Well for the last 7 years the bees worldwide have been disappearing and no one really knows why. The disorder has significantly affected bee populations since the 1970’s with a sharp increase in losses since 2006. Now, as beekeepers return to their hives to prepare for spring pollination, they are finding that at least half of their bees are gone. This syndrome, named colony collapse disorder, or CCD, is characterized by the disappearance of adult honey bees from the hive, leaving the newborns to fend for themselves. The 2013 year now marks the highest loss on record with at least 50 percent of all European honeybees in the U.S. reported lost to CCD.
Honey bees are of vital importance, and their declining populations are an incredibly critical issue. As pollinators, they are responsible for over 130 different fruit and vegetable crops that we eat. As they travel from blossom to blossom in search of nectar, pollen sticks to their furry body and is transferred to another flowering blossom enabling it to swell into a ripened fruit. Animal pollination is essential for nuts, melons and berries, and plays varying roles in citrus fruits, apples, onions, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, courgettes, peppers, aubergines, avocados, cucumbers, coconuts, tomatoes and broad beans, as well as coffee and cocoa.
Just what’s killing the bees remains a mystery but beekeepers are beside themselves, often approaching their hives to find hundreds of worker bees dying outside the hives each day. As the bees die, farmers lose the ability to pollinate crops, reducing yields and thereby the food supply. Farmers are now projecting that the decrease in the supply of fruits and vegetables will be so great that prices will be impacted by the summer of this year. A number of beekeepers blame pesticides for the loss of their bees, specifically as class known as neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a form of pesticide that work by blocking the nerve endings in insects, paralyzing them so that they die slowly by starvation. Beekeepers think their bees are being exposed to the pesticides and are dying as a result.