Pollinator research ramps up as bee colony numbers decline

Pollinator research ramps up as bee colony numbers decline

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 3 out of every 10 colonies die out. The reasons are numerous, but many look at the use of pesticides as a main cause. To make matters worse, in 2006 an apiary owner in Lewisburg, Pa., alerted Penn State researchers of a new problem, now known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This mysterious condition causes massive numbers of honeybee colonies vanish without any trace. "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. Produced by C Roy Parker