Beekeepers in 22 states have reported the collapse of large numbers of honey bee colonies as warmer temperatures prompt the beekeepers to examine over-wintered colonies for the first time in spring. In some cases no adult bees were found in the colony, and few if any dead bees had built up in front of the colony. Colony collapses were first reported in 2006, and already reports are rolling in for the 2007 season.
University of Tennessee Extension cautions against panic, however. We do not know if Colony Collapse Disorder is present in Tennessee at this time. Some beekeepers have discovered losses higher than normal, while others have lost only a few colonies from definable causes.
Some experts are even questioning the existence of the disorder. There is much confusion about this disorder because no causative agent has yet been discovered. It's been labeled a "mystery killer" and the "AIDS" of beekeeping, but this statement only stirs emotions without justification."
Honey bees play an important economic role in agriculture. Nationally, the insects serve as pollinators of numerous crops valued in excess of $14 billion annually. In Tennessee, Skinner says the value is more like $67 million. Crops include fruits and vegetables – practically everything from apples to blackberries, pumpkin, squash, cucumbers and beans. Commercial beekeepers offer pollination services by transporting their colonies to contracting farms.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.