Colony Collapse Disorder: A Descriptive Study
Over the last two winters, there have been large-scale, unexplained losses of managed honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies in the United States. In the absence of a known cause, this syndrome was named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) because the main trait was a rapid loss of adult worker bees. We initiated a descriptive epizootiological study in order to better characterize CCD and compare risk factor exposure between populations afflicted by and not afflicted by CCD.
Of 61 quantified variables (including adult bee physiology, pathogen loads, and pesticide levels), no single measure emerged as a most-likely cause of CCD. Bees in CCD colonies had higher pathogen loads and were co-infected with a greater number of pathogens than control populations, suggesting either an increased exposure to pathogens or a reduced resistance of bees toward pathogens. Levels of the synthetic acaricide coumaphos (used by beekeepers to control the parasitic mite Varroa destructor) were higher in control colonies than CCD-affected colonies.
This is the first comprehensive survey of CCD-affected bee populations that suggests CCD involves an interaction between pathogens and other stress factors. We present evidence that this condition is contagious or the result of exposure to a common risk factor. Potentially important areas for future hypothesis-driven research, including the possible legacy effect of mite parasitism and the role of honey bee resistance to pesticides, are highlighted.
Click here to read the full open-access article published August 3, 2009.
Last Updated (Friday, 26 August 2016 15:24)
Save The Hives
SaveTheHives is an organization of beekeepers, citizen scientists and researchers that is trying to establish a national database of honey bee information. They want to encourage the use of web-based technology to collect, map and share information about honey bees to further the research of Colony Collapse Disorder and other problems facing the health of the honey bee population.
The site hopes to encourage beekeepers and concerned citizens to help find and enter the locations of feral honey bee hives throughout the United States.
If you know the location of a hive of honey bees, you are ready to help! Whether it's in a tree, building or house or in the ground, if they are honey bees, report their location.
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