In 2007, reports began to surface within the United States and in Europe regarding the collapse of commercial bee colonies everywhere.
This mysterious collapse and disappearance of bees has reduced hives in the Eastern portion of the U.S. by as much as 70% by some estimates, and in the West by 50-60%. In Europe, the percentages are somewhat less. What has come to be known as Bee "Colony Collapse Disorder" has been attributed to various possible causes, though the true and ultimate cause remains unknown. Some of these possible causes listed by askquestions include:
The disappearance of the bees is affecting not only the present cost of honey, but the future of all agricultural products that depend on bees for pollinating their plants. Thus, much of commercial agriculture in the U.S. and in Europe is concerned by this unexplained bee disappearance.
Sudden changes in the balance of nature have been anticipated by the public to some degree as global warming has intruded its effects into the habitats of both artic and coastal animal and human populations. We have seen these effects related to polar bears, to coral reefs, to sea life in general, and to plant life in both forested and mountainous regions. But despite our increasing knowledge, we are not globally prepared for alterations to our diet in which basic food elements suddenly disappear.
One of the mysteries of "Colony Collapse Disorder" is that the bodies of dead bees are never found. When a hive collapses, the bees disappear forever, thought to die singly in far off places, their well-known 'homing-instinct' which keeps them associated with hives, disrupted. How can we look at this, then, and see in it a possible message for our time?
While the cause for CCD is unknown, it is likely that it is based on an interactive effect of several variables, human interaction playing a part in this as well. For a public that continues to feel separate in many ways from the physical life of the earth, it may be that the message of the bees is to let us know that we are not separate, and that our attribution of causes to agents entirely outside of ourselves may not be a correct perception.
Part of the interactive effect, the one described here, has to do with our own consuming patterns, and our still indiscriminate pollution of the natural environment with radiation from the various gadgets, devices, and machinery that we have grown accustomed to using. Another part has to do with the continuing use of substances toxic to the environment - substances that affect not only bees who lose their homing-instinct, but also whales, sea turtles, and other sea creatures who, in recent years, due to changed ocean conditions, have followed paths well outside of their natural habitats.
In the present case, both radiation of electromagnetic fields, whether by cell phones, power lines, or the use of electronic devices in general, and atmospheric pollution by toxic substances, have a profound effect on all animal populations requiring a high degree of sensitivity to internal navigational signals in order to perform basic life functions. Animals with strong homing-instincts and those that cluster at various birthing places or dying places are responding to internal messages that tell them where and when to go. It is these signals that may be interrupted by electromagnetic radiation or atmospheric pollutants which, when interacting with the body, disturb the clarity or strength of the internal signal.
We have yet to understand the true cause of "Colony Collapse Disorder," but even prior to this, can receive the message of the disappearing bees as yet another wake-up call to humanity, to recognize its effect on the environment and to take seriously the possibility that those aspects of life that we take for granted, may no longer be available to us.
The message of the bees is to let us know that we can no longer regard ourselves as separate from the natural world, but are instrumental in fostering or detracting from the future life of that world. The present demise of bee colonies, everywhere, may be telling us that there is nothing independent of anything else on the planet, and that just as we care for our relationship with our own children, we must care for our relationship with the earth's children as well.