Hackenberg said he and other major commercial beekeepers have seen "50 percent or better" losses since late fall and in the winter, when bees typically are clustered in a warm and fuzzy ball within the hive. "We started seeing losses in late October, early November -- and they just kept going through the middle of January," he said. Some of the losses will be made up by beekeepers splitting one strong hive into two weaker ones.
Eighty percent of his afflicted hives showed signs of CCD, Hackenberg said. With the condition, foraging worker bees don't return to a hive even if a full brood is waiting to hatch. One theory is that the foragers, knowing they are sick, fly off to die rather than compromise the hive.