Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of working bees in a colony disappear and leave behind the queen, and the rest of the colony. Hives cannot sustain without worker bees and the colony would eventually die. Fortunately, what was once thought to be a major long-term threat to bees, CCD has been reported to have dropped over the last few years.
Some of the best tell-tale signs of CCD are discovering a few dead bees around and near the colony and a lower population of a colony. Another is discovering the queen and young bees remaining with an abundance of honey and pollen reserves. Colony Collapse Disorder isn’t the only reason for a declining colony; here are some other reasons as to why a hive has died:
- Certain pesticides are harmful to bees. Most pesticides have labels that indicate if they are harmful to pollinators. You must always read instructions of a pesticide before usage.
- The bees starved to death. A true indication of this happening is if you discover bees inside their cells with their butt pointing out. This occurs mostly in the winter and a big reason is due to the weather being too cold or a beekeeper harvesting too much honey, which is why honey should be harvested in the springtime.
- The hive was impacted by a disease. Varroa mites can infiltrate a hive and spread many diseases that impact the health of the bees. Over time, if left untreated, the bees will begin to die. A telltale sign of a mite infestation is discovering a dead colony inside of a hive that’s full of honey.
The honeybee community understands how detrimental it is to discover a colony collapse no matter what the reasoning is. As a homeowner, there are some ways for you to get involved with helping the bees:
- Plant a bee garden that encourages pollination. They typically include bee-friendly plants like lavender, cosmos, bee balm, butterfly bushes, geraniums, marigolds, and so many other options.
- Support local beekeepers and organizations by purchasing honey, beeswax products like soap, lotions, and candles, and you could also donate your time to volunteering for local beekeeping societies.
- Creating a bee bath is a simple way to give back. Use a bird bath and place pebbles or rocks in shallow water to allow bees to take breaks and drink water.
If you discover a beehive on or around your property, be sure to reach out to your local certified honeybee removal company to ensure the safety of the hive and colony.