Honey bees are crucial pollinators that are responsible for pollinating over 100 crops in the United States. Nearly one-third of the food supply relies either directly or indirectly on pollination by bees.
The most important role of honey bees for both humans and the environment is pollination. Some plants require the actions of a pollinator to spread pollen and reproduce. If a bee or other pollinator does not visit these plants, the plants cannot form seeds or fruit. For example, many varieties of apple trees would drop their flowers without forming apples if not for the work of honey bees. Melons and citrus fruits are other important fruit crops that rely on honey bees for pollination. Honey bees also pollinate crops like alfalfa that are important as feed for livestock.
Honey bee populations in both North America and Europe are in decline, a trend that began in the 1970s. Colony Collapse Disorder refers to the decline and the exact cause is not completely understood. Many potential causes exist including mites and other parasites, fungi, lack of variability of food sources and pesticides, especially the ones containing neonicotinoid. It is likely that Colony Collapse Disorder results from a combination of these factors.