In 2007, it began to be widely reported that beekeepers were missing bees. The bees simply vanished. No bodies were found, nor were stray colonies of bees discovered anywhere nearby. Sometimes a queen bee and a few newborns would still be in the hive, but no others. The search expanded and no predators were found either. The hives were tested for common diseases that can afflict bees. None were found. Parasites were searched for. None were found. Other animals also seemed to avoid the empty hives for several days after the disappearance, which is normal for disease or contamination, but no contamination was found either. The disappearance of bees came to be known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and no cause has ever been found.
CCD seems to affect only commercial honeybees. Commercial honeybees are important because they are not only used for honey production, but they are important in pollinating crops of all sorts. Bees are responsible for a full 15% of the food that is eaten in the U.S. Furthermore, bees are responsible for 15% of the food eaten by animals, later slaughtered for human consumption. That means bees are responsible for almost one-third of the food in the U.S. Without bees, a severe disruption in food supplies will occur.
Theories for CCD are sparse as not much evidence has been found. A few generalized theories are all we have:
Long transportation processes weakened the bees immune system, either making them susceptible to disease or crippling their navigation systems.
Mites that feed off of bees are carrying a new strain of virus. No mites have ever been found at the lost bee sites, however.
An unknown factor is causing bees to become lost, and they fly away.
Honeybees are so inbred that genetic defects are causing them to be lost.
Posted 3621 day ago