By Ryan Pierce
A popular issue on the tips of the tongues of the people of the 21st century is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is a repeated scenario in which worker bees have been disappearing and/or dying for many unknown causes. It is directly threatening to the health of bees all over the world.
It is believed, that new pathogens and pests are adding stress to the bee population, and could be a primary cause of CCD. Despite popular belief, no evidence shows that cell phones and other phone lines are related to the harm of bees. There is strong suggestion that pesticides are harmful to bees, but there is not enough evidence to show that it is linked to the cause of CCD.
There are many mites and viruses that have adapted to specifically harm bees. The Tobacco Ringspot Virus is a good example of this phenomenon. The Tobacco Ringspot Virus is a rapidly evolving virus that adapted from plants, to infecting honey bees. We are currently unable to fully eliminate the mites that affect bees.
When it comes down to CCD, it is believed there are two categories that are to blame, Management stressors and Environmental stressors.
Management stressors: Stress increased on bees from long migration across the country by truck, and poor nutrition at fault of beekeepers.
Environmental stressors: Scarcity of pollen and/or nectar, limited water sources, lack of diversity, low nutrition values in nature.
There are many negative long term effects that will hurt both nature and mankind if CCD fails to be controlled. This may lead to an agricultural crisis in the future.
Bee pollination is a 15 billion dollar industry, which accounts for a majority of grown crops around the world. Nuts, fruits, and vegetables, are completely reliant on bee pollination, and without them other pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies would be unable to keep up. Even if a bee’s life span is decreased by a few days, the entire bee colony will crumble.
There are many ways to help protect the bee pollination. this includes planting lavender, joe-pye weed, bee balm, red clover, and foxglove. All of these plants are pollinator friendly.
Overall, many professionals believe that CCD is a perfect storm of different environmental stress, on top of what mankind has put on them. Mankind’s pesticides and natures parasites, both have a part to play in the worldwide dilemma of CCD. The bee’s social system is a fragile one, and we must be careful lest we compromise it.