EPA.gov (Environmental Protection Agency):
Colony Collapse Disorder is a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen.
During the winter of 2006-2007, some beekeepers began to report unusually high losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. As many as 50 percent of all affected colonies demonstrated symptoms inconsistent with any known causes of honey bee death:
- Sudden loss of a colony’s worker bee population with very few dead bees found near the colony.
- The queen and brood (young) remained, and the colonies had relatively abundant honey and pollen reserves.
Hives cannot sustain themselves without worker bees and would eventually die. This combination of events resulting in the loss of a bee colony has been called Colony Collapse Disorder.
There have been many theories about the cause of CCD, but the researchers who are leading the effort to find out why are now focused on these factors:
- Invasive varroa mite (a pest of honey bees).
- New or emerging diseases (Acute Paralysis virus / gut parasites)
- Pesticide poisoning
- Stressed bees experience due to management practices such as transportation to multiple pollinatino locations
- Changes to the habitat where bees forage.
- Inadequate forage/poor nutrition.
- Potential immune-suppressing stress on bees caused by one or a combination of factors identified above.