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Joined: 3/1/2006
Msg: 3
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why are the bees leaving ?Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
it does look scary. and it could result in the end of agriculture as we know it.

the new yorker ran an article on this a few months ago. i recall a penn state researcher who did a post-mortem on one bee reported finding evidence of every known bee virus and parasite.

environmental breakdowns and imbalances tend to present initially in weaknesses and ailments in the smallest organisms first.

makes me wonder.
Joined: 8/9/2006
Msg: 5
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/2/2007 10:07:11 PM
It's not going to result in the end of agriculture.
It may result in the rethinking agriculture as we know it - if we're lucky.
Only the corporate-model, profit-uber-alles, pumped-up-on-steroids bee colonies are collapsing. Organic bee colonies don't seem to suffer from colony collapse disorder.
... No one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse ...

... I've gone to natural sized cells. In case you weren't aware, and I wasn't for a long time, the foundation in common usage results in much larger bees than what you would find in a natural hive. I've measured sections of natural worker brood comb that are 4.6mm in diameter. What most people use for worker brood is foundation that is 5.4mm in diameter. If you translate that into three dimensions instead of one, it produces a bee that is about half as large again as is natural. By letting the bees build natural sized cells, I have virtually eliminated my Varroa and Tracheal mite problems. One cause of this is shorter capping times by one day, and shorter post-capping times by one day. This means less Varroa get into the cells, and less Varroa reproduce in the cells.

Who should be surprised that the major media reports forget to tell us that the dying bees are actually hyper-bred varieties that we coax into a larger than normal body size? ...

Joined: 6/12/2005
Msg: 7
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/4/2007 10:13:52 AM
from bbc news, by richard black, Environment correspondent, BBC News website :
Virus implicated in bee decline

Before and after... a collapsed and deserted honeybee colony. A virus has emerged as a strong suspect in the hunt for the mystery disease killing off North American honeybees.

Genetic research showed that Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) turned up regularly in hives affected by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Over the last three years, between 50% and 90% of commercial bee colonies in the US have been affected by CCD. The hives are transported around the country to pollinate important crops, notably to California for almonds. The state produces about 80% of the world's almonds in an industry worth $2.5bn per year.

"This really highlights the value of pollinators," said Jeff Pettis, research leader of the US government's Bee Research Laboratory. We're unlikely to come up with a treatment for viruses in bees

Jeff Pettis: "We're operating under a limited number of colonies - we had five million in the 1950s, now we have half of that number." Dr Pettis is one of the CCD research team that reports its initial findings in the journal Science.

Genetic trawl: The honeybee decline can be traced back at least 20 years, and the introduction of the parasitic varroa mite is one of the principal causes.

But in 2004, beekeepers began seeing and reporting a new and serious phenomenon, in which entire colonies would desert their hives, leaving behind their brood and stocks of food - a syndrome that was later labelled Colony Collapse Disorder.

Vales of the vanishing bees
Theories on what is causing it have ranged from mobile phone radiation to pesticides, from genetically modified crops to climate change.

Disease remained a strong contender though, particularly in the light of the known impact of mites such as the varroa. And genetics offered the opportunity to analyse what organisms were living with and on the bees.

"The genome of the honeybee had just been completed," noted Diana Cox-Foster, an entomologist from Penn State University. "So it was possible to do the (genetic) sequencing and then eliminate the genetic material of the bees."

The scientists' trawl revealed a diverse cargo even in healthy colonies. Eight types of bacteria appeared to be present in all bees, suggesting they perform some function useful to their hosts.

The researchers also found genes from parasites, fungi, and viruses, in both healthy hives and in those which had undergone collapse. But IAPV only appeared in samples from CCD populations.

Prime suspect

"This virus appears to be strongly associated with CCD," commented Dr Cox-Foster, "but whether it's the causative agent or just a very good marker (of the syndrome) is the next question we need to address."

And if it is a cause, it might not be the only one.

"I still believe that multiple factors are involved in CCD," said Jeff Pettis, "and what we need to do is look at combinations such as parasites, stress and nutrition (together with the virus)."

Collapse of the bee industry would be grave for US agriculture. Meanwhile, theories connected with mobile phones, climate change and GM crops can probably be discounted, the researcher suggested.

As its name would suggest, IAPV was first identified in Israel, but the symptoms it produces in bees there are quite different. Whether this is down to a small genetic difference in the virus between continents, or whether IAPV is acting in concert with different environmental factors, is an open question.

Also open is the question of how the virus arrived in the US. One finger of suspicion points to Australia, from where the US began importing honeybees in 2004 - the very year that CCD appeared in US hives.

The researchers found IAPV in Australian bees, and they are now planning to go back through historical US samples to see if the Antipodean imports really were the first carriers.

If they were, the US might consider closing its borders to Australian bees. If IAPV does turn out to be a major factor causing CCD, there may be little that scientists or beekeepers can do about it.

"We're unlikely to come up with a treatment for viruses in bees," said Dr Pettis, "and so beekeepers are likely just to have to keep the other things that might affect CCD, such as mites, under control."

With commercial honeybees worth an estimated $14bn to US agriculture, the political pressure on scientists to come up with some answers is considerable.
i heard about this a few months ago. yet i have not heard about the department of defense involvement. perhaps they were called in to determine if pesticides used were somehow tainted with a yet as unknown chemical agent they might have more understanding of? it seems as though the department of agriculture doesn't have the best possible grasp of what could be the actual culprit. whatever is going on, the numbers and rate of decline are disturbing, and certainly not enough light as been shed on what the full implications nor ramifications might mean for the future issues facing the bees, agriculture as we know it, and thusly ourselves.
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 8
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/4/2007 2:14:19 PM
I'd heard it was some kind of virus. Not many honey bes around this year...mostly wasps and hornets and such. A few of the big bumble bees, but not many. The keepers around here have lost a third of their bees. Easily. But....those who raise extra queens will have a ready market for them.
No...I don't think GMO's are to blame. Maybe a virus that was unleashed on god knows who. Agriculture can take a hit from this...but, will recover without too much problems. Seems a lot of record crops came in this year even with a lot of bees missing.

thses so called "organic" bee keepers aren't any more informed than anyone else it seems. Sure...smaller bees, lower production, higher price for the product....but doesn't have any meaningful facts to apply to this situation.

Things will recover, as they usually do....beekeepers will simply restock, and go on.
 Mr Bitterness
Joined: 10/22/2007
Msg: 10
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/4/2007 4:12:13 PM
I recall vividly this summer I saw a bee acting very odd. It kept flying into a peice of pond liner I was installing. It was clearly confused and in distress. I doubt it made it back to the hive. Two years ago I saw a hive swarming. Who knows where it wound up, but they represented an empty hive too.

A lot of farmers are switching to mason bees in the absence of honey bees now. They're cheap, self supporting if given adequate nesting structures, and stingless. The only drawback is they don't produce honey. The point is, even if honey bees were to go extinct there are other polinators that could be used to replace them. There is no danger of catstrophic shortages of food due to dwindling honey bee populations.

Maybe someone here can tell me if this is true: don't bumble bees produce honey too? Obviously not in the kind of quantities that honey bees do, but why couldn't bumbles be used for honey production?
Joined: 8/21/2005
Msg: 11
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/4/2007 5:29:14 PM
If memory serves, bumblebees are solitary burrowers. They'd be useless for pollinating OR honey. Pollinating requires large numbers of bees, which you won't get from solitary bees. Even with honey, good luck digging up one tiny nest at a time. It's been nearly 20 years since I was an entomologist, so my memory could be a little off on this :)

Africanized bees ARE honey bees. An African subspecies tends to swarm threats, and has other traits I don't recall. They interbreed freely with other honey bees, and it's these intergrades which are called "Africanized". They're not so much a different kind of bee, as a variant of the usual bee. Bumblebees are an entire group of related species which occur naturally as far north as the Arctic Islands.

I suspect that, apart from the fact that the dying bees tend to be a larger breed, a major factor would be their industrial production. By putting vast numbers of bees in a small area, parasites and viruses can spread rapidly. By transporting those same bees across the continent, cross infection becomes easier. Disease outbreaks are usually associated with crowding. No-brainer here. By having smaller hives, decentralized and local, of more than one breed, hardiness is increased and the spread of disease is discouraged. Noting this doesn't solve the current problem, but it could prevent future problems. Even the big companies could work with this scenario, they'd just have to operate differently and accept higher operating costs in order to have better survival and productivity.

To the poster who feared genetically modified foods - this is a no-starter, just like gamma-irradiated foods. Both fears are borne of ignorance. Irradiation kills, it doesn't leave anything behind, it just sterilizes. It doesn't make the food radioactive. Not only is there no evidence that genetic modification reduces nutritional value or increases any risks, there's no reason to think so. ALL crops and livestock are already genetically modified, by selective breeding to isolate and duplicate the desired genes indirectly. With plants, and to a lesser degree animals, the exact effects of various genes is now known. Instead of selective breeding for several generations, a single gene can often now be simply transferred from a source plant to the desired plant [usual genes would be early-blooming, early-ripening, fast growth, large fruit size, frost tolerance, salt-tolerance]. These aren't man-made genes. They come from existing species and have precisely known effects. They have no influence on nutritional value, since they don't affect the need, uptake, or storage of nutrients. They don't lead to disease, since disease is caused by completely different organisms. Even if a genetic disease resulted in the plant, genetic diseases can't be transmitted except by reproduction. A genetic disease would be found and removed before such a plant ever reached the market anyway. Sterile pollen wouldn't be an issue unless it was engineered to be, and it certainly wouldn't affect the bees any. There are plenty of sterile breeds of plants, many of them natural - they just reproduce other ways, via kikis, suckers, and other types of clones. Sterility is endemic to the organism, it's not something that spreads. Sorry to say, but this is an all-too-widespread notion: fear of knowledge by those who don't have any. Welcome to the new Dark Ages.
Joined: 8/21/2005
Msg: 13
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/4/2007 9:28:27 PM

your entire post take away from the fact that these bees just want to be bees ?

My post takes away nothing. I simply point out some facts, and these have little to do with "bees wanting to be bees". The fact is that honeybees are a commodity. I haven't made them so, it is already the case. The problem is, they have been treated as an inanimate commodity. Any farmer knows that disease in a herd or monoculture will spread like wildfire. If one member of a herd has anthrax, hoof and mouth, or BSE, the whole herd is slaughtered to prevent further spread. I don't know about crops, but I suspect that an outbreak of smut or mosaic virus would lead to herbicide or harvest, and a controlled burn [free burning might carry the infection in the air]. In other words, crowding causes disease outbreaks and rapid spread. Farmers know this. Surely a corporation whose main commodity is live bees should realize this? The problem is not that bees ARE a commodity, it's the fact that someone has lost sight of some of their basic nature. That's easy to fix - don't monoculture them, and don't maintain them in a way which requires shipping semis full of them. Smaller numbers, widely spread, not genetically uniform sounds a whole lot more true to the bees' nature to me. Basically, your entire post completely missed the mark. Even the latter comments about controlling nature - we've been trying to do that for millenia, with varying success. Dams and irrigation? Did that thousands of years ago. Line-breeding of animals and plants to get the traits we want? Millenia ago: pigs, chickens, horses, dogs, wheat, rice...yadayada. Beekeeping for honey and crop management is also not new. It's just not news. What IS new is that, despite our knowledge, there are still numbnuts out there who think they can manage organisms as if they're drygoods. Oops.
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 14
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/5/2007 8:31:29 AM
Honey bees have been a commodity for hundreds of years...perhaps thousands. Nothing new there.
I've seen bumble bees that burrow in the ground, usually a colony, not solitary though. Different kinds of bees have different habits I guess. Their honey production makes it difficult to use them for the purposes of beekeeping though. they make too little from what I understand.
Joined: 6/12/2005
Msg: 15
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/5/2007 12:16:42 PM
frogO, i for one, thank you for your posts, both of them, and you state so much mor eloquently than i what makes logical sense to me. sadly it isn't just the bees that are a dwindling "commodity" but hang on tight and put your seatbelts on, folks for this is the beginning of a bumpy ride, methinks. while our past variant food sources have been a melting pot of so much to choose from, it's just ridiculous how much disease and ill health is ignored because the powers that be feed the masses crap and get away with it legally. yes, this thread is about bees. but triple threat, have you wondered what else might be involved in the grand scheme of things? i wonder how many other folks are willing to stand up and post what they know to be factual evidence to support just why the bees are leaving, and what else will be following them.

i was shocked this weekend past at the prices on inferior produce i had to choose from.
i barely bought anything, preferring to get myself to the local farmer's market. forget convenience. forget lower pricing even, until i cannot help BUT to have no choice except to buy from big industries, or move someplace this can be prolonged. our many choices of so many consumables are sadly dwindling, just like the bees. but in one way, at least it's hopefully getting people to really rethink their own responsibilities toward their consumables choices and future. it's not just about what something costs now, but has much more and further impact than many might even believe or fathom. yes, what we each decide to do DOES matter.

thanks, random, wanna share any o that sweet good honey?!

Joined: 7/9/2005
Msg: 16
It's all because of Howard Stern's Cousin & his Company !!!!!
Posted: 11/6/2007 8:35:15 AM
Bee-Ceuticals; They're taking all of the honey from the Bee's and using it for Face Cream & Skin Cream for people. And the Bees aren't dumb, I mean; Why work if they aren't going to get paid. Bees need and like Honey, too. If you take it all away, they'll leave and make the honey in places where they can keep it.
Joined: 6/16/2007
Msg: 17
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/6/2007 8:36:28 AM
I think DouglasinMotown is on to something.
They had a show on PBS about this the other day, and I came away with the impression that the reason for hive collapse may be related to the same reason why produce doesn't taste like it should.
Overproduction, single use farming, out-of-season crops and other such tactics forced upon nature (and us) by corporate greed.
I believe the (wild) bees will be fine, but big bee business (and, as a consequence, other big businesses) will take quite the hit.
Joined: 3/1/2006
Msg: 18
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/6/2007 8:41:42 AM

Bee-Ceuticals; They're taking all of the honey from the Bee's and using it for Face Cream & Skin Cream for people. And the Bees aren't dumb, I mean; Why work if they aren't going to get paid. Bees need and like Honey, too. If you take it all away, they'll leave and make the honey in places where they can keep it.

the beehive products companies always leave enough for the bees to use in their hives. they collect the pollen on a screen only when a sufficient amount amasses inside the hive. same with propolis and royal jelly.

and whoever made the comment about bees nesting in the ground: those are not honeybees. honeybees make hives. ground wasps, mud wasps and carpenter bees use other methods of living.
Joined: 2/27/2007
Msg: 20
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/7/2007 11:14:00 PM
Do a Google search on GWEN towers+bee population.

This might be part of the problem.
 Burnt Toast
Joined: 8/9/2004
Msg: 21
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/7/2007 11:28:03 PM
Maybe the Department of Defense got involved because they thought the virus was put there by terrorists. LOL! I might have to eat my socks if what I just said ends up beeing (pun intended) true! Oh well. They'll be plenty of honey to dip them in.
 Burnt Toast
Joined: 8/9/2004
Msg: 23
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 11/8/2007 12:19:33 AM
Make that low cal Soyney and we'll make billions! MWAHAHAHA! Stupid bees and their honey. We'll show them!
 Just alittle crazy
Joined: 2/24/2008
Msg: 24
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 2:39:04 PM
I was very surprised about this whole situation of the honey bees. Its really scary. I was unaware of this. I was reading about this and came across an article about Einstein saying: if we do not have bees it would take four years and there would be a worldly famine. Wonder why he even brought this up. Did he know something?

Scary as sh!t What the heck is going on with all these natural disasters recently. Just gets more and more.
Joined: 1/19/2008
Msg: 25
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 2:56:53 PM
It isn't just the bees! When I was a kid 40 years ago we hunted crawdads in the creek. We got a good family meal once a week for 2 sometimes 3 months. Now it is unusual to even see one. When I first started driving 30 years ago the lightning bugs were so thick I had to wash my windshield every other day. Now I go for more than a week between washes. I have seen entire fields covered in dead birds on 3 occasions. Strangely enough we seem to have more mice and some new animal about twice the size of a mouse with a stubby tail. They look like a vole but they don't live here. When I was a kid I could forage for food in the woods. Now I would starve.

Joined: 6/15/2008
Msg: 26
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 3:06:25 PM
backwardduck, yeah, I am betting on GMO crops.
 Just alittle crazy
Joined: 2/24/2008
Msg: 27
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 3:40:44 PM
You know whats even more interesting about the bees that are missing. There are no dead ones laying around. Weird? So if they got sick and died they would be dead all over the place. Maybe its the poles shifting messing them up? They are lost!
Joined: 3/31/2007
Msg: 28
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 4:39:37 PM

Is this the canary in the coal mine? Do you think Monsanto cares? They don't want crops that pollinate, perhaps this is part, or just a lucky benefit of the plan.

It's definitelty the canary in the coal mine. And after reading article after article there seems to be a general concensus the the "Globalization of Agriculture" via genetically engineered plants (and even animals), has resulted in a blowback of huge proportions - but not "profits". Globalization seems to be the theme our administration and presidential candidates keep shoving at us .. anything for corporate profits .. aye???

The globalisation of the food system is destroying the diversity of local food cultures and local food economies. A global monoculture is being forced on people by defining everything that is fresh, local and handmade as a health hazard. Human hands are being defined as the worst contaminants, and work for human hands is being outlawed, to be replaced by machines and chemicals bought from global corporations. These are not recipes for feeding the world, but stealing livelihoods from the poor to create markets for the powerful.

People are being perceived as parasites, to be exterminated for the "health" of the global economy.

Sustainability requires the protection of all species and all people and the recognition that diverse species and diverse people play an essential role in maintaining ecological processes. Pollinators are critical to fertilisation and generation of plants. Biodiversity in fields provides vegetables, fodder, medicine and protection to the soil from water and wind erosion.

As humans travel further down the road to non-sustainability, they become intolerant of other species and blind to their vital role in our survival.

In 1992, when Indian farmers destroyed Cargill's seed plant in Bellary, Karnataka, to protest against seed failure, the Cargill Chief Executive stated, "We bring Indian farmers smart technologies which prevent bees from usurping the pollen". When I was participating in the United Nations Biosafety Negotiations, Monsanto circulated literature to defend its herbicide resistant Roundup ready crops on grounds that they prevent "weeds from stealing the sunshine". But what Monsanto calls weeds are the green fields that provide Vitamin A rice and prevent blindness in children and anaemia in women.

A worldview that defines pollination as "theft by bees" and claims biodiversity "steals" sunshine is a worldview which itself aims at stealing nature's harvest by replacing open, pollinated varieties with hybrids and sterile seeds, and destroying biodiverse flora with herbicides such as Roundup. The threat posed to the Monarch butterfly by genetically engineered bt crops is just one example of the ecological poverty created by the new biotechnologies. As butterflies and bees disappear, production is undermined. As biodiversity disappears, with it go sources of nutrition and food.

When giant corporations view small peasants and bees as thieves, and through trade rules and new technologies seek the right to exterminate them, humanity has reached a dangerous threshold. The imperative to stamp out the smallest insect, the smallest plant, the smallest peasant comes from a deep fear - the fear of everything that is alive and free. And this deep insecurity and fear is unleashing the violence against all people and all species.

The global free trade economy has become a threat to sustainability and the very survival of the poor and other species is at stake not just as a side effect or as an exception but in a systemic way through a restructuring of our worldview at the most fundamental level. Sustainability, sharing and survival is being economically outlawed in the name of market competitiveness and market efficiency.

I want to argue here tonight that we need to urgently bring the planet and people back into the picture.

The world can be fed only by feeding all beings that make the world.

In giving food to other beings and species we maintain conditions for our own food security. In feeding earthworms we feed ourselves. In feeding cows, we feed the soil, and in providing food for the soil, we provide food for humans. This worldview of abundance is based on sharing and on a deep awareness of humans as members of the earth family. This awareness that in impoverishing other beings, we impoverish ourselves and in nourishing other beings, we nourish ourselves is the real basis of sustainability.

The sustainability challenge for the new millennium is whether global economic man can move out of the worldview based on fear and scarcity, monocultures and monopolies, appropriation and dispossession and shift to a view based on abundance and sharing, diversity and decentralisation, and respect and dignity for all beings.

Sustainability demands that we move out of the economic trap that is leaving no space for other species and other people. Economic Globalisation has become a war against nature and the poor. But the rules of globalisation are not god - given. They can be changed. They must be changed. We must bring this war to an end.

Since Seattle, a frequently used phrase has been the need for a rule based system. Globalisation is the rule of commerce and it has elevated Wall Street to be the only source of value. As a result things that should have high worth - nature, culture, the future are being devalued and destroyed. The rules of globalisation are undermining the rules of justice and sustainability, of compassion and sharing. We have to move from market totalitarianism to an earth democracy.

We can survive as a species only if we live by the rules of the biosphere. The biosphere has enough for everyone's needs if the global economy respects the limits set by sustainability and justice.

As Gandhi had reminded us: "The earth has enough for everyone's needs, but not for some people's greed".

Professor Joergen Tautz (bee expert ) from Wurzburg University, Germany cited:
"Bees are vital to bio diversity. There are 130,000 plants for example for which bees are essential to pollination, from melons to pumpkins, raspberries and all kind of fruit trees - as well as animal fodder - like clover. Bees are more important than poultry in terms of human nutrition. Bees from one hive can visit a million flowers within a 400 square kilometre area in just one day. Bees are not only working for our welfare, they are also perfect indicators of the state of the environment. We should take note."
Joined: 3/31/2007
Msg: 29
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 4:53:32 PM
For anyone who thinks pushing global trade is such a fantastic idea and buy into the profit agenda being spewed as global community and global trade, here are some other things to consider so you can RECONSIDER ...

China and their contaminated honey. The article may not be too up-to-date, but neither is our FDA oversight.

China and honey laundering.

The ruthless side to a global trade.,3604,1265467,00.html

We love importing from China, don't we?
Joined: 6/19/2007
Msg: 30
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 5:20:49 PM

"I still believe that multiple factors are involved in CCD," said Jeff Pettis, "and what we need to do is look at combinations such as parasites, stress and nutrition (together with the virus)."

PBS had show on the bee problem and the above statement sums it up. Bees are moved from state to state to follow the growing season and when the plants need to be pollinated. The bees pick up trace pesticides as they go weakening them. When they collect the pollen it is not from a variety of plants but from one kind of crop. Modern farming practices may not be healthy for the bees.
Joined: 4/23/2006
Msg: 31
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 10:34:03 PM
I recently saw something on PBS about how in some areas of China, they have to manually pollenate their crops. Pesticides killed all their bees, now their stuck doing all the work. It's sad how people never really appreiceiate how important the little things are, until it's too late.
Joined: 11/25/2007
Msg: 32
why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 10:41:26 PM
We humans are killing everything, we should just be killed so nature can live.
Joined: 7/11/2007
Msg: 33
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why are the bees leaving ?
Posted: 6/23/2008 11:25:03 PM

It sure is weird.... Good thing we have illegals from Mexico we can pay then 50 cents to go around and pollinate the fruits manualy.

Funny you should say that…

This is a global problem bees are dieing all around the world. I was watching a news report on this a while back. They were reporting from a part of china where the bees have died off completely and the farmers have had to resort to hand pollinating! Guys with ladders, brushes and jars of pollen have to go around from tree to tree pollinating every blossom.

They said they won’t be able to afford to do it that way for much longer though because labor costs are going up in china as there economy improves. So ether they will stop growing these types of crops (pears in the report) or they will have to go up so high in price to cover the labor costs that fruits and such will become food only for the rich.

The rest of us will have to make do with grain.

(ummm guess I saw the same thing as Pyro74 then)
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