Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bee Mortality Continues

U.S. Department of Agriculture Still Seeking a Cause of Colony Collapse Disorder

Washington--The Apiary Inspectors of America says bee mortality rates are up 13-percent over last years disasterous outbreak of Colony Colapse Disorder that wiped out 36-percent of the nations honey bees.

Idaho beekeepers report mortality, but so far not as severe as the year before.

The combined survey, which was conducted by telephone interview, checked on nearly 19 percent of the country's 2.44 million colonies.

ARS is continuing to vigorously seek the cause or causes of CCD.

One issue complicating research is that researchers only have samples taken after a CCD incident is reported. With just the one set of samples, especially since the adult bees have disappeared, researchers cannot look for specific changes in affected bee colonies preceding the collapse.

To deal with this, in February 2007, universities and states began taking samples about every six weeks from cooperating migratory beekeepers who move their colonies to provide pollination. Two of the apiaries being sampled had suffered outbreaks of CCD in 2006.

Some of these apiaries did have a CCD incident in late 2007 or early 2008. The stored samples will hopefully give researchers an opportunity to see what changed, and more direction to find the cause or causes.

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