Since 2006, scientists have been baffled as to why we have had a massive decrease--in some cases as much as 90 percent--in our bee colonies. Called colony collapse disorder, a drop in bee production is nothing new. It has been chronicled for decades. But this recent affliction is much worse than previous ones, which is why so many in the bee industry have become alarmed.
Try this on for size: according to the journal Science, pesticides with a key ingredient of neonicotinoid may be directly responsible for the collapse. A study was done to show how bees reacted to the kind of pesticides found in the wild. A significant difference in the production as well as the number of queens was found in the pesticide group versus the hives that were not exposed.
Read an excerpt below from Mongabay.com that reported on it March 29th.
Smoking gun for bee collapse? popular pesticides
March 29, 2012
Commonly used pesticides may be a primary driver of the collapsing bee populations, finds two new studies inScience. The studies, one focused on honeybees and the other on bumblebees, found that even small doses of these pesticides, which target insect's central nervous system, impact bee behavior and, ultimately, their survival. The studies may have far-reaching repercussions for the regulation of agricultural chemicals, known as neonicotinoid insecticides, that have been in use since the 1990s.
Scientists first started recording alarming declines in bees in North America in 2006, including some bee producers losing up to 90 percent of their colonies. Similar declines occurred throughout Europe, and have also been recorded in Taiwan. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, bee hives are found missing nearly all of their adult bees. While colony collapses have been recorded since the 19th Century, the current crisis has proven much worst than past ones.
A number of theories for the collapse have been posited, including disease, parasitic mites, habitat loss, and, of course, pesticides. Some researchers have suggested a combination of these factors. While pesticides has been an important target of studies for years, researchers have had proving that pesticides, which aren't immediately lethal, might still be harming bee colonies—until now.
Image courtesy of Greensmiths.com.