For centuries, honeybees have been the unsung and underpaid workers who help the world by pollinating crops.

The cultivation of everyday food like almonds, apples, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, blueberries and onions is helped by bee pollination.

However, since 2006, the hives of commercial beekeepers, once bustling with activity, have been devoid of residents despite being full of honeycomb, wax and even honey.

So far, neonicotinoid pesticides, widely used in agriculture, have been suspected of causing CCD.

Introduced in the mid-1990s, neonicotinoid pesticides have been proven to be safe for humans. But studies have shown that the pesticides may impair the bees' nervous systems, interfering with their flying and navigation abilities and causing them to lose their way.

The European Commission has announced a two-year suspension on the use of some neonicotinoid insecticides, starting Dec 1 this year.

Each year, up to 100,000 animal species die off. Bees could be one of them, if nothing is done for these human helpers.


A class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. The use of some insecticides from this class has been restricted due to some evidence of a connection to honeybee colony collapse disorder.


Varroa destructor, a microscopic eight-legged parasitic mite, sucks the "blood" (hemolymph) of the honeybees for sustenance, leaving open wounds. Called varroatosis, the disease can also lead to the death of a colony.


American foulbrood, a bacterial disease, is known to spread disease and fungal infection in a colony. Researchers also point their fingers at other suspects, including the parasite Nosema ceranae.


The loss of bees and regrowing the beehives are becoming a financial burden for beekeepers. According to Time magazine, the number of commercial beekeepers has dropped by about three quarters over the past 15 years.


Honeybees need flowers and wild spaces to thrive. An increasing industrialised agricultural system has transformed the countryside into crop monocultures - an agricultural practice of growing a single crop over a vast area. To bees, these vast stretches of monocultures are nothing but desert.

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