Vanishing honey bees
The mysterious disappearance of bees is the “Mary Celeste Syndrome” 1 of the apian world.
In the past decade, the US honeybee population has been decreasing at an alarming and unprecedented rate. While this is obviously bad news for honeypots everywhere, bees also help feed us in a bigger way — by pollinating our nation’s crops. Emma Bryce investigates potential causes for this widespread colony collapse disorder.
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The Mary Celeste Syndrome
“In 1872, a merchant ship called the Mary Celeste set sail from New York, and four weeks later was found by sailors aboard another vessel to be moving erratically in the Atlantic Ocean 400 miles east of the Azores. Curious, those sailors boarded the Mary Celeste, only to find nary a soul. The cargo was intact, as were supplies of food and water. But there was no sign of the seven-man crew, the captain, or his wife and daughter, who had gone along for the journey. To this day, what turned that brigantine into a ghost ship remains a maritime mystery.
It was with a nod to this history that when bees suddenly and mysteriously began disappearing en masse in Britain several years ago, the phenomenon came to be known there as Mary Celeste Syndrome.”
- New York Times, The Head-Scratching Case of the Vanishing Bees, 28 Sept 2014 by Clyde Haberman