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The Disappearing Bee Empire

By: Kishan and Katelyn

What colony collapse disorder is and how the
term came to be?
What are the causes of large scale colony loss?
How government, politics and media play a role?
How honeybees pollinate?
Scientific research being done on colony collapse
Economic importance of bees
Possible solutions to colony collapse

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

Colony Collapse Disorder is a mystery that still confuses
It is one of the biggest reasons there has been such a
decline in bee population.
Although there is no verified scientific explanation for CCD,
Varroa Mites have been found in many hives struck with CCD

Varroa Destructor: An Odyssey through Death

Scientific name: Varroa Destructor

Ontario, Canada and Hawaii, USA has the most cases.
Female mites enter into brood cells.
Eggs hatch
Varroa mites attach to bees

Varroa Mites

Fig. 6. Varroa Mites

Source: Bessin, Rick

Fig. 7. Varroa Mite on Honeybee

Source: Iowa Honey Producers

Fig. 8. Current Varroa Mite Distribution

Source: Ellis, James

Colony Collapse Disorder Symptoms

In collapsed colonies:
no adult bees present
no dead bodies
a lot of broods.
delayed attack by hive pests

In actively collapsing colonies:

insufficient amount of bees
are available to take care of
the younger bees.
younger bees make up the
brunt of the work force
the queen bee is still in the

Strange Behaviors of Bees

Bees can practice flower fidelity when it comes to
Bees do this using a dance language.
Dance Language is when bees vibrate in a certain
direction, in doing so, they direct other bees to where they
saw the most nectar.

How Bee Pollination Works

Pollination: The act of transferring pollen grain from the male
part of the plant (anther) to the female reproductive system
of the plant (stigma).
The anther and stigma of the same flower develop at
different times.
Without pollination, plants would not be able to reproduce.

Parts of a Flower
The Stigma and the Anther

Fig. 9. Parts of a Flower

Source: Lattner, Vivian

Pollination and Plants

Honey Bees
The Wind

Need Pollination by Insects:


Demand for Pollen

Increasing demand for pollination services in the United
States and abroad
In the 1970s there were more than 4 million colonies in the
It is estimated that there are now 2.5 million colonies in the
Honey Bees are the greatest pollinator when it comes to

Economic Value of Bees

It cost the US
Government 5
million dollars after
a single bee-kill
(Economic Value)

Fig. 4. Economic Impact of a Single Bee-kill Incident

Source: Economic Value of Commercial Beekeeping. beyondpesticides.org

Government Action
In 2007 USDA implements Colony Collapse Action
Survey/collect data to determine the
extent of CCD
hypothesis driven research
mitigative and preventative measures
CCD Committee Conference was held to discuss
honey bee health (Colony Collapse Disorder)

USDA Survey of Loss 2012/2013

Responses conclude an annual 45.2% loss of
honey bees in the US
Out of the three different beekeeper organizations
commercial beekeepers experienced higher
average mortality of bees
(Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan)

Total Loss in States

All states represent
Bee loss in differing
Midwest states
represent a
combined high loss

Fig. 1. Total Winter Loss

Source: A National USDA Survey. beeinformed.com

European Commission Ban

Banned three pesticides from the neonicotinoid
clothianidin, Imidacloprid, and
European Food Safety did a complete risk
assessment prior to the commission's decision
(Pesticides and Bees)

Colony Collapse Disorder: A Descriptive Study

An epizootiological study was conducted by scientists
funded by the National Honey Board to explore the causes of
Colony Collapse
200 variables were tested on bee colonies
61 were found with enough frequency to cause colony death
this concluded that Colony Collapse Disorder is not caused
by a single factor such as only pesticides

EFB Infected Colonies

an example of one of the
causes of colony collapse
EFB is a bacteria that
infects the larval stage of

Fig. 2. EFB Infected Larvae

Source: Colony Collapse Disorder: A Descriptive Study. plosone.org

Effects of Neonicotinoids Study

Ian Laycock and a group of intelligent researchers did an
ecotoxicological study to investigate the effects of pesticides
from the neonicotinoid family on bee performance
low doses of thiamethoxam did not affect bee colonies
significantly until the doses were above 39 micrograms.
high doses impaired neurological performance of bees

Biogenic Amines Based Pesticides Linked to CCD

Acetylcholine and
Neonicotinoids are similar
Acts like a neurotoxin to
Difficulty in flying, navigation
and olfaction (Farooqui)

Fig. 3. Neonicotinoids and AcH

Source: Neonicotinoids: insecticides acting on insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. cell.com

US Honey Production
Honey Production has
increased even though
colonies are
decreasing at an
alarming rate (Dumas)

Fig. 5. US Honey Production

Source: Dumas. US Honey Production Up in 2014, but colony losses continue.

The Real Story Behind Neonics

activist communities blame neonics as sole cause

later in 2006 anti-biotechnology activists blame GMOs
the scientific community proved GMOs are not the cause
real world contradictions have emerged and tension rises

Video: Time Explains: Disappearance of Bees

Brian Walsh
Senior Editor of Time International
Explains the Crisis of the Disappearing Bees in the US
A great summary of what was explained earlier

Preventing the Crisis

Avoid introducing stress to
Integrated Pest Management
Encourage funding for scientific
Using antibiotics to prevent
unwanted microbes
Replacing honey combs to
maintain cleanliness
Fig. 9. Honey Bee
Source: Harmesh, Carol

In Conclusion
Bees are obviously really important to the state of
our agriculture and crops.
Plants we dont eat would also suffer because
they need to be pollinated in order to survive.
Overwhelmingly, bees contribute not only to our
agriculture, but to our economy and environment.
Without bees, we are very much in danger of
becoming a society that can not produce natural
and wholesome foods.
Bees directly correlate to the health of our

Works Cited
"Colony Collapse Disorder Action Plan." Ars.usda.gov. United States Department of Agriculture, n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
"Colony Collapse Disorder: European Bans on Neonicotinoid Pesticides." Epa.gov. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
Dumas, Carol R. "U.S. Honey Production up in 2014, but Colony Losses Continue." Capitalpress.com. Capital Press, 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
Entine, Jon. "Science Collapse Disorder -- The Real Story Behind Neonics And Mass Bee Deaths." Forbes.com. Forbes, 11 Apr. 2013. Web. 4. Apr. 2015.
Farooqui, Tahira. "A Potential Link among Biogenic Amines-based Pesticides, Learning and Memory, and Colony Collapse Disorder: A Unique Hypothesis."
ScienceDirect. Elsevier, 8 Oct. 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
Laycock, Ian, Katie C. Cotterell, Thomas A. O'Shea-Wheller, and James E. Cresswell. "Effects of the Neonicotinoid Pesticide Thiamethoxam at Field-realistic Levels
on Microcolonies of Bombus Terrestris Worker Bumble Bees." ScienceDirect. Elsevier, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
"Pesticides and Bees." Ec.europa.eu. European Commission, n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Works Cited
Bessin, Ric. "VARROA MITES INFESTING HONEY BEE COLONIES." Varroa Mites in Honey Bee Colonies. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, 10
Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.
Ellis, James. "Varroa Mite - Varroa Destructor Anderson and Trueman."Varroa Mite - Varroa Destructor Anderson and Trueman. University of Florida, 22 Sept.
2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.
Hermesh, Carol. Honey Bee. Digital image. Spirit-animals.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
"Iowa Honey Producers Association Photo Gallery." Abuzzaboutbees. Iowa Honey Producers Association, 21 Apr. 2009. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.
Lattner, Vivian. "PARTS OF A FLOWER." Plant Anatomy. Plant Kingdom Information, 7 Feb. 2013. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.
Potts, Simon, Jacobus Biesmeijer, Claire Kremem, Peter Neumann, Oliver Schweiger, and William Kunin. "Global Pollinator Declines: Trends, Impacts and
Drivers.Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25.6 (2010): 345-53. Print.
Takeda, K. "Classical Conditioned Response in the Honey Bee." Elsevier 6.3 (2003): 168-79. Print.
Winfree, Rachael, and Neal Williams. "Native Bees Provide Insurance against Ongoing Honey Bee Losses." Ecology Letters 10.11 (2007): 1105-113. Print.

Works Cited
Bee Kills and the US Agricultural Economy. Digital image. Beyondpesticides.org. Pesticide Action Network North America, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
Dumas, Carol. US Honey Production. Digital image. Capitalpress.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
EFB Infected Colonies. Digital image. Beeinformed.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
Neonicotinoids. Digital image. Sciencedirect.com. ScienceDirect, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
Total Winter Loss. Digital image. Beeinformed.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

Any Questions?