Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the phenomenon of the decrease in the bee population and is currently recognized as an urgent crisis. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to get ahead of a nationwide problem of colony collapse disorder, in which honey bees suddenly disappear or die. The agency has funded bee disease studies, and has created a working group to address bee issues. Its latest effort, announced Tuesday, will send $3 million to help reseed pastures in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas with bee-appropriate plants. Increasing the availability of plants like alfalfa and clover will provide more foodstock for the thousands of commercial beekeepers who bring hives to those states each year, the Associated Press reported." - Newsweek
Last year a study was released that found 35 pesticides and fungicides, some at lethal doses, in the pollen collected from bees that pollinate food crops in five U.S. states. In another research study, bees that contacted pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times more likely to get infected by a parasite associated with CCD.
Even though this doesn't seem like a major issue for such a small creature, but bees have a large impact on plant life and human life. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) is one of nature’s hardest workers and most valuable keys in the insect kingdom. This tiny pollinator is one that we lean heavily on for the majority of food crops and harvest every year. The possible loss of the honey bee will lead to the eradication of a large portion of plant life which will affect the crop levels and food production and effect the entire human race and economics.
The rusty patched bumble bee is becoming a vanishing pollinator. This bee was listed in January as an endangered species, the first wild bee in the continental United States to be listed under this federal protection. The bumble bee (Bombus affinis) is one of several species facing major declines, its population has decreased almost 90 percent in abundance and distribution since the late 1990s, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Bumble bees are essential pollinators of wildflowers and about a third of all U.S. crops, from blueberries to tomatoes, according to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which petitioned the government for protection of the insect. Pollination services furnished by various insects in the United States, mostly by bees, have been valued at an estimated $3 billion each year." - The Scientific American
What We Can Do
The USDA report recommends the increase of collaboration and information sharing between the crop growers and beekeepers to foster mutually beneficial practices. More research centers are being designed to learn new (effective and innovative) ways to create restoration of the bee populations throughout the world.
Programs are popping up and should continue growing in teaching and training residents to become amateur beekeepers. Cities around the US are now offering startup assistance to amateurs of all ages looking for an opportunity start beekeeping. It is also encouraged and helpful to this major issue to begin growing your own garden. This will help both the bee habitats and bee health. When we increase awareness and take steps to solve this world changing issue then both humanity and the planet will be benefited.