In KINGSLEY, the Y-Chromosome Linked Tumor Syndrome, also called The Collapse, afflicts all the males on the planet, both human and animals. The Collapse was model on a very real, very mysterious disorder decimating honeybees across the globe, the Colony Collapse Disorder, also known as CCD.
The honeybee is probably one of the most well researched creatures in modern agriculture. Back in the 1990’s, when I worked for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, the Apiarists and Entomologist had shelves of specimens. Even then biologists were worried about tracheal (Varroa) mite infection in honeybees.
But parasites such as Varroa mites aren’t the only thing honey bees must contend with. Since the 1980’s, honey bees and beekeepers have had to deal with a host of new pathogens from deformed wing virus to nosema fungi. They’ve had to content with pests like small hive beetles, nutrition problems from lack of diversity or availability in pollen and nectar sources, and the effects of pesticides. These problems, many of which honey bees might be able to survive if each were the only one, are often hitting in a wide variety of combinations, and weakening and killing honey bee colonies.
Beekeepers now report losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. While colony losses are not unexpected, especially over the winter, this magnitude of losses was unusually high.
With Colony Collapse Disorder the main symptom is no adult worker bees in the hives. Only the queen and larva. Surprisingly, beekeepers seldom find any dead worker bee bodies scattered around the hive. The adult bees fly away before they die. Often there is still honey in the hive.
While no specific scientific cause for CCD has been proven, it may even be a result of a combination of two or more factors and not necessarily the same factors in the same order in every instance…. almost the exact same words I used in KINGSLEY to describe The Collapse! This is why researching the honeybee was an essential part of writing KINGSLEY.