Colony Collapse Disorder is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen. Once thought to pose a major long term threat to bees, reported cases of CCD have declined substantially over the last five years.
Discovering a Problem
During the winter of 2006-2007, some beekeepers began to report unusually high losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. As many as 50 percent of all affected colonies demonstrated symptoms inconsistent with any known causes of honey bee death: Sudden loss of a colony’s worker bee population with very few dead bees found near the colony. The queen and brood (young) remained, and the colonies had relatively abundant honey and pollen reserves.
Causes and Solutions:
Increased losses due to the invasive varroa mite (a pest of honey bees).
New or emerging diseases such as Israeli Acute Paralysis virus and the gut parasite Nosema.
Pesticide poisoning through exposure to pesticides applied to crops or for in-hive insect or mite control.
Stress bees experience due to management practices such as transportation to multiple locations across the country for providing pollination services.
Changes to the habitat where bees forage.
Inadequate forage/poor nutrition.
Potential immune-suppressing stress on bees caused by one or a combination of factors identified above.
Ways to Save the Bees:
Plant a Bee Garden - “One of the largest threats to bees is a lack of safe habitat where they can build homes and find a variety of nutritious food sources. By planting a bee garden, you can create a habitat corridor with plants that are rich in pollen and nectar”.
Go Chemical-Free for Bees - “Synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, wreaking havoc on their sensitive systems. Avoid treating your garden and green spaces with synthetics”.
Provide Trees for Bees - “Did you know that bees get most of their nectar from trees? When a tree blooms, it provides hundreds — if not thousands — of blossoms to feed from. Trees are not only a great food source for bees, but also an essential habitat”.
Create a Bee Bath - “Bees work up quite a thirst foraging and collecting nectar. Fill a shallow bird bath or bowl with clean water, and arrange pebbles and stones inside so that they break the water’s surface. Bees will land on the stones and pebbles to take a long, refreshing drink”.
Build Homes for Native Bees - “Did you know that, with the exception of honeybees, most bees are solitary creatures? 70% of solitary bees live underground, while 30% live in holes inside of trees or hollow stems. Species like bumble bees build their nests in undisturbed land, and you can provide safe haven for them by leaving an untouched plot of land for them in your garden!”.
Give Beehives and Native Bee Homes - “Keep honeybees, nurture native bees, or help gardens and schools around the U.S. and Canada grow food and strengthen local environments”.
Host a Fundraiser - “Host a fundraiser online or do something you love to help #BeeTheSolution. Your #BeeTheSolution fundraising events create community building and information sharing opportunities that inspire while raising funds for The Bee Conservancy programs”.
Support Local Beekeepers and Organizations - “Local beekeepers work hard to nurture their bees and the local community. The easiest way to show your appreciation is to buy locally-made honey and beeswax products. Many beekeepers use products from their hives to create soaps, lotions, and beeswax candles”.
Source: https://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/colony-collapse-disorder#:~:text=Colony%20Collapse%20Disorder%20is%20the,immature%20bees%20and%20the%20queen | https://www.masterclass.com/articles/black-garlic | https://www.b-garlic.com/