About Colony Collapse Disorder

Imagine a world without honey bees.

Now imagine a world without flowers and more important, without fruits and vegetables.

How about milk and livestock? They would have nothing to eat so they would eventually disappear.

Do you understand just how important this one little insect is to our existence?

We rely on honey bees for one-third of our food supply, so when honey bees are in danger, we’re all in danger.

Over the last three years more than one in three honey bee colonies has died nationwide, posing a serious risk to our natural food supply. One cause of these losses is an alarming phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, or “CCD.” When a hive experiences CCD, the honey bees mysteriously desert their hive and die. CCD symptoms have been reported by more than thirty-five states across the U.S. and in many other countries.

Researchers do not know exactly what causes CCD, but they believe there may be many factors contributing to the problem, including viruses, mites, chemical exposure and poor nutrition. Recently scientists have found evidence that the pesticides used “systemically” may be the cause of CCD. With the release of a new study by Pennsylvania State University, researchers found “unprecedented levels” of pesticides in honeybees and hives in the United States. Click here for more details on this study.

Systemic Ingestion

When a honey bee returns to the hive after finding a good pollen source, it gives out samples of the flower’s nectar to its hive mates and performs a dance that details the distance, direction, quality and quantity of the food supply. The richer the food source, the longer and more vigorous the dance. It is believed that when this nectar, which contains pesticides systemically aquired, is ingested by the other bees the pesticide chemicals are passed-down to the next generation of bees and causing the CCD phenomenon. This makes it very difficult to directly correlate the effects of pesticides as the cause of CCD.

Some Bee Facts

  • One out of every three bites of food an average American eats is directly attributed to honey bee pollination.
  • Honey bees are responsible for the pollination of more than 100 crops, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and provide 80 percent of the country’s pollination services.
  • The honey bee is responsible for $15 billion in U.S. agricultural crops each year.
  • Bees fly approximately 10 to 15 miles per hour and visit about 50—100 flowers in each pollination trip.
  • To produce one pound of honey, honey bees must visit two million flowers and fly 55,000 miles.

How You Can Help

The key to saving the honey bees is finding a solution to Colony Collapse Disorder. Pennsylvania State University and University of California at Davis have two of the world´s leading honey bee research facilities. Companies like Häagen-Dazs have donated a total of $620,000 to both universities. Join these concerned companies in supporting their research through direct donations.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University, College of Agricultural Sciences     Penn State is one of the leading universities addressing the many issues facing the beekeeping industry. Donations help to provide immediate funds for continued community outreach and sponsorship of Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research’s first International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy.

The University of California at Davis

The University of California at Davis Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility is the largest and most comprehensive state-supported apiculture facility and staff in North America. Häagen-Dazs® ice cream’s contributions will support the maintenance of the Häagen-Dazs®Honey Bee Haven demonstration garden and the development of educational signage.       The Honey Bee Haven is a one-half acre bee-friendly garden coordinated by the California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis. Visitors to the garden are able to glean ideas on how to establish their own bee-friendly gardens and help to improve the nutrition of bees in their own backyards.

 Let It Bee

No one is more affected by the honey bee crisis than local beekeepers. Many have lost entire hives to CCD, and their knowledge is a valuable resource for understanding the challenge we face. Here are some ways to support these bee guardians.
– Buy local honey and hive products such as beeswax candles.
– Use natural honey as an alternative to processed sugar at home and in restaurants.    It’s the “greenest” form of sugar!

Learn more about CCD, honey bees and beekeeping by checking out the following Web sites:

American Beekeeping Federation—abfnet.org
American Honey Producers—americanhoneyproducers.org
Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium—maarec.cas.psu.edu
National Honey Board—honey.com/about
Pollinator Partnership-pollinator.org—www.pollinator.org
Penn State Dept. of Entomology—ento.psu.edu/HoneyBeeResearch.html
U.C. Davis Dept. of Entomology—entomology.ucdavis.edu/dept/beebio.cfm
Michael Schacker— A Spring Without Bees
Plan Bee Central— http://planbeecentral.wordpress.com/
Help the Honey Bees
Sierra Club Pollinator Campaign Petition
The Global Regeneration Network
The Honeybee Conservancy


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