As the world population continues to grow, farming practices evolve to keep up with the ever-growing demand for food. Farmers have continued to invest in monoculture crops and the model of agribusiness. Monoculture crop is the practice of repeatedly growing a single crop on a large scale. These crops are genetically identical and don’t have the evolutionary advantage of adapting to environmental changes hence they are vulnerable to disease and pests. To combat this issue the farmers resort to using large quantities of pesticides. Monoculture crops are primarily pollinated by commercial pollinators; an industry that has flourished over the last few decades. In simple words, commercially managed beehives are trucked from farm to farm to provide pollination services.The process often entrails the honeybees being trucked over thousands of miles each year (watch - Flight of the honeybees). The stress from undertaking these long journeys, continuous exposure to large doses of pesticides which compromises their immune system, poor nutrition due to lack of diverse food source, and increased susceptibility to pathogens due to a compromised immune system; are all contributing factors to Colony Collapse Disorder.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a recent phenomenon, which is characterized by the sudden and mysterious disappearance of entire honeybee colony leaving behind the larva and honey. The condition was first noticed in the Fall of 2006 and has mostly affected honeybees used for commercial pollination services. According to the US Department of Agriculture US beekeepers have lost almost one-third of their colonies and some have lost up to 90 percent of their hives consistently each winter since 2006. The United States, Europe, and some parts of Asia are regions that are most impacted by CCD. Commercial pollination services contribute 16 billion dollar to the US economy each year. With the onset of CCD what else is at stake besides the economy?
The Plight of the Honeybee (Article): The article focuses on timeline of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the parts of the world which are most affected by the crisis, the European Union’s decision to ban the use of neonicotinoids for two years, and the various factors which are contributing to CCD along with emerging new concerns.
New York Times
Our Bees, Ourselves, Bees and Colony Collapse (Article): Within the realm of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) the author has touched upon three different perspectives to explain and analyze the cause and effect of CCD on bee health and its long-term implications on human existence; both from a well being and monetary standpoint. Below are three excerpts from the article that provide a synopsis of this article. “…Honeybee collapse has been particularly vexing because there is no one cause, but rather a thousand little cuts …”
“…Observing the tumultuous demise of honeybees should alert us that our own well-being might be similarly threatened…”
“…farmers who planted their entire field would earn about $27,000 in profit per farm, whereas those who left a third unplanted for bees to nest and forage in would earn $65,000 on a farm of similar size…”