Released July 18, 2012
Representatives from USDA have been down on the National Mall, staffing hands-on exhibits about food safety, bioenergy and even bees. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have, for years, been studying Colony Collapse disorder (CCD), which has been attacking honey bee colonies since 2006.
CCD is defined by the disappearance of most, if not all, of the adult honey bees in a colony, leaving behind honey and brood, but no dead bee bodies. This definition has recently been updated to include low levels of Varroa mite and other pathogens, such as Nosema, as probable contributing factors.
While the exact cause of CCD has not been found, honey bee losses have leveled off this year. In 2006 when CCD first appeared, some beekeepers reported 30 to 90 percent losses in their apiaries. For the next three years, beekeepers reported that winter colony losses were averaging around 30 percent, with one-third attributed to CCD — a loss rate that is not economically sustainable for commercial beekeepers.
--continued on http://westernfarmpress.com/management/bee-keep-or-not