In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon fell upon honeybee hives across the country. Without a trace, millions of bees vanished from their hives, leaving billions of dollars of crops at risk, threatening our food supply. The epidemic set researchers scrambling to discover why honeybees were dying in record numbers - and to stop the epidemic in its tracks before it spread further.
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has wreaked havoc on U.S. beekeeping businesses (and the agriculture industry) since its devastating arrival five years ago.
One of the causes may be the impact of neonicotinoids — a class of widely used pesticides — on honeybees and other pollinators. Scientists have not come up with a definitive answer to the the problem. Possible factors besides pesticide exposure include: invasive parasitic mites, an inadequate food supply and a new virus that targets bees' immune systems.
Bees are the most important pollinators in the Northeastern U.S., and there are hundreds of species of bees that live in New Jersey.
Bees are one of the issues for the Natural Resources Defense Council when seemingly healthy bees were abandoning their hives. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), as it became known, may have caused an estimated one-third of all honey bee colonies in the country to have vanished.
You can watch a very good program on this from PBS Nature free online called "Silence of the Bees."
There are hundreds of hours of award-winning feature films, documentaries, and television shows available at http://video.pbs.org including DVDs whose purchase helps support PBS and their programs.