treehuggers will know, the humble honey bee is a vital ally for us humans. Not only does it provide us with honey, but it also plays a huge role in pollinating many of the plants we rely on for food. In fact, a cucumber blossom needs upwards of 11 visits from honey bees to ensure adequate pollination. This is perhaps why there has been so much attention in the media lately to a mystery phenomenon (that we already reported on here) that is wiping out hives across North America. Reports of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), as the syndrome has become known, have sky-rocketed in the last year, catching the attention of the Discovery Channel and the Washington Post, among others. Some of the beekeepers we have spoken to suggest that media coverage may be a little exaggerated, but there is no doubt that they are still worried. The causes of CCD are not yet clear, but environmental stresses, pests, pathogens and excessive pesticide use have all been cited as possible suspects.
Luckily, the internet is proving a very valuable resource for beekeepers wishing to find out more about CCD, and for researchers to gather information on possible incidents of CCD. Beekeeping groups around the country have compiled lists of information, links and guidance, and a Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group has been set up to speed up research into this worrying phenomenon. Individual beekeepers can help out by completing an online survey. Let’s hope such collaborative efforts are successful in getting to the bottom of this problem. In the meantime, it seems as good a time as any to remind you to support your local beekeepers.