Last year, a third of honeybee colonies in the United States quite literally vanished. Commercial honey operations, previously abuzz with many thousands of bees, fell suddenly silent, leaving scientists and beekeepers alike scratching their heads. The reasons remain mostly a mystery for what is called Colony Collapse Disorder—a disturbing development of the drying up of beehives throughout the industrialised world.
Unfortunately, there's a lot more to the problem than simply running out of honey. Bees are one of the most abundant pollinators in the natural world. They are the unsung, unpaid facilitators of human agricultural practices and have been for as long as we have sewn seeds. Their disappearance would spell disaster for our food supply, with some estimating our species lasting only four years on this planet without them. So, what can be done?