North American bee catastrophe unfolds

North American bee catastrophe unfolds
# 04 May 2010 04:27 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The latest findings show that a third of the US honeybee population has perished as scientists are still flummoxed in their efforts to find a cause for the unfolding eco-catastrophe, APA reports quoting website.

About 33.8 percent of US honeybees have died off during the past winter, decimating the country’s 2.4 million beehives for the fourth consecutive year, the British daily The Guardian reported on Sunday.

The decline of the bee colonies began in 2006 with the onset of a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder (CCD), which has exterminated billions of honeybees worldwide and destroyed more than three million colonies in the US.

Scientists have been unable to confirm the exact cause of the catastrophe, which has worried both beekeepers and scientists, who have warned of the possibility of a global biological disaster since honeybees play a significant role in the pollination process.

It is estimated that one third of human beings’ foodstuffs depend on honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute around $40 billion to the global economy, the report said.

Scientists have pointed to a number of potential causes such as parasites, bacterial infections, pesticides, and poor nutrition caused by intensive farming methods.

The disappearance of so many colonies has also been dubbed "Mary Celeste syndrome" due to the absence of dead bees in many of the empty hives, the British paper added.

"We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure, and other stressors are converging to kill colonies," said Jeffery Pettis of the US Agricultural Research Service.

Some parts of Europe, Asia, and South America have also been affected by honey bee disappearances.