OCA's Honey Bee Health Resource Page
Bees pollinate a significant majority of the world's food. Of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. In North America alone, honey bees pollinate nearly 95 kinds of fruits, including almonds, avocados, cranberries and apples.
More about Bees
Native Bees, Solitary Bees and Wild Bees: What are They, How Many Are There and Why Are They Important?
Buzz About Bees: Bees Are Amazing!
Bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate.
The mysterious disappearance of honeybee populations around the world since 2006 is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Bee colonies affected by CCD can appear healthy prior to collapse. But suddenly the adult bees disappear from the colonies, leaving behind a box full of honey, pollen, capped brood (developing larvae), a queen, and maybe a few worker bees. Dead adult bees are often found some distance away from the hive. Since 2007, USDA data shows that 21 to 33 percent of honey bee colonies are dying each winter, and that there has been a marked increase in summer mortality when bees should be thriving. Previously , beekeepers would anticipate losing less than 10 percent of their bees each year.
The likely culprit: Pesticides
Shortly after the EPA approved the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, or “neonics,” bee colonies began disappearing in the U.S. The insecticides weaken a bee’s immune system. Forager bees bring pesticide-laden pollen and nectar back to the hive, and six months later the bees fall prey to natural bee infections. Many pathogens, such as Varroa mites, Nosema, and viral, fungal and bacterial infections, are found in large amounts in honey bee hives on the verge of collapse. Neonics also act as a nerve poison, causing disorientation and damaging the bee’s homing ability, which it needs to find its way back to the hive.
The Science about Bees and Pesticides
A Review of Research into the Effects of Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Bees, with Recommendations for Action
No Longer a Big Mystery: Recent scienctific research confirms the role of pesticides in pollinator decline
Center For Food Safety:
Heavy Costs: Weighing the Value of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Agriculture
GMOs and Bees
Neonicotinoids are primarily used as an insecticidal seed treatment. Over 90 percent of GMO corn and canola seed is treated with these systemic pesticides, as well as 50 percent of GMO soybean seed. Many factors likely contribute to CCD, including other toxic pesticides, such as glyphosate, the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.
Ground Truth: GE Corn and Sick Honey Bees - What’s the Link?
Study Says Insecticide Used with GM Corn Highly Toxic to Bees
Possible Connection Between Roundup and Colony Collapse Disorder
Monsanto and Bees
The Fox (Monsanto) Buys the Chicken Coop (Beeologics)
What is Monsanto Doing to Our Bees? (Generational Damage of Neonicotinoids)
More bee-friendly resources
Why Bees are Disappearing with Marla Spivak
The Bee Cause for Educators
OCA’s Pinterest Beekeeping page
Plant a bee-friendly garden
Gardeners Beware Report: Neonicotinoid-coated Plants Marketed as Bee-Friendly
Love Buzz: Study Finds Borage, marjoram, and certain types of lavender are among the flowers most attractive to bees
Five Early Season Plants Which Attract Pollinators to Your Garden
Take the Honey Bee Pledge
Urban Bee Projects
The Seattle Bee Project: Promoting Vibrant and Healthy Habitats for Bees and People
The Beez Kneez