Buzz needs to remain over bee disappearance and maintenance

July 14, 2014

From: The Southern Illinoisan

By Scott Fitzgerald


A guest speaker at this year’s Heartland Apicultural Society conference at SIU, society Chairman Zachary Huang of the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University has researched CCD.

“I calculated three years ago in Michigan, commercial pollination for crops such as cherries, blueberries, apples and all vegetables amounted to $1 billion annually,” Huang said. “I think the $15 billion total they calculated for the entire U.S. crop in 2000 is underestimated.” 

In his own research, including a field study of CCD, Huang said the collapse is not attributed to genetics because it can’t be linked to a queen breeder. It’s not linked to genetically modified plants, nor is it geographically based. One theory was radiation from cell phone towers. Another theory was a particular pesticide. Neither theory got validated, he said.

The closest evidence that research has revealed to a cause for CCD is likely some sort of pathogen or parasite that has yet to be isolated, Huang said.

And CCD is not something new. Huang found a research paper from 1879 reporting a disappearance of honeybees that happened over a five-year period.

Beekeeper Scott Martin of Murphysboro, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said CCD is being attributed to a number of things, including the Varroa Mite, an external parasite that attacks bee colonies.

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