The New York Times just published an article and video on the complex nature of colony collapse disorder (CCD) in honey bees. Author Clyde Haberman does a good job of presenting the case for the side of the debate that argues for multiple interacting causes of the bee problem.
If you’re not familiar with CCD, it is a mysterious disorder that has afflicted 30% or so of commercial bee hives in the U.S. since 2006. Something about the problem has touched a nerve with many Americans who fear that we might be losing the battle to preserve our environment in the face of mounting pressures from climate change and pollution. I think the feeling is that if we can’t stop climate change, then by golly we will surely save our bees.
The NYT article does an excellent job of putting the crisis into perspective. The real concern, according to the story, is not so much about losing our honey bees, but losing our beekeepers.
One weakness of the reporting is that it does not do full justice to the contentious nature of the fight over root causes of the condition, nor did it probe the depth of feelings over pesticide concerns among many of the public and environmentalists. Nevertheless, I recommend this read if you want to get some more understanding of this important issue. To watch the video, click here.