Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the name that has been given to the latest, and what seems to be the most serious, die-off of honey bee colonies. It is characterized by sudden colony death with a lack of adult bees in/in front of the dead-outs. Honey and bee bread are usually present and there is often evidence of recent brood rearing. In some cases, the queen and a small number of survivor bees may be present in the brood nest. It is also characterized by delayed robbing and slower than normal invasion by common pests such as wax moth and small hive beetles.
Across the United States and around the world, the honey bee populations are mysteriously vanishing. Honey bee colony losses are not uncommon, however, this sort of disappearance is unprecedented. This honey bee colony loss is due to uncharacteristic bee behavior: bees are failing to return to the hive.
Is it an unparalleled natural rhythmic ebb in the honey bee population or a portentous prophetic warning of a failing ecosystem? Solving this mystery could have far-reaching effects.
Their decline should draw focus to the critical role the honey bee plays in our food chain and the impact their loss will have on our ecology and economy. As of now, there are several theories posed to explain what has been termed "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD).
Bee experts are working hard to discover the real cause of CCD, which as yet remains unknown. Services for North American beekeepers have been made available for rapid virus screening (Bee Alert working with BVS, Inc. and the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center (ECBC)), as well as screening for all bee, insect, and plant pathogens (Bee Alert with ECBC). Because the cause has remained elusive, beekeepers are encouraged to maintain close care, documentation, and communication while managing the health of their bees.
Albert Einstein was once quoted as saying “if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”