So we don’t have many answers yet when it comes to CCD. We know several things it is not (cell phones, power towers, aliens…), and know a few things that may be a symptom or part of the cause (most notably IAPV and nosema). But at the end, the only thing that we really know for certain is the name assigned to it, CCD, and that it has brought more media attention to beekeeping that I think we’ve ever seen before.
But what can we do to prevent CCD from making our hives disappear now? The 10+ step lists published in newsletters and beekeeping magazines should leave most beekeepers asking ‘is that all?’. In short it’s simply ‘Be a better beekeeper‘. The slightly longer version is minimize stress, monitor and treat disease, re-queen frequently, and keep strong healthy hives. Isn’t that what we were trying to do already? Of course the bee-havers out there are probably staring at the list in disbelief wondering how they could possibly start doing even a 4th of what’s on the list. I shouldn’t be to harsh. These people make good regular customers for package bees.
The only thing possibly new is that given the possible connection with nosema, treatment for Nosema (with Fumadil-B) is considered important. Personally I’ve never treated for it and have not had a problem with it. The samples our bee inspector sent in to Beltsville found no nosema this past spring and I really don’t expect to see any difference this winter. So for now I’m taking my chances. This is about the time it started being noticed last year and so far no disappearing bees here.