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By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 07, 2010

Most Catholic Americans, when they see the initials "CCD," think immediately of the Confraternity of Catholic Doctrine and religious-education classes. For me, since I am a hobbyist beekeeper, those initials carry a far more ominous meaning: the dreaded Community Collapse Disorder.

Even if you don't know a honey bee from a yellow jacket, you've probably heard something about CCD (the apian version, I mean). It's the mysterious disease that has wiped out a large proportion of our native bee population. Since we depend heavily on bees for pollination of our crops, and we depend on our crops to provide our food, everyone has a reason for concern about CCD. But to date the disease has defied scientific analysis. We don't know what causes it-- don't even know what it is, really-- and therefore don't know how to combat it.

That might soon change. Today's New York Times carries a fascinating report about a new study that might constitute a real breakthrough in identifying and diagnosing CCD. 

Now I realize that not every reader shares my interest in bees. You may not be inclined to read a story about an apian disease. I'll need to say something to spark your interest. 

Fair enough: How's this?

The breakthrough research work-- on honey bees, remember-- was done by the Department of Homeland Security

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  • Posted by: jhn6543969 - Oct. 08, 2010 5:37 PM ET USA

    riveting. Maybe the bees fly off when sick to protect their sisters, so as not to infect them. An evolutionary imbued means of not spreading infections to the rest of the hive.

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