Beekeepers in the United States have always had difficulties keeping their hives healthy. From pests to diseases there has always been something working against the U.S. honeybee. However in late 2006, something all together more serious and destructive began to happen. Across the country beehives that appeared perfectly health one day, completely collapsed the next as adult bees suddenly abandon their colony never to be found again. This phenomenon, know as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) continues today and despite a massive amount of research the cause is still unknown. CCD differentiates from typical bee population declines in that it is defined as severe population loss with an almost total absence of bees in or near the dead colonies. As a result of CCD, honeybee populations have declined steadily over the past few years. In 2007 there was a 32% decline in bee colonies within the United States. In 2008 there was an even bigger decline of about 36% (Potter 2010). Since then the rate at which colonies are declining has improved, but hives continue to die off at alarming rates. Taken on their face, these numbers may not be frightening, but when you consider the importance of the honeybee in North America they are. As Dennis VanEngelsdorp of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences puts it “one in every three bites of food you eat comes from a plant, or depends on a plant, that was pollinated by an insect, most likely a bee”.
Although CCD is occurring globally this website focuses on the implications that the disorder has on the United States’ honeybee.