Bees all over the united States and Europe have been dying off for about 10 years although of late it has become an epidemic. The disease is called Colony Collapse Disorder and for years everyone has had a theory about its cause. A year ago we heard a lecture at the Carey Arboretum by a famous entomologist from Illinois who claimed the best guess is that it is being caused by a particular unpronounceable pesticide. While there has been no definitive proof, Bayer the German company that makes the pesticide is conducting experiments to prove that it is not the cause. They are breeding and testing bee colonies at their headquarters. Europe has banned the pesticide and I guess we are considering a ban also.
I have lost a lot of bees over the years from many causes but apparently not CCD because our valley is mostly wildflowers, sorgham and apples, and the pesticide isn’t used on them. Here is an old picture of what happens when bears get into your bees before you put up an electric fence that “discourages” them.