A progress report highlighting current research on the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder has been released by USDA. The report, mandated by Congress in 2008, summarizes research by federal agencies, state departments of agriculture, universities and private organizations that is designed to find the cause of CCD and how to stop or mitigate its impact. USDA Ag Research Service Administrator Edward Knipling notes about 130 crops depend on pollination to add more than $15 billion in crop value annually. So honey bees are critical to U.S. agriculture and this report provides an important measure of what's been learned about the serious problem of CCD.
CCD is a syndrome characterized by the sudden disappearance of all adult honey bees in a colony. It was first recognized in 2006 and since then surveys of beekeepers indicate the industry is suffering losses of more than 30% each year. Before the problem of CCD emerged losses averaged in the range of 15% to 20%.
A number of causes for CCD have been proposed and investigated in the past three years. While the cause or causes are still unknown, the research summarized in this 2010 report supports the hypothesis that many factors at work individually or in combination are the reason for CCD.