CCD – An Idiopathic Decline in Bee Health

November 23, 2012

Editor’s Note:

The poster’s comments here are welcome yet incorrect.  No pesticide has been “shown to cause CCD.” To the contrary, there is research regarding many different hypothesized causes for the declines in bee health which has subsumed under the term “CCD.”  It is because the cause(s) of CCD are not known, that researchers at Iowa State University, under a grant from USDA, are exploring “the importance of nutritional stress and viruses on honeybee health.”


It is important to note that the US Environmental Protection Agency has closely examined whether a pesticide which some reports have linked to CCD and concluded that:


“the EPA does not believe the petition demonstrates that the use of clothianidin is causing or will cause:


  • significant reduction in populations of domestic bees or native pollinators,
  • significant decreases in honey production,
  • serious effects on other agricultural systems as a result of decreases in pollination services or
  • a reduction in pollination of wild plants in a way that may alter ecosystems.”


Researchers are exploring a range of possible causes of bee health problems.  For example, researchers at Purdue University are investigating genetic issues that may leave bees susceptible to the mites which are the most direct cause of CCD as discussed here,


Taking a different approach, researchers at Yale University are exploring whether new antibiotics are responsible for the decline in bee health,


In yet another approach to preventing CCD, some bee health experts in Utah are concerned that new and  inexperienced amateur bee keepers may be contributing to bee health problems because “all those hives could become incubators for viruses and pests ready to hitch a ride to any of the thousands of commercial hives around the state.”


All that is clear about CCD is that more research is needed.  CRE hopes that the commenter will continue contributing to this Interactive Public Docket since a thorough exchange of views and vetting of tentative conclusions is an essential for progress on this important issue.

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