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Colony Collapse Disorder

In 2006, a phenomenon appeared in the US and Europe that became known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Beekeepers would find their colonies (that appeared healthy weeks beforehand) had collapsed. These colonies did not exhibit the typical symptoms of dead colonies and instead had the following traits:

  • Majority of the adult bees had disappeared
  • Few or no dead bodies found in or around the hive
  • Colony still contains a queen, brood, stored food (honey and pollen)
  • The remaining food stores are not immediately robbed by bees from neighboring colonies or pests
  • levels of parasites (Varroa and Nosema) are below the economic threshold

Today, CCD is not as prevalent as it was from 2006-2010, with only a few cases reported in the past few years. However, many beekeepers are still losing colonies for other reasons, many of which remain unknown. It is important to note that CCD is not synonymous with colony decline. Colonies can die from a variety of reasons, including queen loss, poor nutrition, varroa mite infestation, and disease. The current high levels of colony decline in New York and elsewhere are not attributed to CCD.