Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a deadly phenomenon that has eliminated more than a fourth of the country’s honeybee colonies. Most people will immediately recognize that the deaths of so many bees will lead to sharp declines in honey production. However, the loss of so many insects poses a far more serious problem than honey shortages. Honeybees are the primary pollinators of hundreds of agriculturally important fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Without them, we would have no melons for summer picnics, no peaches or apples for lunchboxes, and no almonds for snacking. Researchers are working feverishly to find the causes of CCD. The purported explanations include disturbances in the electromagnetic fields from cell phone towers, insecticides, or attacks by viral or fungal pathogens. We will look at how widespread the disorder is, the symptoms of the disorder, and possible causes of these deaths.
Diana Oliveras is a senior instructor in the Baker Residential Academic Program at the University of Colorado. She currently is engaged in an ecological research project investigating insect pollinator diversity in Boulder County Open Space. For the past six years, the team has identified bees and flies that visit flowers in the prairie grasses in and around Boulder. They compare the species diversity and numbers with results obtained from investigations conducted 100 years ago.