Honeybee Crisis Continues: How You Can Help Stop Colony Collapse Disorder

More than a third of U.S. food crops are dependent on pollination by honeybees for a successful harvest. Hundreds of popular natural foods largely rely on bees for reproduction, including almonds, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, and watermelons. By helping plants to produce seeds and fruit — and creating a very popular natural sweetener in the process — honeybees contribute an estimated $14 billion a year to the American economy, and are responsible for an abundance of many of the world’s healthiest foods.

Yet, for the past several years, a mysterious disorder has been seriously affecting honeybee populations, destroying both wild and domesticated hives. Despite years of study, scientists have still not reached a consensus on the cause of honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder, which causes worker bees at afflicted bee colonies to become disoriented en masse and abandon their hives, often with untended bee larvae still inside. Left to fend for themselves, the flightless bee larvae eventually starve and die.

Many causes have been proposed for Colony Collapse Disorder — invasive parasites, viruses, pesticide residues, genetically modified crops, and even electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones have all been put forth as possible culprits behind the disorder (but before you toss out that cell phone to save the bees, please note that environmental scientists have largely discounted that last theory).

Though no single cause of CCD has yet been pinpointed, the scientific community agrees on one thing: bees across the United States are under significant stress from a variety of sources, and if nothing is done to help them, our entire agricultural system could be at risk.

Over the past several years, wild honeybee populations have almost disappeared from the American landscape. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just during this past winter, over one-third of domesticated honeybees kept by beekeepers died. Honeybees are dying, not just from the mysterious CCD, but also from known causes like pesticide poisoning and parasite infestations.

And not only honeybees but also many other varieties of bees, wasps and butterflies that pollinate plants are at risk from malnutrition and starvation caused by lack of access to the variety of nutritious native wild plants they once depended on for survival. A decrease in plant biodiversity, caused by agricultural monoculture and the loss of wild habitat, is contributing significantly to the stress insect pollinators face.

What can you do to help protect bees, and the healthy, natural foods they help produce? Check out our Care2 Action page for a list of simple, inexpensive steps you can take to help honeybees in your own backyard!

Honeybee photo detail courtesy USDA.

480 comments

Sue H
Sue H14 days ago

We so need to protect our bees.

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Mike R
Mike R23 days ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R23 days ago

Thanks

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William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thanks.

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W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thank you for caring.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson6 years ago

No bees, no food.

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Elizabeth O.
.7 years ago

Petition signed and voted 'yes!'

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Sandy Crute
Sandy Crute7 years ago

Thank U, I love bees!!!

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Janine H.
Janine H7 years ago

This is a very sad story. Other animals and plants have to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy everything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." (Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

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