Colony Collapse Disorder Threatens Honey Bees

“ If honey bees become extinct, human society will follow in four years.”  -- Albert Einstein Much of our food depends on the pollination of the bees.  “One out of three bites of food comes from the pollination of a honey bee,” so low numbers of bees mean fewer fruits and vegetables.

In recent years, beekeepers have been losing 25 percent of their hives each winter. Thirty years ago, the rate was 5 percent to 10 percent The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as: mites and insect diseases Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides, and migratory beekeeping.   “It could be a combination of all those factors weakening the bees’ immune system,” said David Burns, an Eastern Apicultural Society of North America certified Master Beekeeper.

It is being called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and is causing agricultural honeybees nationwide to abandon their hives, and disappear. This is raising worries about crops that need bees for pollination.

If the Disorder continues, it is estimated that honey bees would disappear by 2025.   In a recent Chicago Tonight piece viewers were told that they can help the bees by growing plants the bees depend on, particularly herbs like oregano and thyme; .