Bees: so hot right now. At least that’s what we thought when we saw two stories about bees (a post on Mouthing Off and a piece in Salon) within two days of each other. As it turns out, we were kind of wrong. See, the reason that bees have been in the news so much is because they’re dying at an alarming rate. The culprit? Colony Collapse Disorder, a disease that has been called “the AIDS of bees.” Essentially, when a hive gets infected with CCD, the honeybees fly off to gather their pollen and never return. Bees have an incredibly finely tuned sense of direction and stellar memories, so this behavior, which one farmer compares it to Alzheimer’s Disease, is extremely vexing.
Obviously, the spread of CCD could have devastating consequences in the world of food. Honey is the most obvious casualty, since it can in no way be produced without those stinging creatures, but it is by no means the only food to be nervous about. Bees are also crucial participants in the growing of apples, blueberries and cherries. Unfortunately, so little is known about what causes CCD that it’s difficult to do anything about it right now. Scientists are currently looking for causes and solutions, but in the meantime, let’s all just try not to step on too many bees, okay?
Help Save the Endangered Honey Bee! [Mouthing Off]
Hives Among Us [Salon]
Honey Bee Die-Off Alarms Beekeepers, Crop Growers, Researchers [American Beekeeping Federation]
Colony Collapse Disorder [Bee Culture]