Recently, a group of researchers from University of Queen Mary London and others have found  that pressure on young bees to grow up too fast could be a major factor in explaining the disastrous declines in bee populations seen worldwide.

Researchers have found that any stress leading to chronic forager death of the normally older bees led to an increasingly young foraging force. The younger foraging population lead to poorer performance and quicker deaths of foragers and dramatically accelerated the decline of the colony much like observations of CCD seen across the globe.

"Young bees leaving the hive early is likely to be an adaptive behaviour to a reduction in the number of older foraging bees. But if the increased death rate continues for too long or the hive isn't big enough to withstand it in the short term, this natural response could upset the societal balance of the colony and have catastrophic consequences," Dr Clint Perry from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at QMUL, said.

The results suggest that tracking when bees begin to forage may be a good indicator of the overall health of a hive. Research work sheds light on the reasons behind colony collapse and could help in the search for ways of preventing colony collapse, he added.

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