We need bees, and bees are dying en masse, have been since about 2005, when a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) was first given a name. We named the result without knowing its cause. Curing CCD has proven extremely complex, the ailment seems as knotty as interconnected as the industry the bees serve. As Andrew Coté, co-founder of New York City Beekeepers, told me years ago, "Asking to explain what causes CCD is like asking what causes poverty."
So we need bees because, without them, we wouldn't have all these foods we love; and right now, with fewer of them, the foods we love are going to cost more. We have only some vague notions of what it is that could be killing them off so quickly, and all possible causes -- bad nutrition, pesticides, an itinerant lifestyle that's full of unnatural stresses -- point to the very system of which they are a central part. Hives, like the agriculture industry, are such complex, tightly organized systems that if a few bees fall unwell the whole structure might fall apart. As Dave Hackenburg, who runs an industrial pollination services company in Pennsylvania, says, "If you start shortening lives of bees, just by a few days, young bees have to go to the field earlier, and the whole thing gets messed up."
We have lost as much as 30% of our honeybee colonies each year for the last several years. While no single cause has been isolated, how we manage our beekeeping and agricultural practices may be the most important means of bringing back our honeybee populations. Some of the apparent causes that are attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder include the use of pesticides by commercial farmers & home gardeners, as well as viruses, mites & other ailments that attack our honeybees.
Our mission is to raise awareness about Colony Collapse Disorder and to help people learn about backyard beekeeping & the influence honeybees have on our food production and life in general. ONE THIRD of all the food we eat comes from crops pollinated by honeybees!!!
We're noticing the lack of bees on our own farm... historically, our orchards would be buzzing with bees, but there is less of that sweet sound today. We are considering installing our own bee colony in order to have enough pollinaton for our crops... it is worrisome!