Bee Colony Collapse Disorder – There Are Many Possible Causes
Article by Roger Langford
Beekeepers have always suffered losses of their honey bees but in the past those losses were slow and the beekeeper was always able to find the cause, usually a bacteria, mite or some other pathogen and take appropriate action. Not so with colony collapse disorder, (sometimes called colony collapse syndrome or colony collapse disease). With colony collapse disorder more bees are dying faster with no obvious reason and because only the queen and a few workers are left alive the colony dies.
The vanishing bees is still a mystery. As yet there has been no firm evidence to point to any one cause for their demise. This has led to the hypothesis that there is more than one cause to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Possible causes are:
genetically modified crops (GMO),pesticides,cell (mobile) phones,air pollution,stress,food.
Genetically modified cropsAn experiment carried out by a beekeeper, John McDonald, seems to suggest that genetically modified crops could be the cause of colony collapse disorder. He placed eight bee colonies in an area where the bees would have no contact with genetically modified crops and an equal number of bee hives on farms that grew GMO’s. At the end of the season in October the results of the honey collecting of both sets of bees was examined. The results between the two sets of bee colonies were very different.
The eight non-GMO bee colonies produced 150 pounds of honey, per hive, in the over-wintering brood supers. Plus, between them, the eight colonies produced 200 pounds of extra honey. The farm honey bees, on the other hand, had produced no extra honey and had not even filled the over-wintering brood supers. These farm bees will require feeding in order to survive the winter.
PesticidesThe pesticide believed to be the main culprit in causing colony collapse disorder is nicotine-based Clothianidin, an insecticide in the neonicotinoid family. In Germany researchers found that 99 percent of dead bees had high levels of Clothianidin in their bodies. As a result the seven pesticides in the neonicotinoid family have been provisionally banned.
In the US imidacloprid seems to be the pesticide causing the most colony collapse disorder. For example in North Dakota one third of colonies died after imidacloprid was used on rapeseed.
Cell phonesIs the electromagnetic radiation given off by cell phones interfering with the bee’s navigation system thus preventing the honey bees from find their way back to the hive. Some research carried out by Dr Jochen Kuhn shows that bees do not like going back to their hives when a cell phone is placed near the hive. If bees are trying to avoid cell phone radiation then this could explain why they are getting lost and unable to find their way home.
Air pollutionAccording to researchers from the University of Virginia air pollution is making it harder for the honey bees to find food. Bees rely on the scent from flowers in order to find the flowers and feed on the nectar. Car exhaust is the worst as nitrates in the exhaust combine with the flowers scent molecules making the molecules loose their sweet scent and no longer attractive to bees. Thus fewer flowers are pollinated thus fewer plants can reproduce. So there is even less food available for bees.
StressIn the United States it is common practice for bee hives to be transported around the country to provide pollination services for farmers, it is called migratory beekeeping. Hundreds of hives are stacked onto trucks and taken to where the next crop is about to flower. They may be travelling for days, locked in their hives, not able to forage for food and with little of no water or able to maintain the correct temperature of the hive. This situation is very stressful for the honey bees.
FoodBees normally use natural material like pollen, sap, nectar, or other botanical materials, for conversion into honey. When beekeepers remove this honey, which the bees would normally eat over winter, and replace it with High Fructose Corn Syrup a natural raw food is being replaced with a highly processed dead food. HFCS is lacking in the many minerals and vitamins found in honey so the bees are forced to eat inferior food which results in their poor health and weakened immune systems.
So what is the cause of bee colony collapse disorder. Probably a combination of all of the above though GMOs, and the neonicotinoid pesticides, seem to be the main factors which has caused the dramatic increase in bees disappearing.
About the Author
Copyright 2009 Roger Langford.Achieve Optimum Health Using Natural Treatments.http://www.achievehealth.org