Talk:Colony collapse disorder/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Prevalence, incidence statistics, SOMETHING

There seems to be a pretty glaring lack of anything resembling a first-order measurement of the phenomenon. Doesn't anyone have a link to by-state incidence or prevalence? I mean something like: except quantitative. Jim Bowery 07:46, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm still waiting, as are many other bee scientists, for just such an analysis to appear. It's starting to look like it may be a long time, if ever, before anyone can give any hard figures, rather than just anecdotes from beekeepers. That's one reason a lot of us think this has been over-publicized; science does not come to conclusions without having the data in hand first. If any numbers come to light, then they should certainly get included in the article, as appropriate. In theory, though, if MAAREC doesn't release the figures, no one will. Dyanega 18:05, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Disputed cause of decline

I've pulled the following sentence from the second paragraph of the article because it gives the false impression that the entire decline from 1971 to the present has been a result of this mysterious CCD. That is plainly untrue. The vast majority of the decline happened for known reasons including the urbanization of former farmland, pesticide kills, aging out of the beekeepers and mostly the one-two punch of tracheal and varroa mites in the 80s and 90s.

The second part of the sentence asserts that the rate of attrition spiked up in 2006. And in fairness, the U Penn article does make that claim. However, that assertion has not yet been confirmed. Even on BEE-L (a moderated discussion of bee researchers), it is treated as anecdotal evidence only. A working group has been developed to attempt to confirm the claim but so far they are still sorting out the definition of a colony collapse. It is premature to present this in an encyclopedia article in a way that a reader would believe that it was confirmed fact. Rossami (talk) 02:13, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

From 1971 to 2006 approximately one half of the U.S. honey-bee colonies have vanished, but the rate of attrition reached new proportions in the year 2006, which were alarming to many farmers and honey-bee scientists.[1]


I did a revealing experiment about 15 years ago. I had been using frames of honey from deadout colonies (in the north) to make up nucs, placing the honey next to the brood for feed for the tiny colonies. When a number of the nucs did poorly, I experimented with them by sorting out frames with an abundance of pollen, and placing them next to young queens that were vigorously laying with a good brood pattern. Within two to three days I observed the previously open brood became spotty, which I lay to toxin in the pollen, possibly from molds, but more likely from stored pesticides from an earlier hit. The pollen caused the death of larvae, which were then removed by the workers. I changed my management practices to sort out and disgard any frames with significant amounts of pollen. With this change, I saw little loss.

It is my observation that a strong colony that sustains a pesticide hit, especially in late season, may appear to recover and do well, only to die during the winter. I suspect that the contaminated pollen is covered by fresh clean pollen during the fall bloom, only to be opened again during winter when the bees are more vulnerable.

Another thing that needs more attention. Some of the modern pesticides appear not to be very toxic to bees, yet they somehow damage the social interaction, leading to slow attrition and death of the colony. Beekeepers may not attribute the death correctly due to the time span involved. I'm not putting this into the article, as it is personal research, but I'd love to see some of the contemporary researchers considering it seriously and working on these angles. Pollinator 05:40, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

This is very interesting. I can imagine that if some natural or manmade chemical had only a very subtle effect, it might take quite a while to identify it and understand it. And this might be what is going on here.--Filll 14:01, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
I've read about CCD possibly being caused by a growth enhancing crop spray (mimicing the effects of a worker bee repelling pheromone from the queen bee). It was not tested for endocrine or pesticide effects. Has anyone looked into that? I was surprised that this theory was not already on the page here. [1]

Auntiemisha (talk) 22:20, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

The only theories on this page are ones that have been discussed by reliable sources. If you have a reliable source, then please give a link to it, and we can see whether it is appropriate for inclusion here. Offhand, though, I'd say it's highly unlikely, since I doubt this "growth enhancing crop spray" could have been around back in the 1960s, and a lot of the honey bee losses occurred in areas away from any such spraying. People seem to forget that CCD is simply a new name for an old problem, meaning theories involving recently-developed potential causes are almost certainly NOT viable explanations. Dyanega (talk) 22:48, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

what is wrong with this sentence?

Limited occurrences resembling CCD have been documented as early as 1896,[2] but only recently has the vast destructive scale emerged.

It was edited out.--Filll 13:57, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

--It looks like this sentence is at the begining and end of the paragraph in which it occurs. David_Eagan

there is nothing wrong with this sentence; it should remain in for time perspective. if anyone wants to tweak it, have a go. i havent seen an edit version with it duplicated, but clearly it shouldnt be repeated. cheers Anlace 03:09, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

removed content

I've removed the paragraph below from the Possible Causes section. It's all true but is has no apparent connection with the topic at hand. The observation that pesticides are toxic is not particularly new. These specific pesticides may or may not be involved in CCD. Without evidence linking these specific pesticides (and so far there is none), this paragraph is not relevant to this page. Rossami (talk) 15:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

The completed review of chief pesticides used on apples, blueberries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums (many fruits pollinated by honey-bees) was last announced on January 17, 2007 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Citing general environmental protection and farmworker safety, the EPA announced the tightening of use or phaseout of the highly toxic pesticides phosmet and Azinphos methyl. Under these rule changes, continued use of these organophosphate pesticide would be allowed for five years but under somewhat reduced dosage limits;[3] however, most of the provisions of this rule change were designed for more stringent protection of workers rather than the environmental protection. These EPA rules would not come into complete effect until the year 2012, although some aspects of protection would begin at once.


Is anything like this happening in Europe or Asia?

Not now, evidently, and - as far as I am aware - not in the past (during all the previous appearances of this syndrome over the last 40 years). That is one reason so many people suspect it is related to beekeeping practices or pesticides; both are quite different in the United States. About the only thing in common among ALL of the times this phenomenon has been reported over the years is poor foraging conditions prior to the die-off; then again, some people are now claiming that this is not the same thing we've seen in the past, so the jury is still out. It also does seem a little odd that only US bees should be experiencing this sort of stress, ever, but then again, the majority of bees kept elsewhere are generally treated a little better (in terms of disruption, especially). Occam's Razor, at this point, would suggest that the entire syndrome is due to stress, and since stress can have many causes, and can lead to various illnesses, people are struggling to find patterns that may simply not really be there. Dyanega 23:56, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Are you so sure? The Register reports Colony Collapse Disorder in Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain: Es3225
The media are reporting a lot of things right now. Actual bee researchers are much more cautious in their statements. Rossami (talk) 01:51, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
France has experienced some heavy dieoffs in the last couple decades. Pesticides are claimed to be the cause, but other synergistic factors may also be involved. Pollinator 22:27, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I have yet to find any reliable reports of "CCD cases" in Germany that are not apparently misidentifications due to crappy mass media reports. Our bees are having a bad time, but that's due to the waeather going haywire; April was like June but without the rain this year over here. Dysmorodrepanis 10:18, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
"CCD was originally found only in Western honey bee colonies in North America,[1] but European beekeepers have recently claimed to be observing a similar phenomenon in Poland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree." right in the intro; I changed that. I have checked the refs, and there is no positive evidence that these cases show CCD symptoms whatsoever. European beekeepers have been observing some above-average losses, but I have yet to see any report from outside NAm that mentions the telltale signs of CCD. Check the Quebec case where they do: the press releases contain mention of "deserted" colonies, undepleted food stocks, lack of parasites, loss of one-quarter and up up up of stocks in affected areas. Nothing like this from Europe yet, fortunately. Indeed, the introduction contradicts later reports. Dysmorodrepanis 13:59, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Just double-checked the German WP which doesn't even mention supposed cases in Germany specifically. Dysmorodrepanis 14:03, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
With the advantage of nearly a year's passing, it's now reported in Germany that bee hives there had been dying in large numbers over the past winter. Per a May 14, 2008 article on, the claim is that the varroa mite is seen to be the major culprit, but there are other claims that breeding practices also may be a contributing factor. Specifics in the article is sketchy at best, but it quote claims the current state of honey bees is that they've been made too domesticated and weak to sustain themselves from disease and predatory parasites like mites. Moreover, pesticide usage is believed to be a contributing factor, as is monoculture farming techniques.
The article as states that in France over the past winter approximately 60% of all bee hives perished; at the time of the article, no reason had yet been established, which at the time was troubling to French authorities because they initially had believed that the main reason for prior bee die-offs was primarily due to pesticides. The French had banned a number of what was believed to be the worst of the chemicals and last year it was reported that the bee population in country had stabilized and even begun to expand. But with the massive die-off last winter, it would appear that overuse or outright use of certain pesticides is only part of the problem. Also reported in the dw-world article was a statistic regarding the U.S. bee hive population. It states that from last year alone, 36% of all U.S. hives have died off.
All I know is this: last year in my neighborhood in Seattle, WA USA, honey bees were sparsely found, but still around if you looked hard enough. This year, I haven't seen a single one all year. Even other Apoidea types (wasps, etc.) seem to be down in population the past couple of years.Monoblocks (talk) 04:38, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Please note that in none of these cases are those colony deaths demonstrably attributable to CCD, which is a well-defined syndrome with well-defined symptoms. NO ONE IS DISPUTING that honey bees are dying, in lots of places. The point is that you can't claim they all represent CCD. If you want an article that is appropriate to the general topic, then look at the article Pollinator decline and consider contributing there. Dyanega (talk) 05:18, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Recent decline in North America

I see the CCD is something that has appears to have existed for decades. I'm interested in catering to people specifically interested in the recent disappearance of 2007. I think that this article is very well researched and sourced, but I'm not seeing the recent spike very well represented in this article. For now, I'm going to make North American bee disappearance of 2007. The two can always be merged at some point, when more data is out about the recent spike.Yeago 19:31, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

That's because there's no actual hard evidence that there really is a recent "disappearance" of bees. The March 2007 issue of BeeCulture magazine (page 16) includes a survey of winter losses. The losses are reported to be about the same as last year. Rossami (talk) 12:56, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I have restructured the introduction to highlight the recent developments that prompted the naming of the syndrome - for now, as Rossami points out, the "spike" is not based on evidence, only anecdote, so the use of the word "alleged" is still appropriate. Dyanega 18:57, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Similar problems seem to appear in Canada (Quebec), too. Here are two articles (in French) on Radio Canada, and Cyberpresse, a Press Site. Quebec UQAM University Professor De Oliveira seems to be a good potential first-hand source. FredT34 21:54, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

De Oliveira should be contacted. The Cyberpresse article is very intriguing, it mentions 2 factors (>>10% winter loss and lack of parasites in affected hives) which scream out CCD. It's actually the first piece I have seen that mentions the diagnostic criteria for CCD as present in supposed cases abroads. Yet, they might have simply picked the info up from somewhere (like Wikipedia ;-) ). Of course, geography and all... I thought 2 days ago "when are we getting good data from Canada?" and lo and behold.
So we should try and get a fix on whether the Cyberpresse article is an accurate description of what happens in Quebec, or whether the CCD symptoms are "retconned" onto that. The scale alone suggests strongly that it's the same thing as in the US (compare to Europe's supposed "CCD cases", which is really a 40% or so reduction in hive numbers over a period of nearly a decade. Bad Times for Bees, but not CCD. Dysmorodrepanis 01:10, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
I didn't feel these articles were just other CCD-mania papers - they don't mention 'CCD' that much. I'm volunteer to try to email-reach both the journalist, to get sources, and De Oliveira - perhaps it would be a good thing to prepare some questions on this page... (including bidirectional translation...) Anyway, it seems that the spring (and CCD ?) reached Canada together. Right now I can think about these questions (please feel free to add yours!)
- when did this begin in Canada - which symptoms have been observed - how many hives are affected so far - any official organism coordinating research efforts - any pan-(north?)-american coordination ? FredT34 22:38, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Basis for any CCD diagnoses that might have been taken (eg were the criteria herein applied or what? An interesting read that paper BTW). These articles 'ring' very different from the rest to me too. Many thanks for your help! Dysmorodrepanis 21:33, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Point removed

Although sourced, I've removed this sentence "* Presence of capped brood in colonies." from the list of symptoms of colony collapse being imminent. It's clear from sources all over the internet (and by looking in a colony, though that would violate WP:OR), that capped brood is present in all healthy colonies through most of the year, being the final stage of pupal development for the bee. Looking for input from others here - the source says what I've removed ad verbatim, but it could plasibly be a typo, or a cause not fully qualified (perhaps it colony collapse is characterised by a lack of capped brood (though this is normal during some parts of the year) or only capped brood (again, normal towards the tail end of the season)). What do you think? Martinp23 20:01, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

The source itself says the capped brood may be an indicator of CCD causing the death of a colony in an already dead one, however this condition (of death having happened already) isn't portrayed effectively in the article (to me, at least). Martinp23 20:03, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I have added it back though I think we still need to write the paragraph to make the real indicators clear. The underlying issue is that honeybees will almost never abandon a hive which has capped brood in place. If the colony is starving (such as at the end of winter), the adult bees will cannibalize first the eggs then the brood in an attempt to sustain enough nurse bees to revive the colony when the winter breaks. They won't abandon the colony with resources still in place. If the colony is dying of other factors, the adult bees will stay to the end attempting to raise new bees either to revive the colony or to support a new swarm. The fact that the adult bees are gone but the baby bees remain is one of the key differentiators alleged between CCD and "normal" colony death. Rossami (talk) 04:07, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Found the problem. Our article said "any of the symptoms". In fact, a colony requires all of the symptoms be categorized as a CCD candidate. Whoever drafted the paragraph misread the source. It's fixed now. Rossami (talk)

CCD and related phenomena

Blue Tie recently reverted my addition of Decline in amphibian populations from the CCD article. I understand his/her reason for doing so, as it is obviously correct that amphibians are rather unrelated to honeybees -- and indeed the phenomenon of amphibian declines is in all likelihood wholly unconnected to CCD. At the same time these are broadly analogous phenomena and as such, I think the amphibian article may be of interest to certain readers of the CCD article -- indeed, serendipitous cross-fertilization (metaphorically speaking of course) is often illuminating to the scientific endeavor. I sitll argue that putting it there is perfectly appropriate, but at the very least another solution would be to create a new section on "Other related phenomena" (i.e. "related" does not imply causality, but merely a reference to its topical similarity). The thoughts of others on this are encouraged. Cheers, Arjuna 03:26, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

How about linking each to the other under a "see also" section and annotating it with "a mass dieoff of bees/amphibians that does not seem to be causally related"? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dysmorodrepanis (talkcontribs) 10:20, 4 May 2007 (UTC).

CCD is also referenced in M. Night Shyamalan's movie, The Happening (2008). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Daphmax (talkcontribs) 22:37, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Existence confirmed?

The article currently includes the sentence "The cause of the syndrome is not yet well understood and even the existence of this disorder remains disputed." Several editors have attempted to remove that sentence claiming that "the time for denial is past". Denial has nothing to do with scientific fact. The existence of this disorder as a separate and discreted malady remains unproven to date and is still the subject of vigorous debate among bee researchers.

Several people have requested citations for the dispute. Footnoting has never been my forte but here are a few sources that I know about:

  • Dr J Ellis (keynote speaker) in comments made at the 2007 Tri-County Beekeepers Association Seminars (as reported by K Flottum)
  • BEE-L discussion forum (a moderated discussion by bee researchers)
  • Winter loss statistics reported in the Mar 2007 BeeCulture magazine (p 16)

Few of these people are saying that CCD definitely does not exist, merely that it remains in question and that we ought not to rush to judgment. Personally, I like Dr J Tew's comment (in the Feb 2007 Ohio Info Bee newsletter) that "The numerous general symptoms combined with the broad timeframe become encompassing enough to include nearly any dead colony."

It might be real - or it might be hysteria over higher than average but still normal winter losses. Our article needs to reflect what remains unknown as well as what is known. Rossami (talk) 14:36, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

To this list you can add several radio, TV, and newspaper appearances/quotations of California's leading apicultural scientist, Eric Mussen of UC Davis, who also has not yet accepted the claims either that this is a disease, or that it is new, and has emphasized the role of stress on colony survival. For the most part, it appears that the beekeepers are ready and willing to accept the claims of it being a disease, but the scientists are not. There is a fundamental problem here, after all; it is rather difficult to scientifically evaluate a phenomenon that has already occurred - how do you run an experiment to test your hypothesis (short of using a time machine)? In such cases, one looks for correlations of factors before and after, and in the present case, the most prominent correlation is the one to stress. Dyanega 17:02, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
The scientific issue is probably centered on the fact that this is a syndrome. Hence the name-change from "Fall Dwindling Disease" to CCD. This may get people confused (e.g. journalists) who don't understand the difference between a disease and a syndrome. They're likely to take the scientific opinion to mean, wrongly, that CCD "doesn't exist". (Compare AIDS, which is not a "disease" but a fatal condition caused by whatever disease or parasite is common at the particular time and place. In Russia, many AIDS victims die of TB. In the US, many die of PCP. In Africa and Asia, many die of malaria. And so on. A disease needs a known direct causative agent (the disease caused by HIV is not AIDS, but Th4+ leukopenia for example). A syndrome only needs to be a distinct phenotypical entity, which CCD is: a catastrophic collapse of colony integrity with no observable mass mortality in-hive. Note there needs to be no information on scale, or since when it has occurred. It might even always have been there and simply been overlooked for the phenomenon itself (as outlined in the "Symptoms" section) to be a unique and distinct condition.
As there are streamlined diagnostic criteria, the assumption that "CCD doesn't exist" seems to have about as much merit among the scientists concerned as the theory that "AIDS doesn't exist". That is to say, it's a possibly mentionable fringe opinion, but a fringe opinion nonetheless. "CCD is not a disease" is a scientifically possible claim, as of yet. AIDS, for example, is not a disease strictly speaking: it is the consequences of some disease (like maybe pleuritis) stacked on top of another (Th4+ leukopenia), hence the "S" (for "syndrome") in AIDS. The CCD phenomenon cannot be explained by any bee disease known to science. The rest is simply misreading or -understanding the difference between a causative and a descriptive analysis: the latter - required to define a "syndrome" - is done for CCD, the former - required to define a "disease" - is ongoing but no results yet. Dysmorodrepanis 00:55, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Poisonous plants

What's the use of this paragraph? These plants have been around since Hector was a pup. If there is reason to suspect that they are involved in CCD, there should be a sentence to explain why they might have waited several hundred years before causing such havoc.--Cancun771 07:42, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

You need not be so skeptical, I think. I have added a statement to clarify the closing sentence, which had been intended to address precisely that point. Further, there is no evidence that CCD has NOT been around for hundreds of years - as you will note, there are records going back to the 1890's. Dyanega 18:15, 16 March 2007 (UTC)