Studying Bees and Disease is No Breeze!

Why are bees in crisis and why is it such a big deal? There are a myriad of diseases that affect bees.  Colony Collapse Disorder is one of the most bizarre diseases that is baffling everyone. Animals, especially bees, do not abandon their children. Humans may do it but the bees do not. This is one of the critical issues with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Dr. Nancy Ostiguy is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Penn State and has been conducting research on honey bee health for the past 10 years. Her work on honey bees includes non-pesticidal approaches to control pests of the honey bee, interactions between the varroa mite and honey bee viruses, epidemiology of honey bee viruses and other diseases, and abiotic influences on honey bee survival.

Here is a picture of Dr. Ostiguy and her team:

Dr. Ostiguy's crew at the Hilltop apiary

Dr. Ostiguy's crew at the Hilltop apiary

Colony Collapse Disorder

Beginning in October 2006, some beekeepers began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. While colony losses are not unexpected during winter weather, the magnitude of loss suffered by some beekeepers was highly unusual.

This phenomenon, which currently does not have a recognizable underlying cause, has been termed “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD). The main symptom of CCD is simply no or a low number of adult honey bees present but with a live queen and no dead honey bees in the hive. Often there is still honey in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are present.

ARS scientists and others are in the process of carrying out research to discover the cause(s) of CCD and develop ways for beekeepers to respond to the problem.*

So, why is this such a big deal?

CCD ( Colony Collapse Disorder is a huge crisis because most of our agricultural crops are pollinated by bees. It boils down to this: no bees= no food=life as we know it will cease! These crops include almonds, other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables. Now you know how the cliché, busy as a bee came about!

Many scientists are monitoring bees to determine potential causes. CCD is just one of many diseases that Dr. Ostiguy and her team study. Tune in to listen to Dr. Ostiguy discuss her work with bees and also how you can help.

Dr Nancy Ostiguy, Associate Professor of Entomology, Penn State

Dr Nancy Ostiguy, Associate Professor of Entomology, Penn State



25 thoughts on “Studying Bees and Disease is No Breeze!

  1. I love honey bees!! I hope that that CCD gets resolved quick! It is interesting how nature presents us with opportunities where we can help!! Great info and my kids enjoyed reading it also!! Thanks for sharing your work!

  2. You do such amazing work, give yourself a big pat on your shoulder – and it bees wouldn’t sting, they would come to cuddle you and cover you with “thank yous” – the earth needs more people like you who deeply care about what is truly essential.

  3. Thanks for the POST … I have known for quite a while that Bees are so integral to the survival of all of us. We all need to make as many people as possible to be aware of this problem so that oneday a solution can be found RICH :0)

  4. I did watched a video about bees & they was saying if no bees means it will be the end of the world after only five years , i was terrified about that , because already so many species no one knows how they disappeared , specially while they are spraying trees with this poisonous liquids !
    Great article as usual , thank Jane 🙂

  5. Great show! Very well written. I have subscribed to your rss feed which really should do the trick! Have a nice day!

  6. Colony collapse disorder really is a serious problem for both the bees and for us humans, so thanks for highlighting this. Of course one great way that we can help is to start beekeeping ourselves – more and more people are taking up this hobby (especially in cities, as you really need very little space). Not only is it great for the bees, it is incredibly rewarding – and just a little addictive!

    • Thanks for great feedback and yes, more people should tend bees! I hope you enjoyed the show! On Friday, Dr. Marla Spivak is going to be our guest! Please email any questions you may have for her at questions@theorganicview .com

  7. Thank you for speaking up for the bees. CCD is so perplexing and saddening. But at the same time, I love that the bees show us how interconnected we are. Most people don’t immediately see the importance of a healthy number of bees. But explain the no bees = no life factor and suddenly our dependence on one another becomes clear.

    Like many commentors, I’m excited to keep bees. They are so dear to my heart! Once I’m done traveling and get a stable address again, it’s gunna be me and a whole buncha bees!


    PS- Does anybody watch Dr. Who? There’s a long running storyline about the disappearance of the bees. The reveal is very cute 🙂

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