Colony collapse disorder is claiming many of North America and Europe's bees. But there are simple things you can do to help keep them buzzing.
You've probably heard about colony collapse disorder (CCD) or vanishing bee syndrome, the mysterious and rather dramatic die-off of domesticated honeybees in Europe and North America. Scientists aren't really sure what's going on yet. All that's known for sure is our bee colonies are suddenly disappearing. Affected bees simply leave the hive and don't come back, making diagnosis of the problem even more difficult.
In some areas, losses of honeybees are reported to be as high as 75 percent. The situation means a lot more than high honey prices: bees are primary pollinators in both the human and animal food chains. The collapse of bee populations is bad news if researchers can't get a handle on the issue, and bee colonies don't recover.
So what could be happening here? There's some research pointing to unusually high concentrations of parasites and fungi — which are normally present in bee colonies — but nobody knows why the levels are so high. Pesticides, genetically modified crops and climate change are all being investigated. A theory that cell phone radiation might be a factor was quickly dismissed after briefly topping media reports.
Few of us are research scientists capable of chipping in some lab time to help out, but there are some things we can all do to assist honeybee and natural bee populations close to home. We've got five specific areas for you to consider. Let's get buzzin'!
Read more here