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Colony Collapse Disorder:  How Science is Working to Help Hives Thrive

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon that is fairly recent.  Beginning in 2004, keepers of Western Honey bees (Apis mellifera) began noticing hives that had plenty of food stores and brood material, but dramatically reduced numbers of adult worker bees. This was true even in hives that showed no increased mite or parasite activities, queen-related problems or damage to the hive or comb.

Since that time, much investigation has been done to try to find a specific cause for CCD.  Western honey bees are not only valued for the production of honey but also for their role in pollination of a significant number of agricultural products.  These crops would be reduced or even fail completely without the help of pollinators like the honey bees. In fact, researchers have calculated that although there has been an almost 50% increase in world honey bee stocks over the 100 years, it has not been sufficient to keep up with an almost 300% increase in pollinator-dependent crops. This makes CCD and its possible causes and cure a hot topic for many.

CCD is not the only reason that a hive may lose its population, and bee hive management requires much knowledge and attention to details. CCD however, has presented as a significant threat to overall bee population.  At this time, there continues to be much conjecture and theory, but no specific identifiable cause.

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