Bee Colony Collapse Mystery

  • Brownish-orange bumps on the backs of these bees are Varroa jacobson mites, a possible cause of the disappearing bees. (Photo courtesy of the USDA)

Scientists are scrambling to find out why honey bee populations are
collapsing. Lester Graham reports, there are a lot of theories. Some
of them are getting more attention than others:

Transcript

Scientists are scrambling to find out why honey bee populations are
collapsing. Lester Graham reports, there are a lot of theories. Some
of them are getting more attention than others:


Recently, beekeepers have seen entire colonies of worker bees leave and
never come back to the hive. It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder.
Some news reports have suggested wireless phones or cell phone towers
might be throwing off bees’ navigation.


Barry O’Connor is Curator of Insects at the University of Michigan’s
Museum of Zoology. He says so far, that’s just a theory:


“This phenomenon has been seen in a lot of places where there aren’t
cell phone towers. And so it’s not the whole story if it’s even a part
of the story.”


Other theories for the collapse include stress from moving bees around
to pollinate crops, a newer class of nicotine-based pesticides, a
genetically modified corn with a built-in insecticide, or a combination
of environmental problems.


Growers say food production could drop a lot without honeybees to
pollinate crops.


For the Environment Report, this is Lester Graham.

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