Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Possible Answer for Colony Collapse Disorder!

A couple of 'girls' from the hive I caught over the summer, congregate at the entrance to their hive.  All worker bees are female, as is the queen.  Each hive has only a few males, drones, whose only job is to mate with the queen - definitely part time employment as she mates only several times at the beginning of her reign and that holds her for the rest of her life.  

Honey bee populations all over the world have been taking a huge hit over the past decade or so, but the New York Times published a report on October 6th that scientists believe they might have found the culprit - actually a team of culprits.  You can read the whole story at this link. If this is indeed the source of the problem, it would answer a huge mystery.  However, this is not the end of it, even the article states: "Scientists in the project emphasize that their conclusions are not the final word. The pattern, they say, seems clear, but more research is needed to determine, for example, how further outbreaks might be prevented, and how much environmental factors like heat, cold or drought might play a role."  Many observers of bees, myself included, still wonder if pesticides and other human interventions might be playing a roll as well.  

Even though answers still seem somewhat distant, very little bit of progress gives hope.  Up to 33% of all the food we eat is created by the activity of the honey bee.  Losing the bees would be a devastating blow to the world's food supply.


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