Bee colony collapse disorder kills worker honeybees that have left the hive to search for food. Between 1947 and 2005, the number of honeybees in the United States declined by over 40 percent, from 5.9 million to 2.4 million. A third of the bees die during the winter months. That's almost double the typical rate of a 15 to 20 percent decline in a healthy colony.
There is no definitive single cause of CCD known. There are precursor conditions or symptoms of CCD that are recognizable, according to reports by the USDA and the EPA, such as a sudden loss of a colony's worker bee population with very few dead bees found near the colony.
The USDA honeybee colony survey provided a look into the health and conditions of beehives across the U.S. It provided beekeepers with information on condition from season to season. An initial report announcing "the indefinite suspension" of the annual Honeybee Colonies report was issued by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service on July 1. The report cited "budget shortfall" as the determining factor for the program cut.