Monday, June 30, 2008

Honey Bees are dying

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the name given to the recent and seemingly most serious mortality of honey bee colonies across US. It is characterized by, sudden death of adult bees with an absence of dead bees in front of colony entrances. Honey and stored pollen are usually present and often signs of recent brood rearing. Occasionally, the queen and a small number of surviving adult workers are present in the brood nest area. It is also characterized by delayed robbing and a slower than usual invasion by common pests such as wax moths and small hive beetles.

The exact cause or causes of CCD have not yet been determined. The results of two large surveys have identified more likely causal factors and eliminated some unlikely factors.Honey bee colony numbers in the U.S.A. have been in decline for decades. From 1947 to 2005 number of managed bee colonies has decreased by over 40%, from 5.9 million to 2.4 million. Beekeepers with CCD are reporting losses of 30% to 90%. Losses due to CCD are compounding an already serious shortage of bees for pollination while the demand for pollination services continues to increase for fruit, nut and, vegetable crops, especially almonds. Colony shortages were so critical that in 2005 honey bees were imported from outside the U.S. for the first time in 83 years since the passage of the Honeybee Act of 1922.

Basically, honey bees are dying and everyone from Universities to Häagen Dazs are trying to figure out why and fix it.

The reason I bring this up is because of some bizarre thing I noticed a while ago, which may or may not be related. Two massive trucks going South on US HWY 69 carrying, you guessed it, bees.

It may be hard to see, but these trucks were carrying bees, I could see them, but I was taking these pictures with my cell phone.

A slightly zoomed in picture