TED Conversations

Molly O'Connor

This conversation is closed.

Where would you place Colony Collapse Disorder in relation to the many other problems facing our society?

Honeybees are responsible for pollinating one out of every three bites of food we consume. They pollinate more than 90% of the fruits and vegetables we eat, resulting in a net input of 36 billion dollars annually to the global economy. In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon occurred within honeybee populations in the United States. Without any warning, millions of honeybees disappeared from their hives. No bee carcasses were found, and it was observed that only worker bees were disappearing. Worker bees are responsible for collecting pollen, nectar, raising brood, and other essential hive functions. This loss of worker honeybees resulted in unstable honeybee hives, and led to the most serious die-off of honeybee colonies across the country recorded to date. Scientists have dubbed this occurrence Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is still occurring to this day. It is likely that multiple stresses are causing the collapse of honeybee colonies globally. It is widely believed that honeybees are the “canary in the coal mine” for our environment, and that the disappearance of the honeybee is a sign that our global ecosystem is in peril.

Where would you place Colony Collapse Disorder in relation to the many other problems facing our society? What tools, approaches, and collaborations are required to “get the ball rolling” and lay the groundwork for solving this issue?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 14 2012: The fact that 90% of our fruits and vegetables are a result of the pollination done by honeybees, I believe, is a great reason for us to be worried about our future without them. What baffles me is their mysterious disappearance! If there are no carcasses then where did they go?
    As for their importance on our list of environmental issues facing our society, I believe that honeybees are tied into each in every issue. Be it the loss of genetic diversity among many species, climate change, water pollution, or even pesticide use. Since the reason for C.C.D. remains unknown, I think it's completely valid for us to consider it a high priority issue. To take something as C.C.D. lightly seems quite naive, as it is a phenomenon that is unexplained. The cost of replacing honeybee pollination practices with manual labor of pollinating our fruits and vegetable seems unimaginable to me. The best way to tackle this issue on the rise would be to research each and every thing that could be causing C.C.D. If that means we must take educated guesses then that may be the price we have to pay. The survival of the honey bees seems critical to not only many plant species but us, humans, as well.
    • Mar 15 2012: Potential reasons that there are no carcasses - predators are consuming them, or perhaps CCD is caused more so by reproductive barriers than the mass death of worker bees? I have to do some more research on the subject, but is it possible at all that the reduction in the worker bee population can be attributed to the queen bee not producing as many eggs?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.