June 11, 2013 | On Solid Ground, CAHNRS | by Bob Hoffman
Honey bees face a lot of challenges, according to Steve Sheppard, professor of entomology at WSU. Invasive mites can sap a brood’s strength and vector viruses. Pesticides can build up in the brood comb and gradually weaken the bees. And while the agricultural practice of monoculture provides a lot of food, it offers little of the nutritional variety that bees need. Some of these threats may weaken or kill a hive on their own, but a combination of factors is thought to be the cause of colony collapse disorder, in which the worker bees abruptly disappear, and the entire local population is doomed.