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Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

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Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). “Virus Implicated in Bee Decline”. Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) was found in collapsed bee colonies 50-90% of bee colonies are affected by CCD IAPV may not be causal, but is associated

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virus implicated in bee decline
“Virus Implicated in Bee Decline”
  • Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) was found in collapsed bee colonies
  • 50-90% of bee colonies are affected by CCD
  • IAPV may not be causal, but is associated
  • As a virus, it is unlikely scientists will be able to develop a treatment if IAPV turns out to be the cause
some basic facts about pollinators
Some Basic Facts About Pollinators
  • Bees are just one of a category of animals which transfer pollen and seeds between plants.
  • Pollinators facilitate plant reproduction, and that reproduction gives us much of what we eat.
  • 30% of all food crops are pollinator dependent.
about honey bees
About Honey Bees

Apis mellifera

  • There are 7 extant species of honey bee, all of which belong to the genus Apis
  • Several thousand worker bees support a single queen
  • Eggs are laid singly in wax chambers
  • Worker bees gather nectar, build the wax chambers, clean the hive, and feed the young
  • Honey is produced as food for offspring when they have been weaned from royal jelly (which they are fed when hatched)
  • While visiting flowers for nectar, workers inadvertently pollinate plants
foods that require pollination
Foods That Require Pollination
  • Apples and oranges
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Lemons and limes
  • Cranberries
  • Cucumbers (and pickles)
  • Cantaloupes
  • Carrots
  • Avocados
  • Almonds
northern california needs bees
Northern California Needs Bees!

California imports millions of bees each growing season for its almond crop.

  • This process involves half of all honey bees in the United States
  • Almond trees must be pollinated to produce almonds properly
  • California’s almond crop is worth about 2.3 Billion each season
the world economy needs bees
The World Economy Needs Bees!

Experts estimate that CCD is already costing 5.7 billion dollars world wide in lost crops and products each year

what is ccd
What is CCD?
  • Colony Collapse Disorder is a condition affecting natural and domesticated honey bee colonies that causes the bees to leave the hive.
  • This happens spontaneously, and without warning
  • Outside of the hive, the bees soon die
possible causes of ccd
Possible Causes of CCD

Scientists are still trying to discover why CCD is happening. Some possible contributing factors include:

  • Climate Change
  • Pesticide Use
  • Loss of natural habitat
  • Parasites
  • Viruses
the worst case scenario
The Worst Case Scenario

…As part of complex ecosystems, the loss of pollinators would resonate in ways we haven’t begun to anticipate.

…We would no longer be able to mass produce some of our favorite and most nutritious vegetables.

why a virus might spell disaster
Why a Virus Might Spell ‘Disaster’

The best strategy we have is to vaccinate against them before an infection takes place.

Viruses are much more difficult to treat than bacteria or most parasites.

Anti-viral drugs are not 100% effective, and usually virus-specific.

why are viruses more difficult than bacteria
Why are Viruses More Difficult Than Bacteria?
  • Viruses use host cells to reproduce
  • Viruses are not technically alive
  • Viruses are simple and tough
  • The first anti-viral was not discovered until the 1960’s, we have had antibiotics since 1928
what can we do about it
What Can We Do About It?

If you find bees on your property:

- Don’t use pesticides! Call a qualified pest control person.

If you want to do more:

- There are many resources online, including www.aaas.org, www.nrdc.org, and many more. Scientists also need help observing and cataloging bee populations.

one more thing we can do
One More Thing We Can DO…

Keep your own bee colony!

  • Bees are easy to keep
  • They do not sting impulsively
  • There are books and classes on the subject

(Bee Keeping For Dummies is widely recommended by online bee communities as a starting point.)

discussion ideas
Discussion Ideas
  • Does any one have any questions?
  • Have you heard of CCD in the news before today?
  • Would you ever consider ameture bee keeping as a hobby?