A recent gathering of leading bee biologists in the US could not exactly figure out the gradual disappearance of honey bees in the US and also elsewhere in the world. Termed as ‘colony collapse disorder’ (CCD), the researchers are trying to find the factors behind it.
Honeybees used to be widespread across North America and are bred commercially for their abilities to pollinate crops – 90 different farm-grown foods including many fruits and nuts depend on them-and produce honey. But in recent years populations across the continent have reduced by as much as 70 percent.
The increasing use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, which bees ingest during their daily pollination rounds, are likely to be one of the reasons. Commercial beehives are also subjected to direct chemical fumigation at regular intervals to ward off destructive mites. Another leading suspect is genetically modified crops, which may generate pollen with compromised nutritional value.
A small study at Germany’s Landau University found that bees would not return to their hives when mobile phones were placed nearby. More research is being done to determine the extent of such radiation-related phenomena on bees and other insect populations.
As findings of the various research is awaited, let’s hope this is not yet another endangered species of insects.