The mystery of vanishing honeybees is still not definitively solved | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


News

The mystery of vanishing honeybees is still not definitively solved

The sudden disappearances of the previous decade have been dwarfed by other pollinator problems

By
1:42pm, January 17, 2018
worker honeybee

BEE COLD CASE  Just what caused sudden disappearances of honeybees (a worker bee shown) about a decade ago is still a matter of scientific debate.

It was one of the flashiest mysteries in the news about a decade ago — honeybee workers were vanishing fast for no clear reason. To this day, that puzzle has never been entirely solved, researchers acknowledge.

And maybe it never will be. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, as the sudden mass honeybee losses were called, has faded in recent years as mysteriously as it began. It’s possible the disappearances could start up again, but meanwhile bees are facing other problems.

CCD probably peaked around 2007 and faded since, says Jeff Pettis, who during the heights of national curiosity was running the Beltsville, Md., honeybee lab for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research wing. And five years have passed since Dennis vanEngelsdorp, who studies bee health at the University of Maryland in College Park, has seen a “credible case” of colony collapse.

Beekeepers still report some cases, but Pettis and vanEngelsdorp aren’t

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content