What is the cause of colony collapse disorder?

06 June 2010

Question

In the US, bees are subject to mites and diseases. Is this behind colony collapse?

Answer

We posed this question to James Nieh from the University of California at San Diego...

James - It's definitely a part of colony collapse, which we think of as having four features. One are parasites like Varroa destructor, the mite. Pesticides are thought to be involved, viral and bacterial diseases, and then finally, management practices which are not optimal. We're actually moving bees around a lot. It's startling that in one month, about 80% of all bee colonies in North America converged in Central California for agricultural pollination, and this can be very stressful because they're packing bees together and they're moving them around, and worker bees don't orient very well to a new location. They tend to get lost.

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