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What’s Causing Colony Collapse Disorder?

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What’s Causing Colony Collapse Disorder?

Photo Courtesy Of:  iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Honeybees are perhaps one of the least recognized workers in the agricultural industry. They contribute $15 billion in annual agriculture revenue to the U.S. economy alone, as a full one-third of the U.S. food supply depends on them pollinating crops.

Apple orchards, for instance, require one colony of bees per acre in order to be adequately pollinated. So, unless the mysterious disappearance of bees is reversed, major food shortages could result.

This is not a brand new issue.

For several years now, scientists have been struggling to determine why bee colonies across the world are disappearing—a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD). In a series of reports and videos, PBS talks about the bee colony devastation and its impact on the food supply and U.S. agriculture.

For a great review, please watch the PBS episode, Silence of the Bees.

What’s Causing Colony Collapse Disorder?

A few different theories are currently circulating that may explain the bee die-offs:

Pesticides and insecticides—such as Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, which kills insects by attacking their nervous systems. These are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees. According to the EPA’s fact sheet on clothianidin:

Clothianidin has the potential for toxic chronic exposure to honey bees, as well as other nontarget pollinators, through the translocation of clothianidin residues in nectar and pollen … In honey bees, the effects of this toxic chronic exposure may include lethal and/or sub-lethal effects in the larvae and reproductive effects on the queen.”

Unfortunately, the EPA approved these pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, on the basis that the amounts found in pollen and nectar are not enough to kill bees. However, the marketing of these pesticides coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European countries and the United States, resulting in lawsuits against Bayer.

Meanwhile, France banned Imidacloprid for use on corn and sunflowers after reporting large losses of bees after exposure to it. They also rejected Bayer´s application for Clothianidin, and other countries, such as Italy, have banned certain neonicotinoids as well.  Another possibility is the inadvertent transfer of built-in pesticides found in genetically engineered crops, which has now been shown to create ‘pesticide factories’ in the human gut.

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90’s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

78 comments

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5:06PM PDT on May 5, 2012

Thanks for keeping us informed, we need our bees.

9:20AM PDT on May 2, 2012

There is nothing like great honey thus why should we allow Monsanto to get into their own hives? So sorry that most people just don't realize on how harmtul it is to ruin them on flowers on our own balconies or houses.... it's very "Un-Eco" for our world's own survival.

11:27PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

Noted.

6:12AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

Speriamo riescano a fermare questa sparizione delle api.

7:37PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Thank you for sharing

9:47AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Only after a little research, anyone can see that the bees are being over-exploited, that is the reason for their decline.

Before you talk about the varroa mite, even top people at the NBU (National Bee Unit UK) agree, that when left alone, bees would become resistant to the mite and other diseases, they would probably also be stronger and more resistant against insecticides. This has been shown in other countries.

The real reason is the greedy bee keeper. After the bees work their guts out getting their food for winter, the greedy bee keeper takes it all, just before winter. The bees are then fed on supplement, sugar water, with none of the nutrients and goodies that are in the honey.

There are hardly any wild colonies of bees, they are reported by the concerned public then rounded up by a greedy bee keeper who then puts them into his concentration camp, with hundreds of other colonies usually within a couple of metres of each other. Naturally colonies would be over 100 metres from each other.

No research in this country is being done to see whether free wild colonies of bees will thrive. It is not in the interest of the greedy bee keeper for the truth to be outed, honey is big bucks, they don't care about the bees.

In the U.S. where they have already worked the bees to death, they transport them about and give them monocultures (single crops), against nature. The greedy bee keeper does this because it has become more profitable to cart bees around the country

4:36AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

SENSELESS USE OF PESTICIDES!!!

8:25AM PST on Jan 18, 2012

This is such a scary problem! And it's even worse that no one can seem to pin-point the cause :(

5:40PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Great article! Thanks

3:31PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Disturbing. What about the EMFs from high voltage power lines?

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