We need bees! We need them to pollinate our fruits, vegetables, and nuts around the world. It is true, Honey bees are not native to North America, but no other bee would keep up with the massive way we’ve converted land into agricultural fields. We’ve made ourselves dependent on Honey bees. That seems like a great marriage- human and bee- but while the bees would survive just fine without us, we’d have to drastically change our pollinating ways without them.
That’s why Colony Collapse Disorder is so scary. Bees are disappearing for many reasons: pesticides, viruses, parasites, and unknown factors. Scientist are busy determining why bees are dying and how to keep them alive. One group of scientists that made a recent discovery are based out of my Master’s Alma mater- San Francisco State University and led by my wonderful former advisor, John Hafernik. Check out his discovery as covered by the San Francisco news:
John and his team have published their work in a top journal and in important news outlets, but they aren’t stopping there: they need YOUR help. The team set up a Citizen Science website where you can contribute to what we know about this Honey bee parasite. Their website is called ZomBee Watch and you can join the discovery as a Citizen Scientist and learn how you can both find, attract, and discover ZomBees. It is both easy and really fun, plus you’ll learn how to light trap insects, which is super cool in its own right!
Your observations will help the scientists determine just how wide-spread this parasite is and, in turn, how important the parasite is to Colony Collapse Disorder, which is killing off our Honey bees. Only then can we figure out how to save our mini-super heroes.