It appears that honey bees have been disappearing over the past years. Beekeepers across the United States and Europe have reported that their bees leave the hive and rather than coming back as they usually do, they simply disappear, never to be seen again, leading to the hive's collapse. This is termed collapse disorder, or CCD, and is a major concern for the world's food producers since the bee colonies are vital for plant pollination, without which, plants just don't bear fruit.
As you may imagine, there are many hypotheses put forth as to why bees aren't returning to their hives. Some believe that global climate change is resulting in an increase in parasites that may be responsible for the bees' disappearance. Others think that atmospheric electromagnetic radiation from cell phone towers is interfering with bees' delicate navigation mechanisms.
Whether or not these elements have anything to do with bee colony collapse disorder is unknown. However, a recent study by Dr. Richard Gill and colleagues at the University of London, which was featured recently in Nature magazine
has clearly demonstrated significant evidence that pesticides used in farming are directly related to the bee population decline over the past decade. The culprits appear to be two pesticides, neonicotinoid and pyrethroid, that are responsible for causing colony collapse disorder. In the words of Gill and team, "chronic exposure...to two pesticides...impairs natural foraging behaviour and increases worker mortality
." While these pesticides may have subtle effects at the individual level, their combined impact on bee hive survival, whether through shared metabolic processes or reduced hive communication ability, was shown to be lethal.
The video below provides a view of a world without bees and demonstrates our understanding to date of possible causes and also possible solutions to the problem.