The U.S. House of Representatives held a Hearing to review the status of pollinator health including colony collapse disorder (hearing before the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture of the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, second session, June 26, 2008), providing abundant evidence of the cost and effect of CCD on farmers nationwide and USDA's research efforts to date.
The NYT story addresses the mysterious nature of colony collapse, and the fortuitous result of academic/military collaboration to research the cause:
"Human nature and bee nature were interconnected in how the puzzle pieces came together. Two brothers helped foster communication across disciplines. A chance meeting and a saved business card proved pivotal. Even learning how to mash dead bees for analysis — a skill not taught at West Point — became a factor.Now that the cause of CCD is more clearly understood, how can it be treated? That remains elusive:
"One perverse twist of colony collapse that has compounded the difficulty of solving it is that the bees do not just die — they fly off in every direction from the hive, then die alone and dispersed. That makes large numbers of bee autopsies — and yes, entomologists actually do those — problematic."
"Scientists in the project emphasize that their conclusions are not the final word. The pattern, they say, seems clear, but more research is needed to determine, for example, how further outbreaks might be prevented, and how much environmental factors like heat, cold or drought might play a role.Published in NYT online September 6, 2010.
"They said that combination attacks in nature, like the virus and fungus involved in bee deaths, are quite common, and that one answer in protecting bee colonies might be to focus on the fungus — controllable with antifungal agents — especially when the virus is detected."
By KIRK JOHNSON