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Recent Honey Bee Colony Declines

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In 2006, commercial migratory beekeepers along the East Coast of the United States began reporting sharp declines in their honey bee colonies. Because of the severity and unusual circumstances of these colony declines, scientists have named this phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder CCD. Current reports indicate that beekeepers in 35 states have been affected. Recent surveys indicate that about one-half of surveyed beekeepers have experienced abnormal or severe colony losses. Honey bees are the most economically valuable pollinators of agricultural crops worldwide. Many scientists at universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA frequently assert that bee pollination is involved in about one-third of the U.S. diet, and contributes to the production of a wide range of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, forage crops, some field crops, and other specialty crops. The monetary value of honey bees as commercial pollinators in the United States is estimated at about 15 billion annually. Honey bee colony losses are not uncommon. However, current losses seem to differ from past situations in that colony losses are occurring mostly because bees are failing to return to the hive which is largely uncharacteristic of bee behavior bee colony losses have been rapid colony losses are occurring in large numbers and the reasons for these losses remains largely unknown. To date, the potential causes of CCD, as reported by the scientists who are researching this phenomenon, include but may not be limited to the following parasites, mites, and disease loads in the bees and brood emergence of new or newly more virulent pathogens poor nutrition among adult bees lack of genetic diversity and lineage of bees level of stress in adult bees e.g., transportation and confinement of bees, or other environmental or biological stressors chemical residuecontamination in the wax, food stores, andor bees and a combination of these andor other factors.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Biology
  • Environmental Health and Safety

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