Insect Life Cycles/Colony Collapse Disorder
Insects undergo several growth and development stages during their life cycle. There are three distinct processes that different insects undergo as they grow. The processes are; ametabolism, hemimetabolism, and holometabolism (Mackean 2004).
This is the simplest type of all development processes and is used by primitive insects like silverfish. The insects emerge from the eggs with the same body plan as the adults and increase in size without changing shape until they mature.
In this process, the insect undergoes gradual progressive change until it attains sexual maturity. The stages involved in this process are; egg, nymph, and adult. At the nymph stage, the insect starts to feed and undergoes changes in shape and color until it fully grows into an adult. Insects that undergo this type of development include grasshoppers and crickets.
This is the most common and most complicated type of insect development and involves four stages namely; egg, larva, pupa and adult. The insect emerges from the egg as a larva; the larva usually has a simplified body plan, and it actively feeds and grows. As it is growing, it molts to accommodate the increase in size but does not develop any adult structures. The larval growth then stops and the insect become a pupa. The pupa stage is a dormant stage where the insect reconstructs its body plan into that of an adult form. Once the transformation is complete, the insect emerges from the pupa looking like an adult. Examples of insects that undergo this growth process are butterflies and moths.
Hemimetabolism is a better life cycle than holometabolism because it is less complicated. Another important factor that makes it better is the fact that insects spend most of their lives as juveniles with most juveniles not getting to adulthood. The less the stages, the less time spent as a juvenile hence more chances of reaching adulthood.
Colony Collapse Disorder
This is the syndrome that occurs when most of the worker honey bee (Apis mellifera Linnaeus) in a colony disappears with no dead bodies leaving behind a live queen, plenty of honey, immature bees, and a few nurse bees to take care of the queen and the young bees. There are various theories that try to explain the reasons for CCD. These include reasons such as invasive varroa mite that are honey bees pests, new diseases like gut parasite Nosema, pesticide poisoning, stress the bees experience and changes and inadequate forage habitats. Recent research has shown that neonicotinoid pesticides are the cause of CCD (Philpott 2014). CCD could potentially lead to billions of dollars in losses in the American agricultural economy. This is because the insects pollinate hundreds of food crops that are approximately one-third of all crop species in the country (Entine 2016).
Basic and applied sciences can have numerous advantages to the society. This is because basic science can be used to get a better understanding of a problem such as the causes of CCD, with applied sciences trying to come up with solutions to the problem, for example, another type of pesticide that can be used instead of neonicotinoid.
Entine, Jon. “Wild Bees Disappearing? Another Month, Another Bungled Bee Study.” Huffington Post (5 Jan. 2016): n.pag. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.
Mackean, D.G. Biology. Insect life-cycles, information & drawings by D G Mackean. 2004. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.
Philpott, Tom. Did scientists just solve the bee collapse mystery?. Mother Jones, 20 May 2014. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.