I'm inclined to believe that there are several forces at play here, most of which have been discussed and debated, that have all managed to "peak" at the same point on the time line. A combination of forces coming to a head simultaneously and then all of them being shoved under the CCD umbrella makes it nearly impossible to determine "the cause".
This would explain in my mind why this same kind of sudden beekeeping disaster has occurred at different times in the past, prior to chemicals and pesticides.... perhaps an inevitable natural cycle in the culling of the weak.
But I still look at neonicotinoids with suspicion as being at least one of the "current" contributing factors. Could it be that the damage to bees attributed to neonicotinoids is being masked by the intense focus on confirmed cases of disease, mite damage, or hive chemical abuse?
I know that it has been widely used for years, prior to this current CCD crisis. But does anyone have solid data showing the "increase" in product sales which incorporate neonicotinoids over the past few years. Thinking back, I don't remember seeing neonicotinoids in lawn care products, potting soil, etc. I do today. Right now, if bees are anywhere near human activity they are probably exposed to it whether its in a rural or urban region. Several of my neighbors treat their beautiful lawns for grubs and other underground pests with .... you guessed it. And when dandelions and dutch clover show up in the spring, you'll find honeybees working the blooms. I know neonicotiniods have been around for a while but if their use recently has tripled or quadrupled and expanded out further into the urban areas, we can't shove them off the table and discount it as a problem simply because they were in use prior to CCD.
I'm not pointing any fingers, but I'll sure keep my eyes open on this. Doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling, if you know what I mean.
To everything there is a season....