Colony Collapse Disorder is Not New

CLAIM: CCD is a new threat, which indicates it is linked to modern technologies such as pesticides.

REALITY: CCD does not appear to be a new phenomenon as there are reported cases of similar disappearances of colonies going back decades even before we employed modern pesticides.

The mysterious disappearance of hives is not a completely new phenomenon. University of Florida entomologist Jamie Ellis explains:

In fact, many colonies have died over the past 50-60 years displaying symptoms similar to those of CCD. The disorder as described in older literature has been called spring dwindle disease, fall dwindle disease, autumn collapse, May disease, and disappearing disease. We may never know if these historic occurrences share a common cause with modern-day CCD. They do, however, share the symptoms.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, points out similarly curious honeybee disappearances in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1960s. On its website, ARS notes several cases, including the disappearance of 2,000 colonies in Cache Valley in Utah during 1903, “after a ‘hard winter and a cold spring,’” as well as a the disappearance of 53 percent of the hives in Pennsylvania following the winter of 1995-1996. We cannot be sure these disappearances happened for the same reason they do today, but they are reason to doubt that this is a new problem caused by modern pesticides.


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