Across the US, bees are dying because of a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This disorder is characterized by adult worker bees going out to obtain pollen and not being able to find their way back to the hive. The colony is left in a weaker state because it is without all or most of its productive adult members, and sooner or later breaks down.

 In a 2009 report by Raymond Cloyd, Associate Professor for the Department of Entomology Extension at Kansas State University, the loss of honeybees in the US was estimated at 30-90%, depending on the area.

  However, according to John Timmons, President of the Three Rivers Beekeepers in St. Peters, MO, beekeepers in Missouri are reporting that their bees are less affected by CCD. What makes Missouri different than other states?

 Timmons tells SciJourner that in Missouri there are far less commercial beekeepers than in many other states, and most are hobbyists. Elsewhere, commercial beekeepers take their bees to states as far away as Florida and California to pollinate major crops. These keepers experience CCD more than the hobbyists; their bees undergo significantly more stress from the long travels. Timmons went on to say that the smaller hobbyist keepers in Missouri are able to take better and closer care of their honeybees and, therefore, stress does not build on their bees.

 “It seems the smaller beekeepers spend more time per hive and are more aware of what is going on inside their hives,” says Joyce Sammons, a honeybee keeper in St. Charles County, MO.

  Researchers at the University of Missouri Extension believe that, among other causes, the main reason for CCD is insecticides. Pesticides, mites, and the transportation of bees for pollination are creating a lot of stress on commercial bees and colonies. This adds to their already declining condition.  

  Most researchers agree with these causes, including those at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  “[Bee] pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value,” according to the USDA. “The bee industry is facing difficulty meeting the demand for pollination.”

 Assistant professor Jamie Ellis of the IFAS Extension indicates that the loss of honeybees “signal a decline in the health of our environment. Honey bees are biological indicators, meaning that their status is a reflection of the health of the general environment.”

  CCD is “a double-edged sword,” concludes Timmons. While it is bad that bees are disappearing and the population is steadily declining, all the press about CCD has encouraged more people to become interested in bee keeping. In addition, Timmons reports that several people joined his organization when they learned of it. 

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  1. An excellent article on CCD. But I would still like more credible sources to explain why or how Missouri has not experienced such bad losses due to CCD. Do those local beekeepers reflect the consensus of scientific research on the topic?

  2. This is a very interesting article that has made me aware of a problem in our environment that i didn’t know about previoulsy. But why isn’t this problem as significant in MO? Otherwise it is very well done

  3. I like reading this article, I thought it was really well written but it made me wonder, is there anything that can reverse the effects of CCD for the bees?