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:
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.