Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Colony Collapse Disorder"

I'm just passing this one on--from Alexei Barrionuevo, at The New York Times:

More than a quarter of the country’s 2.4 million bee colonies have been lost — tens of billions of bees, according to an estimate from the Apiary Inspectors of America, a national group that tracks beekeeping. So far, no one can say what is causing the bees to become disoriented and fail to return to their hives.

According to Barrionuevo, 27 states in the U.S. have been hit by colony collapse, with some honeybee populations disappearing in as little as two days. Some European countries, as well as Guatemala and Brazil are also looking for explanations for beehive vacancies in their own regions. This could be a big deal--we all know how much our food supply depends on nature's pollinators. There are lots of theories right now, and lots of scientists looking for answers, using everything from DNA research to bee autopsies to narrow down the many possibilities. From what Barrionuevo writes, they're making progress. Let's hope the Smart People are in top form for figuring this one out. Bees are important.

Hat tip: Instapundit