Video: Pollinator research ramps up as bee colony numbers decline

University Park, Pa. — In the last several years, beekeepers across the country have seen the overall number of pollinator bee colonies drop dramatically. By each winter's end, about three out of every 10 colonies die out. First alerted in 2006 by an apiary owner in Lewisburg, Pa., Penn State researchers started investigating the problem, now known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This mysterious condition causes massive numbers of honeybee colonies to vanish without any trace. Since 2006, an intensified national research program has found several other possible causes of colony loss.

"Honeybees and other pollinating insects are essential because they are responsible for one out of every three bites of food you eat," said Diana Cox-Foster, Penn State professor of entomology. "More than 80 percent of all flowering plants depend on our pollinators for survival."

Cox-Foster and other Penn State experts' responses to threats against pollinator survival led them to host the first International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy, held July 24-28, 2010, at Penn State's University Park campus. In addition, the University founded a new Center for Pollinator Research.

In this video, hear from the pollinator who discovered the disorder and from entomology experts trying to determine what is threatening the future of pollinating insects -- and, ultimately, much of our nation's domestic food supply.

Watch the video produced by Curt Parker here.

Contacts: 
Last Updated April 18, 2011