It’s impossible to around gardeners or farmers and not have heard of ‘Bee Colony Collapse Disorder’. Bee Colony Collapse Disorder occurs when the worker bees leave the hive and vanish leaving the queen and larvae to starve. Only half as many managed bee colonies exist now in the US as did 25 years ago so this is especially troubling. It has been heavily reported in the US and is beginning to show up in Europe. Several diseases, mites, fungi, pesticides and contaminants are now being investigated.
The best and most likely explanation is the Varroa destructor. This mite comes from Asia but the Asian bees have adapted to the mite by grooming the mite off of each other. Here in the US the mites often cause deformed wings and colonies can collapse in as little as two weeks after infection.
The mite itself is not believed to cause the bee deaths but rather to weaken the bees immune systems enough that other viruses and bacterias take hold and infect the bees. Adding evidence to that possiblity GOX ( glucose oxidase ) is found in reduced levels in the honey produced by infected bees. GOX is put into the honey to sterilize the honey.
A German study has linked cell phone radiation to CCD but there is little evidence yet to back this up.
This is not the first time Colony Collapse Disorder has been seen, it was documented as early as 1896 and also has been called ‘disappearing disease’, ‘spring dwindle’, ‘May disease’, ‘autumn collapse’, and ‘fall dwindle disease’. The 2004-05 colony collapse was attributed to the Varroa virus, often in past collapses the cause has not been identified.
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