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MYSTERY OFF DYING BEES

 
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 11:06 am
bbb wrote :

Quote:
Ham, could global warming be responsible for the Bee problems? Climate changes could be causing insects to move into new areas formerly not hospitable to them.


a/t the article the asian wasps are being helped to survive by the warmer winter climate in europe .
from what i understand , all kinds of insects are marching further north as the winter temperatures are moderating in the northern half of the globe .
even the migrating habits of canada geese are good example of the influence of more moderate winter temp (i know they aren't insects :wink: ) .
up until about 20 years ago they would usually move down toward chesapeake (sp?) bay in the fall and return in may .
many of them stay right here in eastern ontario during the winter now - and most have left for northern canada already .
so there is definetely a change in migration patterns .
(but we have been told on another thread that climate change is probably a myth ... and anyway , just don't worry about it ; it's all some kind of conspiracy ... we'll figure out later whom to blame for it Crying or Very sad ) .
hbg
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Apr, 2007 06:00 pm
In the Cell Phone article BBB posted on the previous page I found it interesting that they quote Einstein as having said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".

He usually knew what he was talking about. Sad
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 09:39 am
BBB
squinney wrote:
In the Cell Phone article BBB posted on the previous page I found it interesting that they quote Einstein as having said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".

He usually knew what he was talking about. Sad


That's true. Bees are the most important insect on this planet. Life would cease from starvation if bees disappeared unless some other life form evolved to take over pollination---or scientists found some way to artifically pollinate on a massive scale. We would be smart to start working on that immediately---just in case.

BBB
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 May, 2007 01:49 pm
farmerman : how are your bees doing ?

we have plenty of wild bees in the garden - at least that's what i think they are .
we have several boxwood-trees/bushes that are "in bloom" now - little green flower-pods and those little bees are just crazy about them - there are hundreds , if not thousands buzzing around peacefully .
hbg
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 May, 2007 08:12 am
Ive lost1 of my 3 hives. They were doing all right until the real cold weather. I talked with some beekeeprs at the Md Sheep Festival yesterday and theyve been working with USDA Beltsville Labs on a clear definition of the problem.(Theyre doing bee autopsies and genetics studies)
Bees have been hit badly by two viruses in the last 15 years and these have been spread by smaller hives coming in contact with each other and sharing viiral flora. In ARizona they had a "seasonal Dieoff" condition since the 9o's and also in Fla and Ga. Are these conditions any relation to this "colony collapse"? Only study will show

However, The beekeepers from Md were pissed that the media has spread some rather misleading info , like the "cell phone cause theory" Apparently that has no traction among scientists since the spraying of nicetinoid petsicides seems to parallel the collapse and the collapse occurs most strongly in areas that have an early growing season. (They spray in Dec and Jan in Fla, and the collapses occur in Feb)


Some good news, it seems that of the big honey producers (3000 hives and up)Everybody is now switching over to Russian Queens (seems appropriate) The Italian strain of bees, that has been the staple of the industry for 50 years has been themost suceptible to a number of conditions including foulbrood, veroa, mite diseases etc. So, I think were gonna have 2 years of really down times as producers attempt to raise and introduce Russian Queens . The small hive owners cant get this strain s yet

However, It doesnt look like its gonna be an environmental disaster that tyhe NYT said it was. (ANYWAY-what does a reporter know about beekeeping? NOTHING)
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 May, 2007 08:25 am
I hope they figure this out!
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 May, 2007 08:35 am
From Tonight's 7:30 Report (Oz ABC tevelevision)

American bees dropping like flies
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 07/05/2007


It is estimated that bees are responsible for pollinating one third of all food crops on the planet, making them major players in global agriculture. So it is no surprise scientists are desperate to solve the mystery of what is causing hundreds of millions of bees in the US to die because they lose their capacity to find their way home. While Australian beekeepers are enjoying a boom in exports as a result, the industry here is nervous about how to avoid the syndrome. (cont)

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2007/s1916718.htm
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 May, 2007 08:42 am
thanks for your report , farmermann !
incidentially , there was a report in toronto's "globe & mail" recently that doctors and medical scientists have started using honey to treat patients infected with the "superbug" (who did not respond to other treatments) .
apparently they have been quite successfully treated with HONEY !
honey sucks the moisture of of the bacteria thus killing it !
sounds like interesting and good news .
hbg

(the russians to the rescue Very Happy !)
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Nov, 2007 07:54 pm
from today's GLOBE AND MAIL :
Quote:

"Our agricultural philosophy is all about overwhelming nature rather than collaborating with it," he says. "If we could hear bees talk, they would be crying right now and they would saying, 'Leave us alone.' "


so says Mark Winston, one of the world's foremost authorities on honey bees .
he claims that "industrialization" of honey bee farming is the root problem causing the die-offs .



Quote:
BIOLOGY: HOW AGRICULTURE IS PUTTING POLLINATORS IN DANGER

Is the bee virus bunk?
Even Jerry Seinfeld knows bees are no laughing matter. When they are at risk, so is much of the world's food supply - which is why recent colony collapses sent scientists rushing to their labs for answers. They ultimately blamed a rogue virus. But one Vancouver scientist says there's a bigger problem. And the real crisis still lies ahead. Andrew Nikiforuk reports
ANDREW NIKIFORUK

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning science writer. He is currently teaching at Simon Fraser University.

November 3, 2007

VANCOUVER -- Last year, Mark Winston, one of the world's foremost authorities on honey bees, retired his trusty bee veil, collected his last batch of Heavenly Honey and closed his lab at Simon Fraser University. And then he cried.

The 57-year-old, you must understand, simply loves bees. To show how they share directions to flowers kilometres away, he has performed "bee dances" on television. He has dressed movie stars in "bee beards" because "it's what beekeepers do to have fun." And, yes, he has also written several books and more than 150 articles on bee biology.

So why did he abandon his beloved hives? He closed his apiary before "colony collapse disorder" wiped out a third of American honey bees this year. But he says the bee virus that officials blame for this devastation is only a minor character in a larger tragedy.

The real crisis ahead is what he has dubbed "agricultural collapse disorder," the impact of bee farming itself. And if things don't change, there's much more than honey at stake. About one-third of the world's food depends on bees for pollination. In North America alone, honey bees pollinate more than $16-billion worth of almonds, cucumbers, berries, apples and canola every year.


BEE RAPTURE

As a young biologist, Prof. Winston fancied the idea of "a khaki-clothed scientist tramping through the jungle." So he jumped at the opportunity to study in French Guiana in 1973. When the young researcher arrived, however, he was given another outfit - full protective gear to help him examine a small colony of aggressive "killer bees."

"I opened the hive and nothing happened," he recalls. "I remember looking in and wondering what was going on. They were busy and active and focused. My gloves came off. My veil came off. I was immersed in the world of bees."

From Africanized bees, Winston soon graduated to the European honey bee (Apis mellifera), which colonists introduced to this continent in the 16th century. There are about eight species of honey bees in total and most have been on the planet 30 million years. But although Aristotle and Plato studied the social creatures, big questions remain about their basic biology.

In 1980, Prof. Winston started keeping his own bees - for both research purposes and some mean batches of honey - on the campus of Simon Fraser University and throughout British Columbia's Fraser Valley. At one point, he and his "swarm team" of 30 students and technicians managed 200 colonies, or about 10 million bees. And his lab soon grew famous not just for its scientific findings on bee scents, but for communicating information to beekeepers in a useful way.

To this day, Prof. Winston describes the gentle pollinators as "pussycats. ... You could work these bees naked if you want to." In fact, he has known beekeepers who do strip to the buff while attending to their bees. "It makes them respectful and careful and present in the moment."

Still, being careful and present in the moment didn't help beekeepers when colony collapse disorder first appeared in 2004. They would check on hives only to find them totally abandoned save for honey and young larvae. "It's like somebody swept the boxes out. There were just no bees," one Pennsylvania apiarist noted.

Last spring, the scale of the disappearances started to make headlines. Then came a host of theories on hive abandonment.

Radiation from cellphone towers may have disoriented the flight of bees, some experts argued. Others blamed the impact of genetically modified crops, drought and highly toxic pesticides. Internet doomsayers even put forward the idea of a "bee rapture," a biblical calling of bees to heaven.

The debate soon launched a series of costly genetic studies by U.S. scientists.

And last September a group of entomologists at Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Bee Research Laboratory reported that Israeli acute paralysis virus may have been the culprit.

The virus, which causes bees to die of paralysis outside the hive, was first identified in Israel in 2004. It was found in most hives affected by colony collapse.

Although there is no treatment for the virus, some beekeepers received this news with relief. It suggested a simple explanation to a baffling problem.

Along with a growing number of scientists, though, Prof. Winston believes that the crisis goes much deeper.

He says the industrialization of bee farming has made bees more susceptible to mass die-offs and abrupt disappearances.

In fact, colony collapse disorder may be as much a symptom of bad agricultural management as mad-cow disease among ruminants fed industrial animal feed or wasting viral diseases afflicting crowded pig factories or explosions of sea lice among farmed salmon.

By "separating bees from their keepers," Prof. Winston argues, modern farming has increasingly exposed bees to a host of debilitating parasites, pesticides, antibiotics and malnutrition.

THE FARM THREAT

The roots of the current bee crisis probably date back to the importation of European species 400 years ago. They displaced wild bees and exploded in numbers. By the 1920s, farmers had become dependent on them to pollinate everything from clover to pumpkins. This meant that they also became more aggressive at fighting American foul brood, a century-old bacterial bee killer, with antibiotics.

"And then they imported the pests," Prof. Winston says.

In the early 1980s, global trade in bees introduced two troublesome parasites: varroa mites from Asia and tracheal mites from Europe. The blood suckers can overwhelm a hive in days and result in dead bees and "disappearances."

In response, U.S. farmers started to douse their colonies with highly toxic pesticides such as Apistan - even though scientists noted that colonies chemically treated for both mite plagues died a lot faster. Desperate beekeepers also inundated hives with a pharmacopeia of other chemicals to combat resistant bacterial infections or new protozoan infections (a growing problem in Ontario).

"The image that comes to mind," Prof. Winston says, "is dumping everything in your medicine cabinet into the hive and, when that doesn't work, using an underground system to purchase illegal vats of pesticides."

But the war has not gone well. Pesticide-resistant mite populations have boomed, particularly in the United States. These mites, in turn, carry up to 25 different viral diseases such as the Kashmir bee virus, sacbrood virus and the latest culprit, the Israel acute paralysis virus.

Even though Canadian beekeepers haven't industrialized as completely as their American counterparts, "we are on a chemical treadmill and we have to get off," admits Heather Clay of the Canadian Honey Council.

But chemicals are only part of the problem. As farms grew larger in scale in the 1960s, the local habitats for wild bees shrunk.

Now, many farmers import bees thousands of kilometres, say from Florida to California, to pollinate vast monocultures of almond trees. Such long distances stress out the bees, Prof. Winston says. "We need to respect limits."

Malnutrition has become another issue. Fed on a monotonous diet of almond or melon pollen, bees do about as well as humans fed a singular diet of beef. Single-crop farms simply do not provide them what they need: a diversity of pollen sources. And chronic exposure to new classes of insecticides such as neonicotinoids is a growing concern.

"You take colonies invaded by mites and viruses and then move them to pollinate crops," Prof. Winston says. "Then you starve them in monocultures where they are foraging on an environment overexposed to pesticides. And then we change the climate, making it too warm or too wet. Bees don't do well in drought or damp conditions."

In other words, bee health has now hit the wall. Is bees' susceptibility to viral infections - or the "mystery" of mass die-offs and disappearances - all that surprising?

COLLABORATING WITH NATURE

Prof. Winston continues to study bees. But since he closed his apiary, deeply frustrated with the state of bee farming, he has refocused his teaching. He now preaches bee-like virtues of collaboration and congeniality to undergraduates in a unique interdisciplinary program at SFU that focuses on civic dialogue. "My experience with bees grew into a serious concern about how we teach students to engage with the world," he says.

He also thinks there needs to be a greater dialogue about both beekeeping and the future of agriculture beyond the classroom. And he would like the federal government, which currently employs but one lonely bee expert, to play a much more active role - regulating chemicals and bee movement and running routine inspection of hives for disease.

Ultimately, though, what he wants is less "management" and more care in the beekeeping business.

He notes with some irony that the city of Vancouver now supports a greater diversity of pollinating bees than pesticide-rich fields in the Fraser Valley do. Urban parks, home gardens and patches of wildness have provided asylums from overmanagement.

"Our agricultural philosophy is all about overwhelming nature rather than collaborating with it," he says. "If we could hear bees talk, they would be crying right now and they would saying, 'Leave us alone.' "




source :
BEES DYING OFF
0 Replies
 
DrinkCleanNoww
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:10 pm
bees
I wonder if it has anything to do with the radio waves radar waves that may not affect larger species/insects.

With so much technology and wireless capabilities, the convenance has to have some negative side affect.

what do you think?
0 Replies
 
tinygiraffe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 09:44 am
oh i see, this is just now making it into the media in 2007... interesting.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Oct, 2008 12:38 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman :

so how are your bees doing this year ?

just saw this short video clip on BBC and remembered that we had a "bee thread" going last year .

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7597293.stm
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Oct, 2008 12:42 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman :

so how are your bees doing this year ?

just saw this short video clip on BBC and remembered that we had a "bee thread" going last year .

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7597293.stm

Quote:

HONEY TO RUN OUT BY CHRISTMAS !
Poor weather and a deadly virus has wiped out a third of the UK's bee population leading to a honey shortage with shops expected to sell out of British honey before Christmas.
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Oct, 2008 01:02 pm
@hamburger,
OH my....did you see The Happening. What a scary thing.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Oct, 2008 01:04 pm
@hamburger,
(a doublepost - four minutes apart - scary things happening on halloween)
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2011 08:55 am
This mysterious dying of bees seems to become a a worldwide phenomena ... and tragedy.

Globalisation and agriculture industry are exacerbating the bee decline, according to an UN report. But no simple solution can be provided
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/10/un-report-honeybee-deaths
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2011 08:57 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Penn State Ag College and bioengineering has been working on a solution with some degrees of success. Ill see whether I can find some recent pubs on CCD
coluber2001
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2011 02:23 pm
@farmerman,
I heard a report somewhere last summer that the problem was identified as a simultaneous fungal and viral infection of the hive. The bees can function with one or the other condition but not both. The solution was cited as dealing with the fungus via a fungicide.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Mar, 2011 03:07 pm
@coluber2001,
there was also a veroa mite that was involved. Penn State had been workinh on bringing in Russian bees which are ap[parently immune to CCD.

It wasnt so bad around the apple growing areas of PA last year but now we have an infestation of stink bugs which love bto suck apple juice and that results in smaller and poorer quality apples(only good for juice and applesauce and baking).
0 Replies
 
 

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