I’ve aware of this since about 2006. I seem to remember that a few X-files episodes dealt with something like this, or was it the latest M. Night Shyamalan movie The Happening? Anyway, collapsing colony disorder is something frightening because it jeopardizes our ability to produce crops in vast mono-cultures, crops that are needed to feed the planet. CCD is happening all over the planet and scientists yet don’t understand the exact mechanisms behind it.
The phenomenon in the US is most perplexing. Bees enter a sort of hibernation during the colder months of the year. Beekeepers put them in the storage and notice that in the spring, 40-80% of the hives are empty. Completely empty. There are no bodies, so there is no evidence of them dying out. They just disappear.
In modern agriculture, bees are essential to pollinate crops. They are imported to California and other agricultural farms all over the use to accomplish the much needed pollination. However, scientists have discovered that a large amount of pesticides are in these bees’ bodies. That and a number of other factors contribute to CCD. The problem has gotten so acute, that the US is importing Australian bees to pollinate their crops.
What it boils down it is that bees are like sentinels. If they start dying out, there is something really wrong.