Dubbed "colony collapse disorder," or CCD, it's been blamed for a dramatic decline in bee populations, with some commercial beekeepers reporting declines in their colonies anywhere from 50-90 percent, according to the Working Group on CCD, a recently established research group at Penn State University.
Millions of bees have simply vanished. In most cases, all that's left in the hives are the doomed offspring. But dead bees are nowhere to be found -- neither in nor anywhere close to the hives.
Tags: Honeybee, Ecology, genetics, CCD
As the end of the ancient calendar (2012) draws near, one may wonder how much time man has left on this planet. Is there a possible connection between genetic engineering and diseases in bees? If so, our fate is sealed. Since November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic ( "colony collapse disorder," or CCD ) it eclipses all previous incidences of mass mortality. It's like the "bee version" of HIV/AIDS. Beekeepers on the east coast complain they've lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent.
In an article in its business section in late February, the New York Times calculated the damage US agriculture would suffer if bees died out. Experts at Cornell University in upstate New York have estimated the value bees generate -- by pollinating fruit and vegetable plants, almond trees and animal feed like clover -- at more than $14 billion.
Some experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor. The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.
Ian Gilfillan reacts to a report by Greenspeace that genetically modified maize may be toxic, “Since maize is a staple diet in South Africa, especially for poor communities, it’s long been a concern that South Africa’s poor has been experimented on in this way, as in most countries, GMO foods are niche foods, not a staple.”
At the moment, the question is when, as in what year--- 2008, 9, 10 , 11 --- will "Silent Spring" appear. Beekeepers in the weeks to come will be monitoring their hives to see what happens as spring arrives.
See Also: Silent Spring study guide, including 87 pages of chapter summaries, essays, quotes, and more.
The CBS Report That Helped 'Silent Spring' Be Heard