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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: If my garden gnomes keep disappearing, I can speculate that they have been stolen. Based upon when i last saw them, I can speculate when it happened. Therefore I can get new gnomes, mount watch and confirm whether my speculations are true when I catch the thief red-handed. Anything wrong in that method? As these are worker bees, their bodies will not be lying dead in nicely organized groups for us to analyze...we won't even see them...picked off by ants and the like. We can only begin our studies based on what we think could have been the factors involved in their disappearance...pure speculation in other words...but a scientist's speculation. What Molly is doing is trying to make us aware of the problem so that we may take an interest and make sure that studies into this field are properly financed. I don't see the problem in that.
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    • Mar 15 2012: Education should be a major part of a solution to the disappearance of honey bees. If more people knew about the risks that were out there if there were no honey bee pollination than there would be more of a will to start their own hives. The education can also include a portion dedicated to educating them that honey bees do not want to sting you because they will die. I know a lot of people who are more scared and who would like to see bees go, but only because they think that their purpose is to sting or harm you. Through early education you can disprove this and more people would be will to have their own hives for honey bees. I do agree that it speculation is the main route to solving and discovering new solutions to our past, present, and future problem and this can always begin with education.
      • Mar 15 2012: I know some of the efforts to counteract colony collapse disorder include starting your own bee colony, mason bees have been specifically recommended for this. I do not know much about mason bees, or distribution of native populations of bees throughout the country, or world, but I wonder if us bringing in non-native bees could be a factor contributing to colony collapse disorder. Was there an initial increase in bee populations once they started being used to pollinate cash crops? I am curious how the baseline population of bees compares with the current population.

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