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Colony Collapse Disorder - Case Study Example

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COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER Characteristics of Colony Collapse Disorder Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is an idiopathic phenomenon in which there is a sudden loss of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies in the United States. Beekeepers initially notice it as an unexpected emptying of the hives, the absence of adult bees, with the young broods intact (Watanabe, 2008)…
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Download file to see previous pages Despite that, many studies on CCD have already been conducted, and are now ongoing. One of the most important things to be done is to define CCD. Thus, further investigation saw that loss of adult worker bees drives the process. Looking closely into CCD-affected colonies, there were no increased number of dead worker bees found within and surrounding the hives. In addition, the protection of the hives is intact, as invasion of hive pests and kleptoparasitism were found to be delayed (vanEngelsdorp et al., 2009). Implications of CCD CCD is a serious issue because of the many industries that depend on it. Aside from their produce, the bees are used to pollinate plants such as almonds and blueberries, thus playing a major role in agriculture. In fact, the industry of beekeeping is so important that laws that protect it are being legislated. One good example is the Honeybee Act of 1922, which disallows the importation of bees from other countries such as Europe and Australia to prevent the spread of tracheal mites and other pathogens from other countries to the unprotected bees in the United States (Watanabe, 2008). ...
Through genetic analysis, the bees tested were found to be mostly Eastern European in origin. As expected more weak and dead bees were seen in CCD apiaries as compared to healthy ones. In addition, CCD colonies tend to be clustered together rather than being distributed randomly in the apiary. This, according to the authors of the study, points to a possible infective agent or a common risk factor these CCD colonies were exposed to. Investigating further, no difference was found between the CCD-affected and healthy bees in terms on their body protein levels and morphometric measurements. This means that nutrition is not the primary root of CCD. However, viruses and Nosema loads and decreased levels of synthetic acaricide coumaphos, fluvalinate and Esfenvalerate were found among CCD-affected apiaries than the normal colonies. It is interesting to note that, contrary to infection as the seemingly primary cause of CCD, tracheal mites were found to be three times more prevalent in control apiaries than in CCD-affected ones. Injuring pathogens and pesticides How can these findings explain the sudden loss of adult bees without evidences of a great number of dead bees within and surrounding the hives? Worker bee longevity was found to be significantly reduced when they are exposed to pathogens as well as sublethal levels of coumaphos during their larval and pupal stages. Quite possibly, CCD bees lack detoxification enzymes needed for the cross-resistance to coumaphos and other pesticides, causing bad effects on their health. Diseased states thus play a major role in colony collapse. Although some may argue that control colonies were exposed as well, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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