Colony collapse disorder

Signs or indications

Sudden collapse of a colony with only a queen and a few young bees surviving; hive with seasonally appropriate numbers of brood and food reserves present.


Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is an abnormal phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a honey bee colony disappear, leaving behind a queen, plenty of food, and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees. While sudden colony collapse has occurred sporadically throughout the history of apicultureapiculture:
the science and art of cultivating bees to benefit humans
, (known by various names such as disappearing disease, spring dwindle, May disease, autumn collapse, and fall dwindle disease), the syndrome was renamed colony collapse disorder in early 2007 in conjunction with a drastic rise in widespread reports by U.S. beekeepers.

The causes of the phenomenon are unclear, though many possible causes or contributory factors have been proposed, such as diseases, pathogens, pesticides, and changes in habitat. The term is less-used currently, with the concept of parasitic mite syndrome (bee PMS) more commonly used.

Beekeepers in most European countries had observed a similar phenomenon since 1998, especially in southern and western Europe. The phenomenon became more global when it affected some Asian and African countries as well.

Most closely resembles

PMS; spring starvation (but with starvation there are no or few remaining food stores)


VanEngelsdorp D, et al. 2009 Colony Collapse Disorder: A Descriptive Study. PLoS ONE.

Ellis J, Evans JD and Pettis J. 2010. Colony losses, managed colony population decline, and Colony Collapse Disorder in the United States. Journal of Apicultural Research 49(1): 134.

Snyder R. 2013. Parasitic Mite Syndrome (PMS). BeeInformed.

Underwood R and vanEngelsdorp D. 2007. Colony Collapse Disorder: have we seen this before? Bee Culture. 35: 13–8.

Wikipedia. 2023 update. Colony collapse disorder. Wikipedia. Accessed 2023.

US EPA. 2022 update. Colony Collapse Disorder. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed 2023.

Ellis J. 2016. Colony Collapse Disorder. University of Florida/IFAS Extension. Accessed 2023.

 Colony collapse disorder; photo by The BeeMD collection
Colony collapse disorder; photo by The BeeMD collection
 Normal (top), Colony collapse disorder (bottom); photo by 21st Centech
Normal (top), Colony collapse disorder (bottom); photo by 21st Centech