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Colony Collapse Disorder Results in loss of 42% of honeybees

2015-05-17

A new report states that there has been a loss of 42.1% of honeybees this last year, worse than last year, and the second worst since die-off records have been kept, in 2010.  Colony collapse disorder has claimed the lives of more and more honeybees every year, troubling agriculturalists and honeybee keepers.  For the first time, summer losses exceeded winter losses.

Normally, honeybee keepers expect to lose ten percent of their bees every year.  About ten years ago, losses began to increase, for unknown reasons.  Mass deaths have been less in the last few years, but remain very high.

A variety of possible causes have been suggested: the varroa mite, which affects small backyard bee keepers more than commercial growers; neonicotinoid insecticides, which are deadly to bees; and the loss of millions of acres of wildflowers due to intensive farming practices.

The honeybee is in no danger of extinction, but these large losses are causing difficulty in pollinating a large number of commercial crops, which depend on honeybees.

Most importantly, the lack of a clear cause for these massive die-offs of entire colonies is worrying to entomologists and farmers alike.

For more information, check out http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/us/honeybees-mysterious-die-off-appears-to-worsen.html and http://qz.com/107970/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/ which blames the die-off on a combination of multiple insecticides and fungicides.

The latter article mentions that it takes 60% of the honeybee population to pollinate just one crop, almonds; and California grows 80% of the world’s almonds.

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