Video: Honeybees & Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

by Catherine Haug

ESP is hosting an Earth Day event on Pollinators and Their Habitat, April 22, 7 PM at Clementines.  (Stay tuned for the event flyer). In anticipation of this event, please consider watching this film trailer on the plight of the honeybee.

The film was originally titled “The Vanishing Bee,” but is now titled “Return of the Honeybee.”  The trailer is about 10 minutes long, and quite informative:

Searching for the Cause of CCD

Most people blame the CCD problem on the modern farming monoculture (chemicals, flying bees all around the country and exposing them to unknown disease, and so on). The presenter on Honeybees in the Ecosystem at the Swan Ecosystem Center (Scott Debnam, Jerry Bromenshenk’s assistant) states that none of these postulated causes is the true cause.  Bromenshenk is convinced it’s a virus. [Refer to Steve Eisenberg’s Notes from this presentation for more].

My take is that the virus is probably the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back.’  By the time the poor bee is exposed to the virus, her immune system is probably shot; rather like the AIDS of the bee world.  I believe the modern monoculture ag system is responsible for weakening their immune systems.

A Serious Problem

But whether or not the cause is ever found, the fact is that CCD is a serious problem that can destroy our food supply as we known it.  The honey bee isn’t just for making honey and mead.  They pollinate most commercial crops (corn and grains being the exception):  fruits & berries, melons, greens and other vegetables. Grazing animals, both wild and domestic, depend upon the honeybee and other pollinators for the pastures upon which they graze.

Furthermore, many experts believe that it isn’t just honey bees that are affected by whatever is causing this. Native bumblebee and mason bee populations have also been decreasing and losing range.  For example, the western bumblebee, a native bee once present throughout most of the West from Alaska to New Mexico, and including Montana, has disappeared from west of the Cascades and the southern end of its range.

Interesting Factoid

You may not know that honeybees are not native to the Americas. They are native to Europe and Asia; the Europeans brought the bees with them when they colonized the Americas.  And while America’s bees are now succumbing to CCD, the problem has also spread to Europe, back to the bees’ origins.

One Response to “Video: Honeybees & Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)”

  1. […] Thanks to fellow ESPer Steve Eisenberg for the attached post. See also Steve’s post: Notes from ‘Honeybees in the Ecosystem”; see also Video: Honeybees and Colony Collapse Disorder. […]