They call it “colony collapse disorder.” Thousands of bees vanish, and nobody knows why.
It’s happening all over North America. Honeybees are disappearing. They’re not dying, and they’re not failing to reproduce. They’re just . . . leaving; often half the bees in a colony just fly away and don’t come back. Scientists don’t know where they’re going or why. but half the populations have left apiraries in 24 states.
While scientists studying this baffling phenomenon don’t know where the bees are going or why, they are more certain about some of the negative impacts their departures will mean. About a third of the food we eat depends on the pollination bees provide. Honey comes to mind immediately, but fruit and vegetables depend on bees for pollination. So does alfalfa, and it’s food for cattle, so that means getting stung at the market as scarcity drives prices higher.