Honey Doesn't Grow On Trees! Have You Heard of Ccd?i

OK.  So honey has become a staple in my life as I have gotten older.  Recently, I started hearing talk about crazy things happening with bees.

Now I am a child of the X-Files generation, so my first thought of bees immediately moved to the fact that the Africanized "Killer" Bee had taken over as, again if you watched the X-Files, you know that these bees were going to kill us all if we didn't watch out.  There was even a ridiculous TV movie called "Deadly Invasion: The Killer Bee Nightmare" -- sometimes Lifetime Network really comes up with some gems.

I share the above only to point out that I think bees have gotten a bit of a bad rep that has only allowed what I have now figured out is a pretty serious situation to grow exponentially over the last years.

The epidemic, and it really is an epidemic is called COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER or CCD.  When I started reading about the disorder itself... I have to say the description sounds a bit like a case for the X-Files.  CCD is has been occurring since 1971 and after years of not being a real focus, it has now become a crisis of sorts.  It occurs when worker bees from a beehive or "western honey bee" colony simply and abruptly disappear.  Seriously, one day you go outside and you have a veritable swarm of bees doing their thing.  Then the next day, you get up to tend to the bees and... GONE.  Literally, completely dispersed. Completely disappeared.  While such disappearances have occurred throughout the years of beekeeping for the purposes of production, the term CCD was really brought to the forefront in 2006 when the cases in the USA jumped by a heavy percentage and European beekeepers across the EUs most honey rich areas observed a similar phenomena.

The scary thing... although there have been clear concerns about this downward spiral since 1971, the reality of it is, we still do not fully understand why this is happening.

Leading "big brains" believe it is a mix of insect diseases, environmental changes (i.e. global warming, deforestation, lack of pollinate-able flowers), malnutrition and pesticides.  No one can agree on any one of these factors, it seems, because there is a great case that all of them are contributors.

Think this doesn't impact you?  Hate bees because you are allergic and don't really care that much if they disappeared entirely?  Let's take a moment and talk about why you should care.

Well, first off, I hope you don't like almonds either.  The phenomenon is particularly important for crops such as almond growing in California, where honey bees are the predominant pollinator and the crop value in 2006 was $1.5 billion.

In 2000, the total U.S. crop value that was wholly dependent on honey bee pollination was estimated to exceed $15 billion.  Think about that in terms of our rough economic times.  Our economy is in the toilet and if the bees disappear entirely, go ahead and carve off another $15 billion.  Do we really want to be in the position where we have to offer agribusiness a bailout because we allowed one of the largest free labor forces in the world - pollinating honey bees - to die off?

Honey bees are not native to the Americas, therefore their necessity as pollinators in the US is limited to strictly agricultural/ornamental uses.

They are responsible for pollination of approximately one third of the United States' crops, including almonds, peaches, soybeans, apples cherries, watermelon, every type of berry you can imagine, pears and many other things that I care not to list right now.  Just realize it's a lot more than you think. 

I am still learning what each of us can do on our own to make a difference... but in the meantime, I am trying to get the word out and the first way we do that is to talk about it.

I came here ready to make my own EP group and was excited to see that there was already one in existence.

I am late to the party... but I am bringing friends!

jtfwall jtfwall
20 Responses Feb 7, 2009

Join a local beekeeping group or start a local Bee Rescue in your area and save a bee hive.... <br />
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Beekeeping is a very reasonable hobby and cheaper than most pets...... plus it helps the environment

Lil Annie, the guy on cspan is an idiot. Honey bees are NOT native to the americas. The "european" honey bees came here soon after the colonists..... The CCD dieoffs have waned somewhat. rersearchers have identified the causes to a large extent. The most significante and most destructing is two parasites that were previousely confined to other continents, namely the Varroa mite, and the traecheal mite. <br />
Queen bee breeders are working feverishly to breed resistance to thes mites into bees..... it may take many years. But eventually even wild populations will re-establish themselves worldwide. <br />
Curiousely, africanized bee colonies are routinely used for honey production in south america, with few problems due to special precautions taken by beekeepers trained to handle them. The africanized bee is largely immune to the parasites that cause our European bees problems.... not that it means anything, but I am a beekeeper in southern Oklahoma and am registered as such. cheers, ps.... if you want to help bees.... buy more honey!!!

Can i join the party. Bees are important to the world after all plant life needs pollenation. Well said.

Thanks for the education. I became interested in bees when my sister & I were fencing off another area for the horses & we discovered a thriving hive on my property. We changed our fencing plan so we or the horses wouldn't disturb them.

It's a scientific fact that if the bees disappear so will we. Let's stop polluting the earth and respecting nature more if we humans want to survive. ENOUGH said.

sadly this has been an issue for many years.....<br />
most of earths creatures have a pupose that is vital to our eco-systems and pollination...man is the only species that is not needed except for mulch - blood and bone<br />
i live in a rainforest area and we have to battle residents and council to protect the flying fox and their habitat....the flying fox is the only creature that can pollinate and germinate the seed of the eucalypts...<br />
but people dont care....they hate them...as they tend to camp on the fringes of towns as they need to be where the rivers are briney with a wide area of water so they can drink <br />
the residents only care about their own comforts and dont give a damn how they get it...they are completely oblivious as to how nature works and the importance of a healthy environment to ensure human survival<br />

Wow...I had no ideas honey bees are at the heart and soul of so many essential products. This was a very educational and enlightening post for me. I don't think I can ever think about a honey bee in the same way ever again. Now...what should we do to help??

What's sad is that I've been reading about this problem for quite some time now, but the story never seems to change. Let's hope we can continue to build movement around this, and start raising awareness!

Wow, this is really informative. If you guys can get a movement going so that we can actually DO something as a community, count me in.

Thank you so much for sharing this very informative story. I never realized any of this, but I am glad that I am aware of it now. I just hope that all of this awareness is spread, just as the threat of global warming, so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy this beautiful world and nature for the years past our lifetime.

bzzzzz! I would have never thought that bees were that important for all this things. I love the Bee Movie as do my kids. I'm gonna tell them about how they can help the bees maybe we plant some flowers together in our yard

I know this is going to sound silly but the importance of this issue was actually really brought to my attention by watching that animated movie Bee Movie lol. But yes it's a serious issue and unfortunately it might be too late before the public realizes it.

Wow, just read a story in this group that lists everything you'll ever need to know about beekeeping and then some! Great info!

There was a guy on Cspan talking about this just this afternoon. He says that honey bees are not native to North or South America! Did not know that! They are European and came with the colonists. At one time, when most people lived on farms, every farm had many hives that were deliberately maintained for pollination purposes. Since the advent of industrial agriculture, and the demise of the family farm, the Bee keeping industry has tried to fill in the gaps and developed a business model of itinerent hives that travel all over the country to fullfill each regions growing season. He feels this practice has added to the stress on bees and also is a perfect environment for mass infections. He thinks the solution can include encouraging a large proliferation of small bee hobbyists who all establish two or three or more stay put hives on their respective properties.

Colony Collapse Disorder is disturbing. <br />
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I remember hearing a story on the plight of bees on NPR waaaay back in 1996. The story mentioned something about bees dying off and no one knowing why. It went on to discuss the massive ecological collapse that would occur without bees. The story (all 4mins of it) was never mentioned again after that (Thanks 24hr news cycles!) but it always stayed with me.<br />
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What's even more worrying is the total state of indifference on the issue occurring at the government level.<br />
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It's like politicians hear about CCD, hear about the potential for devastating consequences and then...just kinda stare at you and shrug their shoulders helplessly.<br />
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"Yeah, uh, that sucks about the bees. What do ya want me to do about?"<br />
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Forgive me. I must've mistaken you for someone with authority, competence and leadership abilities. I forgot you are only a 87 year old Senator whose only goals in life is to keep getting re-elected, send inappropriate IM's to underage pages and banning gay marriage. Sorry to disturb your nap!

Who ever thought those pesky insects that I caught as a kid, played such an important role in our daily lives!?! I'm going to DO MY PART now -- I plan on planting a nice garden in back, loaded with flowers that will attract honey bees!

Thanks for the info! We all need to spread the word about this crisis!

I can't believe how much people have ignored this crisis. To put it simply -- No honeybees, no people. Somehow people aren't able to connect the dots, or they want to ignore the severity of this.

Yet another testament to how detached we are as "modern" folks from our Earth. Ignorance of the way nature operates. I feel this is a fundamental problem that faces the public today. The public simply is not educated about the Earth, one which we depend on, in every single way. Beyond that, most of us are not RESPECTFUL of the earth. <br />
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I am currently living in a city where people throw away anything that they consider useless and buy things they dont need. I find this behavior atrocious. Like the animals, native peoples used to be very sensitive to every behavior of the Earth and interacted in harmony. We have completely lost touch with that sensibility, at the cost of thousands of species, including the bees. <br />
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Our mentality must change and it takes leadership for this type of awareness. Just imagine the impact of broadcasting what jtfwall shared with us about bees here on prime time slot, instead of a reality TV show about half naked people on an island....???<br />
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Thanks jtfwall for the great info.

Whoa. I didn't know anything about the honeybee crisis until I read this. Thanks for informing us on how severe this crisis is :)