Colony collapse

January 18, 2009 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

No that’s not a new name for the  global economic crisis, but it may be an omen of something far worse. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the term given to the mysterious killer or killers that have felled one fourth of the honeybee colonies in the U.S. and untold numbers across Europe during the last two years.  Honeybees, of course, are necessary to pollinate crops all over the world. If they disappear, we’re all in deep trouble.

In Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honeybee and the Coming Agriculture Crisis, food/environmental writer Rowan Jacobsen tries to figure out what’s gone wrong. He concludes it’s a lethal combination of several factors as these industrious pollinators are stressed out by overwork and poisioned by toxic chemicals and dangerous pathogens. (Egads, sounds like modern homo sapiens; could our falling bees be the yellow canaries of our human habitat? .)

“Trucked to new sites every few weeks, jacked up on high-fructose corn syrup, dosed with pesticides and antibiotics, invaded by parasites, and exposed to exotic pathogens, they are worn thinner and thinner,” Jacobsen writes, calling this frightening syndrome “‘a symptom of a larger disease — a disease of fossil fuels and chemical shortcuts, of billion-bee slums and the speed of the modern world.”

It’s not all doom and gloom. Jacobsen believes the bees that survive this plague, and their descendants, will emerge stronger and better able to resist mankind’s abuse. Jury’s still out on whether or not they will also be much meaner.

Read more in John Murawski’s review in the Raleigh News and Observer Jan. 18, 2009.

Entry filed under: Learning.

Eat local, save energy Saving the planet one meal at a time

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