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Colony Collapse Disorder: Where Have All The Honey Bees Gone?

National experts Dr. May Berenbaum, Professor and Department Head of Entomology, University of Illinois-Urbana (UIUC) and Dr. Dennis van Engelsdorp, Apiarist for the State of Pennsylvania, will be joined by Dr. Erik Whalen-Pedersen, President of the Northern Illinois Beekeeper's Association and UIUC student researcher Cindy McDonnell to form a distinguished panel to describe the phenomenon termed as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and discuss its impact on the world's food basket, the environment, and the economy.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has gained considerable national and international attention especially among entomologists as more and more beekeepers report higher than usual colony losses. The main symptom is finding no or a low number of adult honey bees present with no dead bees in the hive. According to a February 2007 article published in the New York Times, bee losses are ranging from 30 to 60 percent on the West Coast, with some beekeepers on the East Coast and in Texas reporting losses of more than 70 percent; beekeepers consider a loss of up to 20 percent in the off season to be normal. The abrupt disappearance of honeybee colonies in North America was first noticed in 2006. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers the mysterious disappearance of honeybees as a critical environmental issue.

Honeybees ensure our country's food supply. More than 100 agricultural crops are pollinated by honeybees and a third of the food that Americans consume comes directly from pollination. The continued decline in honeybee survival may signal increased food prices and decreased food availability.

Recorded Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at Chicago State University.

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