Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) refers to the recent general die-off of honey bees worldwide. The causes of CCD may surprise you.
Unlike the rabble rousers who point to specific chemicals (neonicotinoids), corporations (Monsanto) or technologies (cell phone towers), researchers have discovered that CCD is the result of many factors.
According to Dr. May Berenbaum, scientific spokesperson on Colony Collapse Disorder, head of the University of Illinois Entomology Department and soon to be president of the Entomological Society of America explains that there are several factors leading to colony collapse:
• honey bees are not native to North America. They were brought here from Europe a few centuries ago
• as the practice of beekeeping expanded, common bee pests, specifically foulbrood and the Varroa mite, led to the use of antibiotics, fungicides and miticides
• honey bees naturally lack many of the immunity and detoxification genes that the rest of use have
Honey bees do have the advantage of eating foods that boost the power of the protective genes they do have. Pollen increases the production of proteins that defend against pathogens and metabolizes toxic compounds.
Harvard graduate Matan Shalom tells us "...CCD happens because bees have a naturally poor immunity to disease and to chemicals, both of which they are exposed to at higher rates and often together, and that immunity is made worse due to poor diet and stressful conditions. There is no one cause, nor is there one solution.”
So what can you do to help honey bees? Plant flowers that honeybees like, buy locally produced honey, start beekeeping in your own yard, and stay informed.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!