Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or Western honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term Colony Collapse Disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.
Honey bees entering a beehive.
European beekeepers observed similar phenomena in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree. Possible cases of CCD have also been reported in Taiwan since April 2007.
The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases (i.e., pathogens including Nosema apis and Israel acute paralysis virus). Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides (e.g. neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid), and migratory beekeeping. More highly speculative possibilities have included both cell phone radiation and genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics, though experts point out no evidence exists for either assertion.