Causes of Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

Conspiracy theorists say that the Rosetta mission, the European Space Agency’s long, expensive and historic trip to rendezvous with and place an unmanned landing craft Comet 67P, was actually launched in order to investigate the possibility that the comet is an extraterrestrial spacecraft of some kind.

Almost a decade ago, in 2006 a large phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) first appeared. Beekeepers and scientists alike discovered that great deals of adult honey bees were leaving their hives and failing to return, which had big ramifications for farmers and growers who use honey bees as pollinators.

For people, the effect of sunspots on electromagnetic fields and their impacts on bees is a tough principle to grasp.

Norman Carreck,

To this day, scientists are unable to recognize any single case for this phenomenon. Instead, a long list of possible cases includes pesticide residues, habitat loss, pathogens, parasitic mites, conditions, pollution, and viruses. Now a new research study released in the Journal of Apicultural Research suggests another possible case: sunspots.

Changes in magnetic fields, including those caused by solar storms, might interfere with the magnetoreceptors in honey bees so that less bees return to their hives from foraging journeys. This disruption could be so serious that the flying bees vanish from their hive, which may add to nest failure. “For people, the effect of sunspots on electromagnetic fields and their impacts on bees is a tough principle to grasp,” stated by Norman Carreck, who is the director of the International Bee Study Association. “Maybe we could liken it to humans, who count on sight, becoming lost in fog when we have no visual hints to help us determine our area. In unfamiliar area, any landmarks would be more difficult to acknowledge, so we discover it more challenging to work out where we are.”

Bees can notice and use the earth’s electromagnetic fields to help them to identify their position and find their path house. This capability, called magnetoreception, resembles that discovered in birds, fish, and dolphins. While bee magnetoreception has actually long been known, this brand-new paper is the very first to determine solar activity as one of the lots of reasons for honey bee disappearance.

Through a series of experiments, analysts found that bees that went through magnetic fields were less able to find their way home. Their homing capability likewise seems to be impacted by uncontrolled, natural changes in the Earth’s magnetosphere. Moreover, the research links recorded durations of higher levels of solar storms to improved levels of honey bee nest losses. “This fascinating research study clarifies a curious element of bee biology,” Carreck stated. “It is only part of the story of colony losses, but an aspect which benefits more study.”

This archive content was originally published September 29, 2014 (