Colony Collapse Disorder: History and Causes

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Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD): History and causes Abstract This paper reviews the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), or the disappearance of large swathes of the bee population in the US and elsewhere. It reviews the potential causes of CCD, including pathogens, pesticides, and other environmental factors that could contribute to bee deaths. Although many have linked the widespread use of pesticides to the phenomenon, there is no 'smoking gun' that is clearly implicated in causing CCD. The phenomenon can likely be attributed to a wide variety of factors, rather than a singular cause. Introduction In 2006, beekeepers in the United States began reporting unexpectedly high losses of their colonies, as much as 30-90 percent. The phenomenon came to be known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and its causation remains murky, as well as how to treat it. "The main symptom of CCD is very low or no adult honey bees present in the hive but with a live queen and no dead honey bee bodies present. Often there is still honey in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are present. Varroa mites, a virus-transmitting parasite of honey bees, have frequently been found in hives hit by CCD" (Honey Bees Colony and Collapse Disorder (CCD), 2012, USDA). However, this is only one of the speculated causes of CCD. This recent outbreak of widespread bee deaths is not the first depletion of bee colonies in recorded history, which makes the source of CCD less, rather than more
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