A True Worldwide Disaster in the Making?
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
The 2010 CCD Progress Report is available online at:
1/3 of All Honeybees Died Last Winter, and That's Not The Worst News
Disorder is still alive and well ... even if U.S. bees are not, according
depressing survey of honeybees. April 30, 2010
California: David Bradshaw has endured countless stings during his life as a beekeeper, but he got the shock of his career when he opened his boxes last month and found half of his 100 million bees missing.
In the United States, about 30% of all food we consume requires pollination by honey bees. But now honey bee colonies are mysteriously emptying out without a trace. Fortunately, wheat and corn are pollinated by the wind - or we might be in really serious trouble. Here is a chart of bee pollination percentages for some selected crops:
Europe: The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast. CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.
Europe: Five million honey bee colonies died in northern Croatia last month. All within 48 hours. According to the (UK) Telegraph, Spain has lost hundreds of thousands of bee colonies and losses have been reported in Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Italy. Last fall Poland lost 40 per cent of its bees.
Continental US: U.S. beekeepers in the past few months have lost one-quarter of their colonies — or about five times the normal winter losses — because of what scientists have dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. The problem started in November and seems to have spread to 27 states, with similar collapses reported in Brazil, Canada and parts of Europe.
Taipei, Taiwan: Over the past two months, farmers in three parts of Taiwan have reported most of their bees gone, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported. Taiwan's TVBS television station said about 10 million bees had vanished in Taiwan.
Honolulu, Hawaii: A tiny mite that has devastated mainland honeybee populations showed up in Honolulu hives for the first time this month and has now been confirmed in bee colonies across Oahu.
Continental US In some cases, beekeepers are losing 50 percent of their bees to the disorder, with some suffering even higher losses. One beekeeper alone lost 40,000,000 bees, Pettis said. Nationally, some 27 states have reported the disorder, with billions of bees simply gone.
Continental US A Cornell University study has estimated that honeybees annually pollinate more than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States. These include such diverse food sources as almond blossoms, pumpkins, cucumbers, raspberries, avocados, and alfalfa. Unless something is done to protect the honeybee population soon, many fruits and vegetables may disappear from the food chain.
California: Louise Rossberg's yard is littered with dead and empty hives. The bees in more than 700 of her 800 hives have perished. Beekeepers in 35 states have been hit by the die-off.
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