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March 5: Researcher discusses rise in honeybee colony disappearances

Monday, March 5, 2012

FREDERICK, Md.—The recent drastic rise in the disappearance of certain honeybee colonies and its effect on agricultural industries will be the topic of a lecture March 19 at 5:30 p.m. in Hodson Auditorium in Rosenstock Hall at Hood College.

Jeffery S. Pettis, Ph.D., research leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., will discuss worldwide pollinator declines and factors involved in Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees.

The phenomenon, observed in North America and Western Europe beginning in 2006, refers to the abrupt abandonment of seemingly healthy worker bees from their hives. This is significant in that many agricultural crops worldwide are dependent on the honeybees for pollination. While there are no known causes of the syndrome, scientists studying the disorder believe a combination of factors could be making bees sick, including pesticide exposure, invasive parasitic mites, an inadequate food supply and a new virus that targets bees' immune systems.

The lecture is co-sponsored by Hood's biology department and graduate program in environmental biology.

For more information, contact April Boulton, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, at, or call (301) 696-3649.