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Molly O'Connor

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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?

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  • Mar 14 2012: I think for the neophytes out there that we are talking about Honey Bee Health in general. CCD is just a temporary name that stuck and 7 years later we know that there are many factors that are causing Honey Bee Health challenges. The most important is the Varroa destructor mite that is a parasite on many life stages of Honey Bees. Make a fist. Put that fist someplace on your body. That is about how large the Varrroa mite is proportionally on a Honey Bee. Not only does it casue damage directly from feeding on the haemolymph (blood) of the Honey Bee but it casues immunosupression and vectors viruses. Add in the chemicals that beekeepers use directly to control Varroa, environmental toxins that bees are exposed to as they forage from your backyard to the golf course to the lawn that Chemlawn just treated, artifical diets, incomplete natural diets and the stress of prodcution beekeepeing and honey bees just are not healthy. In my mind it is not CCD it is Honey Bee Health and how can we make it better. Where would I rank Honey Bee Health? There are 7 Billion people on earth heading towards 9 who should be eating everyday to stave off famine, wars for resources, plagues and disease. Honey Bees are the keystone, foundational pollinator of agriculture and many parts of the enviroment. You make the decision.
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      Mar 15 2012: I really like what you say, but you are just arguing that what is happening should should change. Why not suggest a way to change it?
      • Mar 15 2012: You are corect Clinton. Until one know the real poroblem and associated casues and collateral damage the picture is incomplete. We are not going to change all of the negative inputs into a colony of Honey Bees but if we understand what we can do and make that better then we can then focus on the next challenge. In this century there may seem to be clear cut answers but there are not. Life is a process of negotiation and compromise.
        Charles Darwin said something that I have always remembered, To paraphrase, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives;nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change".

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