Colony Collapse Disorder
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What are the early signs of CCD? In
cases where the colony appears to be actively collapsing:
• There is an insufficient workforce to maintain the brood
that is present.
• The workforce seems to be made up of young adult bees.
• The queen is present, appears healthy and is usually still
• The cluster is reluctant to consume feed provided by the
beekeeper, such as sugar syrup and protein supplement.
• Foraging populations are greatly reduced/non-existent.
What should a beekeeper do if he or she
has CCD? See the CCD information on recommendation (separate
What can I do to reduce the likelihood
of getting CCD?
• Keep colonies strong by practicing best management practices.
• Don’t stack dead or weak colonies on strong colonies.
Feed colonies fumigillin in the spring.
Is it safe to reuse the equipment from
colonies that have been lost during the winter? If it
can be determined that bees starved or died due to other reasons
associated with typical winter loss, it does appear safe to reuse
equipment, including honey stores and pollen, but caution is advised
and equipment probably needs to be aired thoroughly. Also you
should seriously consider replacing old comb with new foundation
on a regular basis. However if your colonies died from what appears
to be CCD (see description above), reusing equipment is not advised
since we do not yet know the cause of this condition. Members
of the CCD working group have initiated experiments that will
look at various comb sterilization techniques for suggestions
in the future.
Who is working on this problem?
A group of researchers, apiculture extension specialists and government
officials from a number of different institutions across the country
have come together to work on this problem and share information
with beekeeper and the public. This group is called the CCD Working
Group. For a complete list of the institutions and individuals
involved please visit the CCD page on the Website: MAAREC.org.
What has been eliminated as a potential
cause of CCD? These results are based on in-depth interviews
with beekeepers impacted by CCD and surveys of beekeepers responding
to our request for information. While these items have been removed
from our list of “causes” they may increase the risk
of developing CCD. For instance, wearing wet clothes will not
give you a cold, but it does increase your chances of catching
Feeding: The practice of feeding was common to
most of the beekeepers interviewed and surveyed who experienced
CCD. Some feed HFCS, others sucrose however, some did not feed.
Most beekeepers interviewed did not feed protein but some used
pre-made protein supplement.
Chemical use: While most used antibiotics, the
type, frequency of application, and method varied. Most beekeepers
had applied a miticide treatment during 2006. The products used
and method of application varied.
Use of bees: Some beekeepers reported that their
bees were used primarily for the production of honey, while others
received most of their income from pollination contracts. Some
produced honey and used their colonies for pollination.
Queen Source: All beekeepers purchased at least
some queens throughout the year. Some beekeeper reared the majority
of their own cells, but most bought either mated queens or queen
cells. Queens were bought from at least 5 different states (Florida,
California, Texas, Georgia, Hawaii) and 2 foreign countries (Canada
What potential causes of CCD is the Working
Group investigating? The current research priorities
under investigation by various members of the CCD working group,
as well as other cooperators include, but is not limited to:
• Chemical residue/contamination in the wax, food stores
• Known and unknown pathogens in the bees and brood
• Parasite load in the bees and brood
• Nutritional fitness of the adult bees
• Level of stress in adult bees as indicated by stress induced
Lack of genetic diversity and lineage of bees
For a more complete description of the research priorities, please
visit CCD page found on the MAAREC.org website.
What are examples of topics that the
CCD working group is not currently investigating? GMO
crops: Some GMO crops, specifically Bt Corn have been suggested
as a potential cause of CCD. While this possibility has not been
ruled out, CCD symptoms do not fit what would be expected in Bt
affected organisms. For this reason GMO crops are not a “top”
priority at the moment.
Radiation transmitted by cell towers: The distribution of both
affected and non-affected CCD apiaries does not make this a likely
cause. Also cell phone service is not available in some areas
where affected commercial apiaries are located in the west. For
this reason, it is currently not a top priority.
What can beekeepers/beekeeper groups
do to help with discovering the cause of CCD?
• Please fill out an online survey at: www.beesurvey.com_
Consider giving to one of the foundations collecting monies to
help fund research in these activities.