In the mid- to late 2000s an increasing number of commercial beekeepers began noticing significant reductions in the number of honeybees in their hives. Since the problem, known as colony collapse disorder (CCD), was first reported to the USDA in 2006, the annual loss of bee colonies in the United States. has averaged 33 percent. This is a serious problem for agriculture, because the USDA estimates that one out of every three mouthfuls in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honeybee pollination. Monsanto and all other companies involved in food production are acutely aware of these issues and working to solve the problems.
In May 2013, the USDA and EPA released a comprehensive scientific study on the many factors that contribute to CCD. According to this consensus report, the primary cause of CCD is a parasitic mite that harms bees directly and indirectly by transmitting viruses that infect bees. Other factors it cites increase honeybee vulnerability to the mite and viruses; those factors include bacterial diseases, low genetic diversity in U.S. honey-bee populations, the way modern bees are bred, poor nutrition in areas where bees must forage long distances to find nectar and pollen and use of some insecticides. GM crops have not been implicated in CCD and, in fact, have made it possible to grow more food and other crops on less land, with fewer insecticides and even under conditions of limited rainfall or drought.