The disaster of Colony Collapse Disorder continues to concern scientists, honey consumers, and especially, farmers.
It’s the very draconian name given to the die-off of millions of honeybees in the US.
Some mysterious cause has seen entire bee colonies disappear beginning in 2006, with the consequences for agriculture enormous: the production of honey is a distant second to the primary role bees play: pollinating over 100 varieties of crops, fruit trees and nuts. Up to 1/3 of U.S. bees have died already with entire regions losing huge amounts of their bees. At first scientists thought imported Australian bees, themselves under pressure from Asian varieties, may have introduced a so-far unknown virus or parasite.
One theory has focused on a co-infection of the invertebrate iridescent virus type 6 (IIV-6) and nosema ceranae, a parasitic fungus normally found in Asiatic bees (like the Australian variety). Both scourges have been found so far in all CCD colonies tested. Scientists caution that other factors like temperature, drought and pesticides may be involved.
Recently some concern has arisen that the bees may be losing their bearings after being exposed to genetically-modified crops that produce their own pesticides “naturally.” The theory is the bees are harmed by exposure to these unnatural chemicals, lose their ability to find food sources and perish.
It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.