Photo: Danny Jensen
Blogging About Bee Colony Collapse Disorder
Danny Jensen, a blogger at Takepart, blogged about what seems to be a bee colony collapse that happened right in his backyard. He has posted many photos and a video showing dead bees everywhere. Read on for more details on colony collapse disorder.
Photo: Danny Jensen
Danny wrote: "My neighbors, with whom I share a backyard, stopped by to show me that hundreds of bees were in the grass, stumbling drunkenly, and barely moving. They were once living in a hive nested in our tree but now they are dropping from the hive onto the ground. Many of them now seem to be dead and the ones that are moving are very disoriented. Others start flying again and then just drop back into the grass."
Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term Colony Collapse Disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.
European beekeepers observed similar phenomena in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree. Possible cases of CCD have also been reported in Taiwan since April 2007.
The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases (i.e., pathogens including Nosema apis and Israel acute paralysis virus). Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides (e.g. neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid), and migratory beekeeping. More speculative possibilities have included both cell phone radiation and genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics, though experts point out no evidence exists for either assertion. It has also been suggested that it may be due to a combination of many factors and that no single factor is the cause.
We've written about this previously on TreeHugger:
Saving the Bees
UK Beekeepers Demonstrate to Demand Government Action on Colony Collapse Disorder
Photo Essay: Bees and Beekeepers In Crisis
Honey Bee Mystery Solved?
Colony Collapse Disorder Arrives in the UK
Who is Killing Nature's Precious Bees?
Thanks to Wendy for the tip!