Inside the hive there is a strict social order. All honeybees have specific jobs to fulfill. The queen, workers, drones, and young make up a colony. Without all of these bees, the colony will collapse.
Photo Courtesy of Wendy Booth, Beekeeper New Hampshire Beekeepers Association
Colony Collapse Disorder is a mysterious phenomenon. CCD is a term used to describe the disappearances of honeybees from the hive. The honeybees leave no sign of what happened to the colony, but vanish without a trace. When scientists use the term "disappear", it means there are no traces of where the bees went or what happened to the colony.
Capped Brood are honeybee pupae stored inside sealed honeycomb cells. Another term for this is sealed brood.
Photo Courtesy of Wendy Booth, Beekeeper New Hampshire Beekeepers' Association
Usually the hive has been left vacant, even though there is still a food source of pollen and honey.
However, not all of the honeybees disappear. Usually, the only bees that are left in the hive are the queen bee, capped brood, and a couple of worker bees. No other honeybees will eat the stored food. Nor will other insects touch the food left behind by the colony.
In fact, since Colony Collapse Disorder is still not well understood, scientists are not even positive it is an actual disorder.
Photo Courtesy of Ben Cooper, Beekeeper Allegheny Mountain Beekeepers Association
Since beekeepers and scientists are not certain if the disappearances are the result of disease, parasites, pesticides, or environmental factors, the phenomenon has been labeled as a disorder.
Scientists are still trying to figure out what is going on with the bees, but so far there seems to be no answers.
Honeybees are important pollinators for hundreds of crops. Above, pollination of a strawberry plant in Okayama prefecture, Japan.
Photo Courtesy of Hiroto Fujiyoshi, Yamada Farm Beekeeping Division, Okayama, Japan Yamada Apiculture Center, Inc.
The problem is that honeybees are necessary pollinators for our crops. About 80% of all pollination is done by honeybees. If honeybees continue to disappear, then an estimated 1/3 of our food will no longer exist. This is why it is so important to try to figure out what is bugging the honeybees.
Honeybee on Flower on postcard from Wikipedia, public domain. All other photos are credited above.
All graphics created by team members.