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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 April 2007, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK
Disappearing bees puzzle experts
Bees from David Morris' apiary
No clear explanation has been give for Collapsed Colony Disorder
Beekeepers in Somerset are concerned that a phenomenon which has wiped out thousands of honeybee colonies in the US may be affecting their hives.

No clear explanation has been put forward for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which bee populations dwindle or disappear entirely.

Somerset Beekeepers Association said some local apiaries had experienced CCD while others had reported strong hives.

Spokesman David Morris said the mystery was puzzling bee experts.

Self 'culling'

"I had two hives in March, one was very strong and the other one was quite weak. When I went a month later, the positions had reversed," he said.

"Have the bees transferred themselves from their own hives, where the queen is failing - possibly because of fertility problems - to their neighbours where the queen may be performing well?

"There are plenty of theories being put forward to explain this phenomenon but the fact remains, there are no scientific explanations coming from the various agencies connected with the welfare of bees and beekeeping," he added.

In the US, the bee losses are said to be threatening the pollination of fruit and vegetable crops.

Federal scientists, the National Beekeepers Association and state researchers have formed an emergency working group to try to halt the trend.




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