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What is Killing the Honey Bees? Colony Collapse Disorder

Updated on January 4, 2017
CatherineGiordano profile image

Catherine Giordano is a writer and public speaker who is a great admirer of honey bees.

Why are honey bees important to food resources?

Think of honey bees—apis mellifera-- as the smallest and most industrious of farm-workers. As they flit from flower to flower in search of nectar which they use to make honey, they transfer pollen from flower to flower. This is called pollination. Without pollination, many plants would not be able to produce fruit and vegetables.

Colony Collapse Disorder is a serious problem to the existence of honey bees.
Colony Collapse Disorder is a serious problem to the existence of honey bees. | Source

How important are honeybees? Think of it this way: One out of every three mouthfuls of food that you eat came courtesy of honey bees.

Honey bees are not the only insects that pollinate food crops, and some crops are pollinated by both honeybees and other insects (like butterflies). However, many crops are pollinated only by honey bees. Here are some of the foods that we would lose if we lose our honeybees. Are some of your favorite foods on the list?

A List of Foods You Would Lose Without Honey Bees

Fruits
Vegetables
Other
Apples
Avocados
Almonds
Apricots
Beets
Allspice
Blackberries
Black Eyed Peas
Buckwheat
Blueberries
Bok Choy
Cashews
Cantaloupe
Brussels Sprouts
Chestnuts
Cherries
Cabbage
Cocoa
Currants
Cauliflower
Coconut
Figs
Celery
Coffee
Grapes
Cucumber
Coriander
Guava
Turnips
Hazelnut
Kiwi
Eggplant
Macadamia Nuts
Lemons
Fennel
Rapeseed (Canola Oil)
Limes
Green beans
Safflower
Mangos
Kidney Beans
Sunflower Oil
Nectarines
Lima Beans
Vanilla
Oranges
Okra
Walnuts
Papaya
Onions
 
Passion Fruit
Peppers
 
Peaches
Pumpkins
 
Pears
 
 
Persimmons
 
 
Plums
 
 
Pomegrantes
 
 
Raspberries
 
 
Starfruit
 
 
Strawberries
 
 
Tangerines
 
 
Watermelon
 
 

In addition to being responsible for the production of our food crops, bees produce honey. The honeybee hive is a little honey-making factory turning nectar into honey. The bees make this honey so they will have a food supply in the winter. They make much more than they need so the beekeeper can collect the excess for human consumption.

Bees exist in the wild, but they are also maintained by beekeepers. Some beekeepers are amateur beekeepers with just a few hives in their backyard. Others keep bees on a massive scale, and rent out their bee hives to farmers when their crops need pollinating.

If you don’t know much about bees, I recommend that you read another article I wrote, Inside the Bee Hive, for a basic understanding of bee biology and behavior before continuing with this article.

The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses

Not only a manual about the practical essentials of beekeeping, this illustrated tome also covers every facet of the ancient hobby of beekeeping. It is part history book, part cookbook, and part how-to guide for crafts made with honey like candles and beauty products..

 

What is colony collapse disorder (CCD)?

Beekeepers are seeing an alarming trend. There is a great honey bee die-off. It has been given the name “colony collapse disorder” or CCD. No one knows for sure what causes it.

Colony Collapse Disorder is the name given to the disappearance of most of the bees from a hive, leaving behind the queen, plenty of food, and un-hatched brood. You won’t see a noticeable number of dead bees in and around the hive—the bees have just disappeared.

This phenomena is not new, but has increased at an alarming rate in recent years. It is occurring in the United States and throughout Europe.

The collapse of a bee colony is nothing new, but the scale of the problem is new. In the past, it has been given many names-- disappearing disease, spring dwindle disease, May disease, autumn collapse, and fall dwindle disease. It began to be called Colony Collapse Disorder in 2006.

Beekeepers have been reporting the loss of about 30% of their colonies each year. It was particularly bad in 2013—that spring, on average, beekeepers lost 45% of their colonies. Many commercial beekeepers were forced out of business. Others were forced to raise their rates to farmers for the rental of the bees which raised the cost of food production which raised the cost of food.

Another issue of concern is that beekeepers are seeing some of their the queen bees dying too soon. Each bee colony has one queen. A queen usually survives for two or three years. In recent years, beekeepers are seeing unexplainable abrupt deaths of the queen bees. Sometimes the queens die mid-summer, having survived only half a year. No one knows why.

What causes CCD?

No one knows for sure what is causing this die-off. It appears likely that there is not one cause of CCD, but several interacting causal agents. There may be a synergistic effect—one agent alone may not be responsible, but when the colony is weakened or stressed by one factor, it is less resistant to other factors. It’s the perfect storm of the bee world.

Bees may be experiencing widespread failure of their immune systems. There are a variety of factors that could be contributing to a weakened immune system among bees. It is difficult to tease out cause and effect. For instance, does a pesticide poison a bee outright, or does it just weaken the bee so that it is more likely to succumb to a mite attack.

Bees are very dependent on their social, communication, and orientation skills. Perhaps a pesticide gets a bee confused, like a human gets when he gets drunk—this could affect the bee’s ability to find its way back to the hive or it could interfere with the “waggle dance” that tells other bees where to find nectar.

It may also be that CCD is a broad designation for different causes. The end result is the same—the colony collapses, but causes are different for some hives than for others.

Here’s the Top ten list of factors that may contribute to CCD. No one can say for sure which factors, if any, are responsible. It could even be something that is not on this list. Further, some beekeepers and scientists dispute that CCD is even happening.

Another issue: Many of these factors have been around for a long time. Why are they affecting the honey bees (if they are) just now?

1. Do parasites, pathogens, and pests contribute to CCD?

Honey bees have always had to cope with parasites, pathogens, and pests. For example,

  • Foulbrood is a bacterium that attacks the bee larva.
  • Tracheal mites attack the breathing tubes of the adult bees.
  • Small hive beetles destroy the honeycombs and contaminate the honey causing it to ferment. Bees will often abandon a hive that has become infested with these beetles.
  • Another culprit is Varroa mites--Varroa destructor.

Varooa mites immigrated to the United States sometime in the 80’s. These mites attach themselves to a honeybee’s body and suck its blood, which kills many bees and spreads disease to others. The mites can spread from one colony to another, wiping out whole populations of honeybees.

Pesticides and environmental toxins might be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder.
Pesticides and environmental toxins might be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder. | Source

2. Do pesticides contribute to CCD?

The use of pesticides often gets a large share of the blame for CCD. A commonly used type of pesticide—neonicotinoids-- is considered safe for humans, but may be extremely harmful to bees, (They have been banned in some European countries.)

However, the role of neonicotinoids is under debate. Some scientists say that the levels of neoicontinoids are not high enough in the environment to be responsible for the die-offs. It has been suggested that the pesticides don’t kill the bees outright, but impair their development and behavior or weaken them to the point where they are susceptible to other stressors.

3. Do environmental toxins contribute to CCD?

In addition to pesticides there are a lot of other toxins in the environment. Fertilizer run off may have contaminated the water supply.

Perhaps bees come into contact with or inhale other toxins from household or industrial sources while they are out foraging.

No specific toxins have been identified, but this possibility should be investigated further.

Climate change may be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder.
Climate change may be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder. | Source

4. Does climate change contribute to CCD?

Climate change has been causing extremely cold winters and scorching summers as well as extreme droughts and floods. These climate extremes can stress the honey bees, leaving them more susceptible to the other environmental challenges.

Climate change also affects flowering plants that the bees depend upon. For instance, they may bloom too early before honeybees can fly. Plants under stress from climate change may produce few or no flowers which limits the bee’s source of nectar.

5. Does inadequate nutrition contribute to CCD?

Bees need a varied diet of different pollens. While they go about collecting nectar, they also collect pollen. They store the pollen in little “pockets” on their legs called pollen baskets and take it back to the hive. They mix it with honey to make bee bread. This is another source of food for the bees during the winter. If bees cannot get enough pollen, or enough different types of pollen, this can contribute to malnutrition.

Monoculture, the practice of planting only one type of food crop, may limit the bees’ ability to have a varied diet.

Genetically modified crops and monoculture farming may be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder.
Genetically modified crops and monoculture farming may be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder. | Source

6. Do genetically modified crops contribute to CCD?

Some suggest that the pollen from genetically modified crops-- especially corn altered to produce Bt toxin that targets the bacteria that attacks corn--might be weakening the bees’ immune system.

7. Does a lack of genetic diversity contribute to CCD?

Some think that a lack of genetic diversity may be weakening bees.

Bees are a business. Many bee keepers start hives by buying a queen bee. Nearly all of the bees in the United States are descended from a limited number of queen bee lines. (There are a few hundred lines, but perhaps this is not enough to produce sufficient diversity.)

It is suggested that the limited gene pool may be the reason for degradation of the bees’ immune system and ability to survive.

Some beekeeping practices may be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder.
Some beekeeping practices may be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder. | Source

8. Does migratory beekeeping contribute to CCD?

t’s the case of the traveling beehives. Commercial beekeepers stack their hives onto tractor trailers and drive them thousands of miles away so they can be set up near the fields of farmers who need them for pollination. A crucial part of hive life is the bees' orientation to their hive. Having the hive moved every few months must be very difficult for the bees. (Even people don’t like relocating and adapting to a new neighborhood.)

Additionally, moving the hives around can help spread disease. An infected hive can spread disease when it intermingles in the fields with the local honey bees.

9. Do poor beekeeping practices contribute to CCD?

The various chemicals introduced into the hive to control disease and keep bees healthy might be upsetting the delicate balance of their immune systems.

Sometimes beekeepers split or combine hives and this could disrupt the social cohesion of the bee colony.

Some beekeepers may supplement the bees' food supply with sugar water or high fructose corn syrup solutions when flowers that provide the nectar that bees ordinarily use to make honey are out of season. This may not be healthy for the bees.

I’m reminded of a line from an old commercial—“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”

Electromagnetic radiation may be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder.
Electromagnetic radiation may be contributing to the death of honey bees and to colony collapse disorder. | Source

10. Does electromagnetic radiation contribute to CCD?

Are cell phones driving the bees crazy? One theory is that the presence of electromagnetic fields from cell phone towers disrupts the bees' ability to find their way home.

Presently, this theory is given very little credence in the scientific community. But it may be worth further investigation in view of the major role electromagnetic fields play in the life of honey bees.

  • Bees can detect the electrical field of flowers. They can “read” the nectar and pollen content of the flower.
  • Bee bodies become electrically charged while flying. When they alight on a flower, this charge causes the pollen to “fly” from the flower and become attached to their bodies.
  • When a bee does her waggle dance she gives off an electrical filed that the other honey bees can detect with their antennae.

Some say that the electromagnetic fields produced by our technologies are not a threat to bees because they operate on a different frequency than those produced by the bees and flowers. Others have done experiments showing the possibility of an effect. Studies going back to 2008 have found that bees are repelled by cell phone signals or have acted erratically around cell phones as if confused by the signals.

There is not enough evidence to say if this blanket of electromagnetic radiation that our communication technologies have created is contributing to CCD, but it is an intriguing theory. The time period matches up. CCD began increasing as cell phone use started to become widespread. Coincidence or cause and effect?

You can help save the bees by planning a garden and buying organic.
You can help save the bees by planning a garden and buying organic. | Source

What can be done to prevent or mitigate CCD?

The United States Department of Agriculture and some independent researchers have been studying the problem. The consensus of the research is that a variety of factors are responsible, acting in concert to stress and weaken the bees' immune systems.

As individuals, we can help by planting flowers and encouraging local governments to provide spaces for wild flowers in our communities. Many locales are allowing wild flowers to grow in medians and along the side of roads instead of mowing them down.

We can become an eco-activist to help prevent climate change and the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers that pollute the environment.

We can buy organic fruits and vegetables, especially from local farmers, to help promote earth-friendly farming. Buy organic honey in order to support beekeepers who use best practices in the production of honey. (This honey also tastes better.)

You can also consider becoming an amateur beekeeper and follow best practices for beekeeping. Check the internet for a local Beekeepers Association to help you get started. It is a great way to get children interested in, and informed about, the life-sciences.

Take this poll, just for fun.

How often do you eat honey?

See results

A Summary of Everything You Need to Know about CCD

© 2015 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your compliments, brickbats, and additional information.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly, or maybe not so, we are seeing a resurgence of honey bees in our area. Our berry bushes are swarming with them this year. I tend to believe it's because our city is so welcoming to urban farming. Quite a few people nearby raise bee colonies, and there are more urban farms than you can imagine here......anyway, interesting article, Catherine.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      It is a serious problem, but I'm wondering whether the same bees in their native countries are experiencing the same problem? Or did I miss that part?

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 24 months ago from New York

      Surely planting flowers and following the results of researchers can help us mitigate this problem. Since it seems impossible to find the actual root cause we need to take many different precautions. You did your homework well on this one.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 24 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you billybuc. It is good news that bees are thriving in your area. A couple of years back I had scads of bees buzzing all over the Wandering Jerusalem in my yard and now none. Thanks for commenting and I'm glad you liked the hub.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 24 months ago from Orlando Florida

      WillStarr It is a widespread problem. It is happening in Europe, too. I don't think it has anything to do with whether the bee is n it's native habitat. Thanks for the comment.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 24 months ago from Europe

      Interesting and well researched Hub. I have no idea how large the CCD problem actually is, but I heard many rumours lately there are clear relations with pesticides. Scientists who claim otherwise might be on the payroll (one or more) of chemicals producers. I cannot imagine that it can be that hard to find the real cause. It's just a matter of brains and stamina.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 24 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Buildreps: There is actually a lot of controversy about this. Some say it is not happening at all, and everyone fights over what is and is not the cause. Nothing is definitive. In the article I speculate about what the causes might be. The government is researching and providing evidence that it is real.

    • sparkster profile image

      Marc Hubs 24 months ago from United Kingdom

      The last I heard, Harvard University had come to the conclusion that the disappearance of bee colonies was due to neonicotinoids being used in pesticides according to their research. I do, however, believe there are multiple reasons and not just one cause alone. It's only a problem in certain countries though - the overall global bee population has actually risen despite CCD affecting many countries.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 24 months ago

      Odd that you have written this wonderful article about bees. There was

      an episode on the TV series, "Elementary" where bees played a major role. Then, I watched a documentary on bees. Another documentary about how "Killer Bees" were no longer a threat. And, last but not least

      a new invention that has been developed where the honey can be harvested without disturbing the bees. It is a pre-fab honeycomb structure.

      So, naturally when I saw your article, I had to jump over here to get the

      goods. You did really great research on this subject.

      Many are concerned but it seems there are no definitive answers.

      Nice hub, Catherine.

      DJ.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 24 months ago from Orlando Florida

      D. J. Anderson: It is an alignment of the planets os something. An idea just gets into the air and then it is everywhere. I did not know about the TV shows. I will search them out. I heard about this from my friends who keep bees and I did some research and wrote this hub. I'm glad you liked it. Today I edited it to reinforce that everything I said about CCD is just speculation. There is no conclusive evidence about what is happening. It is scary tho.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 24 months ago from Oklahoma

      Whether you eat honey or not, without bees, we're all in trouble.

      Wonderful article.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Thanks Larry Rankin: Bees are essential to our food supply. Buy honey from l9cal organic beekeepers because these are the people who support the bees.

    • profile image

      Dennyjo 23 months ago

      This is a very good article. I am a beekeeper and this is my fifth season. I am usually not able to keep a hive throughout the winter. This last winter I lost one hive to the cold and two hives that simply left mid-February. One possible scenario is that our weather was so warm that they went out to forage and there was nothing for them. They left the honey, the wax, the pollen in the hive that they needed for the winter. I am also the president of the local beekeeping club and spend most of my time educating new beekeepers and the public. I really appreciate the information in this article.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Dennyjo: Thank you so much. Your praise means a lot coming from an experienced beekeeper such as yourself. Climate change may be wreaking havoc on the honey bees. I hope things turn around for you and your bees.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 23 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Great informative hub spreading awareness about Honey Bees and its colonies!

      We all have to play our part in this regard.

      I take honey everyday in the morning. In India there are many centers for Honey Bee keeping or Bee farming and this is quite well supported by Government as well.

      Thanks for sharing this excellent hub, voted up!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      ChitrangadaSharan: Thank you for your comment about honey bees and your vote . We can help support the small beekeepers by buying local honey. It s a delicious and nutritious food. We can also plant flowers that provide nectar to honeybees.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Catherine

      We found earlier this year why our lemon tree is always in fruit (and I mean 48 out of 52 weeks it has ripe lemons!) Our neighbour has two hives!

      We found out as the bees swarmed and we haf to call a beekeeper to take the swarm from the trees. He saw the hives next door but said there were enough bees for another hive so he took them away.

      Bees are amazing little creatures and this hub us a good start point for those of who don't know a lot about them.

      Awesome hub

      Lawrence

      Needless to say I keep my trees healthy so the bees have good nectar

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Thanks lawrence01. We can all do a little bit for the bees. The swarming bees would have left on their own. When they swarm, they send out scouts to find a new location for their hive and then they all go there.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 23 months ago from SW England

      I love honey and I love the bees. I have planted lots of 'wild' flowers in my garden and have always been aware of helping the bees. They are so essential for our survival. I tend to believe that it's mainly climate change and the lack of wildlife areas. Many species adapt so I'm hoping it might be a 'blip' for bees. Sadly, that might not be the case. The fact remains that we depend much more on the honey bee than most people realise. For that reason I'm sharing this too.

      Great hub; everyone should be aware of this.

      Ann

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 23 months ago from California

      I too think that Harvard's study on neonicotinoids is the definitive study at present. Well worth reading--

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 23 months ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Some great information here, nicely presented. Yes, I think the bees are suffering in general from overuse of chemicals for one, and loss of foraging habitat, plus local disturbances such as increased traffic and noise and pollution. Everything adds up over time. In addition there is disease of course. In short bees are under pressure from all sides so it's good to hear the news that in some areas increases in bee activity has been seen.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Catherine

      Have you come across Manuka honey? It's honey that comes from bees who've been pollinating Manuka trees (a native NZ tree) and has some amazing properties

      It's been researched and found to have anti bacterial properties. It is actually used to treat severe burn victims as they honey protects the wound and the unique properties of the honey helo the healing process.

      Naturally it's a big money earner for bee keepers here and so far there's been no way to imitate it (no cheap chinese knockoff). We do export the honey but its probably incredibly expensive!

      Lawrence

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      lawrence01. I have been told that Manuka honey is from Hawaii and is the best honey. I haven't had any of it.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      annart: Thanks for your comment. Planting flowers is a small thing that we can all do for the honey bees.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      AudreyHowitt: The neonicotinoids are prime suspects in colony collapse disorder. thanks for your comment.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Catherine

      I just did a check and Hawaii produces a 'monofloral' honey from Lehua (not sure if that's a plant or region) labelled "Manuka" but the Manuka tree is native to Australia and NZ.

      Apparently beekeepers prize the monofloral honeys as they are the better quality ones. Beware the 'knockoffs' though as they don't have the same benefits

      My wife has problems with bee products in general but even we always have a pot of honey there "for medicinal purposes" (lemon and honey is amazing on a cold winter night). Lets give these little creatures all the help we can, and those who keep them all the support we can.

      Lawrence

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      I couldn't agree more lawrence01. We should give the bees all the help we can. thanks for the info on the honey.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 23 months ago from USA

      This is a well researched and well written hub about a problem that impacts us all. My father grows apples just as a hobby with 15 apple trees and has remarked there are no honey bees this year.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      FlourishAnyway: Thanks for your comment. I used to have bees in my yard all the time; now I don't see them anymore. I hope the bees return to your father's apple trees.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Catherine, this was an interesting and great hub on the honey bee colony situation. You've made your points real clear. Voted up!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Kristen Howe: Thank you for your comment, praise and votes. There is some debate about whether we are losing honeybees at a greater rate than in the past, but it best to err on the side of caution.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 23 months ago from australia

      This was so well documented and much to consider. I admit I haven't seen many bees as I once did around here. I'm a huge honey fan, from our local brands to the NZ Manuka. I've just seen an article where a pure strain of bees have been discovered on a Pacific island. Niue. This could be partly an answer to the bee population thriving. I hope so.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      travmaj: I too used to see lots of bees in my year, and now I don't anymore. It is frightening that we could lose the bees. Thanks for your comment.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 23 months ago from New Zealand

      Interesting, there is no deny bees are disappearing, in New Zealand one of the main causes in our area is the wasp, they are completely destroying the young larva, using them as a food while helping their selves to the honey.

      We lost two hives due to that reason, very sad, as we live in the bush where there are a lot manuka bushes, that honey is worth a lot of money.

      Have no idea how to get rid of this problem.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Elsie Hagley: I am so sorry to hear about the wasps attacking your honey bee hives. I hope you can find a way to deal with that. Beekeepers like you are so admirable. I have read that it is the small beekeepers that are keeping the honeybee population up. Thanks for your comment. It is sad to learn that the problem has spread to New Zealand.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 23 months ago

      I haven't seen as many bees in south Florida as I did when we lived in the midwest. Although there are plenty of beekeepers in our area that keep us supplied with organic honey. We would lose a lot if the bees were eliminated. Thanks for the education. Long live the Honey Bee!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
      Author

      Catherine Giordano 23 months ago from Orlando Florida

      teaches12345: I'm so glad to hear you have a source of organic honey. I never paid much attention to bees, but now I realize (their biology and social structure are amazing (2) they are very important to all life on this planet. Thanks for your comment.

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