After a lot of research via the library, where I found several journal articles, and the internet, I have realised that due to the relative recency of my subject I need to supplement my findings by purchasing Fruitless Fall by Rowan Jacobsen – a book which discusses many of the bee’s problems and the impacts they are having upon agriculture. This piece of literature has been brilliant at laying out a lot of the bees problems, although it does seem somewhat overly focused upon America.
Drawing information from this book and a number of other sources, such as helpsavebees.co.uk and much research undertaken by Dennis vanEngelsdorp, I have been able to collate a list of reasons for why the bees might be experiencing such heavy declines:
CCD – Colony Collapse Disorder.
The Varroa mite.
Viral/Bacterial issues (Nosema and Cloudy Wing Virus).
Forced in-breeding due to human-selected breeding, which can impact on the immune system and genetic strength.
Climate change & bad weather.
Monoculture farming (habitat destruction, ecosystem destruction, transporting bee hives around on trucks, so that they can be used as tools to pollinate crops).
Habitat destruction & fragmentation.
There are clearly a huge number of reasons why the bees are in trouble.