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Honey bees play a very critical role in the agricultural production of U.S. Pollination done by established and managed honey bee colonies augments at least $15 billion to the worth of U.S. agriculture yearly with amplified yields and top-quality produce. But managed honey has been under some serious pressure for quite some time now, which has resulted in the collapse of many colonies. Let's have a look at why honey production is reducing in the United States:
Colony Collapse Disorder
One of the main problems that have been affecting honey bees is colony collapse disorder (CCD). It is a syndrome which is called a dead colony that has no fully-grown bees and no dead bee bodies but a live queen. These colonies usually have honey and young bees. To date, no accurate scientific reason has been given that causes CCD. Most researches point towards various factors that might be responsible for CCD, and perhaps not all of them are involved in CCD incidents.
However, CCD is not the only major threat to the health of honey bees and the production of honey in the USA. Major factors that are hurting honey bee health can be split into four general categories, including pests and parasites pathogens, poor nutrition and sustenance, and exposure to pesticides. Let's see how these factors are responsible for the decline in honey production in the US.
● Pests and Parasites - Varroa mites, which are also known as Varroa destructor, are fundamentally very much like a modern-day honey bee plague. Since its arrival in 1987 in the United States, the Varroa mite is liable for the demise of huge numbers of honey bee colonies. It is a native to Asia, Varroa normally attacks the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana.
The Varroa mites are only capable of reproducing in a honey bee colony. They attach themselves to the body of the bees and then weaken them by sucking their fat bodies. They also incidentally damage honey bees for the reason that, just like mosquitos, Varroa mites also transfer types of pathogenic diseases to honey bees, for instance, deformed wing virus.
Beekeepers have acknowledged Varroa mites as one of the most serious problems that are damaging the colonies today. Then there are small hive beetles and large beetle populations, which are also responsible for the destruction of bee colonies. Besides, wax moths that arrived in the United States in 1998, can be a very damaging insect pest for beeswax comb, comb honey, and pollen collected by bees. They can easily overcome sick colonies.
● Pathogens – From the 1980s, several new pathogens that contaminate honey bees have been found in the US. These pathogens include wing virus, paralytic viruses, Nosema ceranae fungi, and more. All these have become a major problem for bees and beekeepers in the U.S.
● Bad nutrition and sustenance – Nectar and pollen from a variety of flowers are the main sources of nutrition for the bees. The scarcity of proper nutrition is also an essential factor that deteriorates the honey bee's immune systems and makes them more susceptible to other problems.
● Pesticides – The use of pesticides also affects the growth of honey bees and damage the production of honey in the long run. Incidents of pesticide misuse while formulation or application has been reported in the past.