Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


One of the most pertinent ecological crises of the 2010s is the frightening ambiguity of colony collapse disorder. As honey bee populations continue to be decimated in unprecedented numbers, this epidemic will exert profound effects on human populations both ecologically and economically. This thesis explores the epidemic using quantifiable and ecological information about the honey bee and pesticides. From this base, this thesis then explores pesticide use in New York City Parks in relation to the disorder. Finally, the thesis challenges readers to adopt a political and philosophical shift towards an environmental ethic that will take better care of the planet. Chapter 1 draws data from the Bee Informed Partnership on losses in the bee populations in the state of New York and the United States to discuss the severity of colony collapse disorder. Chemical pesticides and macroparasites are investigated that cause the epidemic at hand. In Chapter 2, the honey bee’s ecological niche and social are explored in depth and placed in relation with the epidemic. The second part of this paper draws on the social sciences to explore the solutions necessary while combating the anthropocentric practices that bred the epidemic in the first place. In Chapter 3, this thesis explores the economic dimensions of colony collapse disorder. This thesis challenges economic thinking to encapsulate a holistic measurement of all ecosystem services provided by the honeybee and shift beyond the anthrosphere. The thesis then explores municipal and federal environmental law to define barriers to making public parks more bee-friendly in Chapter 4. The final chapter seeks to derive the lessons learned from colony collapse disorder. The case is made for a biocentric shift towards policies and strategies to make public urban spaces more friendly towards honey bees and conducive towards their success.

Included in

Entomology Commons