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In recent years, honeybee colonies have been experiencing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Given the key role of honeybees - Essay Example

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Introduction Honey bees play a vital role in the pollination of crops as one-third of fruits and vegetables are produced by honey bee pollination. The revenue gained from the use of honey bees as commercial pollinators is estimated to be around $20 billion annually…
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In recent years, honeybee colonies have been experiencing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Given the key role of honeybees
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"In recent years, honeybee colonies have been experiencing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Given the key role of honeybees"

Download file to see previous pages The honey bees that leave for the forage largely do not return back to their hives and this is especially witnessed to a large extent with migratory bees which are trucked from one country to another for pollination purposes. Scientists have begun to unravel the causes behind this phenomenon as it is a major source of income for the beekeepers and also the farmers depend on it for crop production (Johnson, 2010). In the earlier times a 10 percent loss in honey bee population in a season was considered to be normal, which then rose to 30 percent due to infection by parasitic mites and beginning from 2006 many commercial beekeepers have reported a loss of 30 to 90 percent average colony loss with the onset of CDD. Even the surviving colonies showed weak viability. Though a majority of the losses have been attributed to known causes about 25% of the loss is estimated to have occurred due to CCD. These losses of colonies occur throughout the year and are not seasonal. The major symptoms of this condition are the rapid loss of adult bee workers without any accumulation of dead bees in the hive which is an indication that these bees are not retuning back to the hive that is highly unusual in case of the bee population. These adult bees leave behind their brood which is generally inactive. In addition, there is also the presence of food stores that includes both honey and bee bread. The queen bee is generally present and actively laying eggs (Johnson, 2010; Colony Collapse Disorder, n.d). In case of actively collapsing bee colonies, only an insufficient workforce of young adult bees will be present and though the queen is present the population does not show an inclination to consume food (Colony Collapse Disorder, n.d). Research carried out to determine the causative factors for this condition has found out that CCD could be a syndrome which is not caused by any one particular factor but a combination of several factors (multifactorial). Some of the major possible factors that threaten the bee population are viruses, parasites and microbes, pesticides, antibiotics, miticides, radiations, genetically modified crops and climatic and other environmental changes (Johnson, 2010; Colony Collapse Disorder, n.d). The USDA’s Agriculture Research Service, the Pennsylvania State University and several other universities are conducting most of the current research to unravel the cause of this phenomenon (Johnson, 2010). A recent study carried out by the Washington State University has shown that CCD could be caused due to a combination of toxic chemicals and pathogens present in honeycombs as the bees present in such combs had reduced longevity (Gutierrez, 2010). Of these, chronic exposures to pesticides, miticides and antibiotics have been shown to have an impact on the immune system of the honey bees and hence on their response to infection. In addition, bees have a reduced number of genes which offer resistance to various diseases and toxins thus making the bee population more vulnerable to such problems (Colony Collapse Disorder, n.d). These toxic chemicals are believed to cause the colony to collapse either by themselves or by combining with each other, which would result in increased toxicity to the hive. In addition scientists are also studying the combinatory effects ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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