Why Are Bees Disappearing?

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.
Early in 2017, the most comprehensive field study to date concluded that the neonicotinoid pesticides harm honey bees and wild bees.
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    Early studies of the impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators indicated considerable harm. However, lingering criticism was that the studies did not represent field-realistic levels of the chemicals or prevailing environmental conditions. Two studies, conducted on different crops and on two continents, now substantiate that neonicotinoids diminish bee health. Tsvetkov et al. find that bees near corn crops are exposed to neonicotinoids for 3 to 4 months via nontarget pollen, resulting in decreased survival and immune responses, especially when coexposed to a commonly used agrochemical fungicide. Woodcock et al., in a multicounty experiment on rapeseed in Europe, find that neonicotinoid exposure from several nontarget sources reduces overwintering success and colony reproduction in both honeybees and wild bees. These field results confirm that neonicotinoids negatively affect pollinator health under realistic agricultural conditions.
    B. A. Woodcock et. al., "Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees", Science on 30 Jun 2017
The European Union plans to ban the world’s most widely used insecticides in an effort to protect bees and other valuable pollinator insects. The ban, approved by member countries on April 27 2018, targets neonicotinoids. The ban is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will prohibit outdoor use of the chemicals.
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    Neonics are 5,000 to 10,000 times more toxic than DDT
    Jean-Marc Bonmatin, National Centre for Scientific Research in France
The links below will provide you with information in order to improve your understanding of the situation. The information in this website is not placed here so that you can point a finger at this for that corporation or governmental decision, but rather to understand the problem and the potential causes and also the possible solutions.
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    One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees.
    Leo Tolstoy