The mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder has pushed honeybees into the public eye. But the story of their plight – and its impact – is much more complicated.

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Bees: Colony Collapse Disorder Is More Complicated Than You'd Think

Producer: Joshua Fisher

There was no question about it: some 400 beehives had been alive and thriving, now they were suddenly dead and empty. The bees had simply vanished.

That was the mystery commercial beekeeper Dave Hackenberg discovered in his Florida bee yard in November, 2006. And it only deepened that winter as beekeepers across the country began to report the same scenario: dead hives and vanished bees.

Scientists soon named the phenomenon “Colony Collapse Disorder” or CCD, and it caught the public’s attention. So did a fact few realized: honeybees play an integral role in the national food supply.

One upshot of Colony Collapse Disorder has been a new concern and respect for the honeybee, but the mystery of what’s happening to the bees has only deepened over time.

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The Mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder The Takeaway
Related Coverage
The Head-Scratching Case of the Vanishing Bees The New York Times
The Blight of the Honeybee New York Magazine
A Brief History of Honeybee Colony Collapse Mental Floss
8 years later: the state of the bees Treehugger
Are Honeybees Still Disappearing? The kitchen