There has been a fresh outbreak of Colony Collapse Disorder reported by several commercial beekeepers throughout the USA. When questioned, one of the leading commercial beekeepers said “In my entire beekeeping career I have never seen anything quite like this. The bottom brood box just collapsed, killing most of the bees. Yesterday everything was fine, but now this morning the bottom brood chamber has collapsed down to about 4 inches high.” The beekeeper didn’t want his name released for fear that if his clientele got wind of this, they would no longer want his collapsing colonies on their property. “Well I certainly don’t want beehives falling over on my strawberries” said one large truck farmer in New Jersey.
While some experts were pointing to rotten woodenware, beekeepers say, “No way! I assembled this box last year from good pine stock”, Other researchers have been looking for a correlation between Colony Collapse and woodenware vendors. This has sparked a lawsuit from Dadant who claims “These people are deliberately maligning our reputation”. Mann Lake could not be reached for comment, but there have been rumors that Mann Lake may be initiating a recall on some pre-painted deep supers.
Top officials at USDA insist that this is nothing new and there have been episodes like this in the past, pointing to a 1926 report where an epidemic of honeybee losses were reported. Jeff Pettis (USDA entomologist) said yesterday that “Yes this is very similar to the 1926 epidemic, however back them we called it “Fall Dwindle Disease” or ‘FDD’”.
Bert Namen, a 97 year old beekeeper from Minot, Maine doesn’t buy the “we have seen this before” story. Namen says “Ah ya we had Fall Dwindle Disease back in the 20s’ alright, but it wasn’t anything like what we see now. Back then colonies dwindled very slowly. You would start with a box that was 21” x 16” on Monday and by Friday it would dwindle down to 19” x 14”. Thing is it dwindled equally in all directions, including the frames. Ruined the bee-space inside the hive and the whole thing would get glued together with propolis so tight you couldn’t open it with a potato shovel.”
Meanwhile backyard beekeepers are ignoring CCD and are clamoring to get their hands on a Varroa Destructor. They claim mites are killing their hives and desperately need something to destroy the mites.