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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 15 2012: Colony collapse disorder should be at the top of our list for research in today's society. We need to research the cause of what is happening to these worker honey bees and determine what the cause to their disappearance is. In A New Threat to Honey Bees, the Parasitic Phorid Fly Apocephalus borealis, Andrew Core and colleagues discovered the parasitic fly which kills or disorientates the honey bee. They say that there are no fly colonies around the hive itself, so the fly most likely comes in contact with the worker honey bee when it is away from the hive. I think that if we could spend more time researching this topic then we could possibly find ways to kill this parasitic fly saving our pollinators. If it turns out that they are not the actual cause of the Colony Collapse disorder due to there being no carcasses being found then we could spend time researching other possible effects like climate change in a laboratory. In the big picture it would be cheaper to spend the time doing research on the cause of the disappearance of the honey bee than the amount of money that we would have to spend pollinating our own crops.

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