PDA

View Full Version : New Article: Earth Life Threats - Alarming Disappearance of Honey Bees



webmaster
03-02-2007, 03:10 PM
Thanks to Honeyfarmer and Ms. Linda Moulton Howe, owner of 'Earthfiles (http://www.earthfiles.com/index.cfm?category=Headline+News)', we have an article regarding the alarming die off of bees worldwide. Since bees pollinate 1/3 of our food supply, this is a really scary thing.

The full text of the article is here:
Alarming Disappearance of Honey Bees (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=882&Itemid=294)

akueck
03-02-2007, 10:41 PM
Yikes!

kace069
03-03-2007, 02:13 AM
Everytime I see and article about this it is longer and full of more bad news. I lost 2 of my 3 colonies but I am pretty sure it was not related to this epidemic. I think mine died of just plain cold weather.

It seems to bee snowballing. I read and article the other day about a BK who went into the winter with 1200 colonies and expects only 9 to survive. I believe he was in California

wolf_tracker
03-03-2007, 08:23 AM
:wave:

This comment is from someone who is taking a
newbie beekeeper class. We finished out second class.

This topic was brought up in our class and the three
instructors of the class (many with more the 30 years
of experience) all said that in their opinion that a
lot of the die off is due to poor colony management.

Many large corp beekeeper companies do not manage their
hives correctly.

That the instructors we make sure that we will know
what to do with our hives and not to worry about this.

The newbie students showed concern about this but
the beekeeper instructors and wranglers did not.

They showed us some info on a hybrid bee that looked
like it showed promise on beating the mite problems.

Just some info a second class newbie beekeeper
is passing on.

:cheers:
Wolf

The Honey Farmer
03-03-2007, 10:46 AM
Wolf-Tracker, I agree with your instructors that die-off is from poor colony management. Commercial BK take short cuts and that's bad. But this is not die-off, these bees have disappeared, gone, vanished. 10's of thousands of colonies of bees have just disappeared! Dude, that ain't poor colony management, that's down right scary.
Right now about 1,000,000 or so colonies from all across the country are in Ca. for the Almond pollination. What if this is contagious? There are billions of bees flying around touching each other, walking on the same blossoms, going back to their own colonies, ect. ect. ect. And to top it all off, these colonies are going to come back to their home states. The almond pollination just might be a *Melting Pot* of disaster. JMO
My advice is, buy your honey now while it's still cheap. I may be wrong but at least you'll have honey.

Bee Cool, Dennis

kace069
03-03-2007, 11:05 AM
You would think with all the implications of a bee shortage the government would step in and say your bees aren't moving over state lines. Its probably impossible to put a stop to that in the next month or so as spring approaches but if this is some kind of contagious pathogen we may not be through the worst of it yet. I would imagine that not only would the cost of honey go up but also the cost of packaged bees. I need 2 as it is and wanted to expand my yard this year but it is not looking promising.

wolf_tracker
03-03-2007, 11:43 AM
:wave:

The instructors we have ... have ordered
about 1K packages for the club and the classes

From GA.

They are charging us about $58 for each package.

Is this a good price

We are going to get our woodwork form Bushy Mountain
we think

8 frame medium suppers ... we think

thoughts comments???

The Honey Farmer
03-03-2007, 12:26 PM
:wave:
WOLF-TRACKER, yes $58.00 is a good price. I buy from Bee-Weaver in Texas and last year they charged $90.00 for a 3# package with a queen. Your getting a group price.
I use BEE-MAX polystyren?spelling hives. Deep, 10 framers with plastic frames.
IMO only, they are lighter, and provide better insulation in cold weather or hot.
But beekeeping equipment is personal.

Bee Cool, Dennis

wolf_tracker
03-04-2007, 11:34 AM
http://tinyurl.com/ypnrxs

The Honey Farmer
03-04-2007, 12:16 PM
Excellent article WOLF-TRACKER, however I'm still worried. :sad1:

Dennis

webmaster
03-04-2007, 10:05 PM
Be worried. I spoke this weekend with Jeff, a guy on my civil war shooting team who happens to head up the bee association here in NC.

There have been meetings and discussions all over the country about this, and word is getting to Washington, as a die-off of this level could cause famine world-wide, since bees pollinate 1/3 of our food crops worldwide.

They are looking at aspergillis, which was found on doing autopsies on bees found in the die off sites. They've also found some sort of organism in the bees, and are investigating possible use of certain pesticides used on crops.

At this point, no conclusive evidence has been produced, but the entire beekeeping community is on high alert, and as the winter wanes, it is expected that many, *many* more hives will be discovered to be missing.

Wolf-tracker, this is most definitely *not* a care issue. Guard your bees well, this is a very real problem, and one that is receiving world-wide attention.

I'll provide any updates I get from my bee-keeping folks, and drop a line to Dewey Caron, an entymology professor at U. Delaware, see what he has to contribute.

beeboy
03-27-2007, 04:14 PM
Just read a good article about CCD in the local paper, another cause that is being looked at is the pestacide imidacloprid which is used on termites and confuses thier ability to return home when out in the field. Nobody is sure on the vector that the insectacide takes to get to the bees. Seems there are a lot of questions with no answers yet.

wolf_tracker
03-27-2007, 04:34 PM
can you share a link to the article??

beeboy
03-27-2007, 10:22 PM
I tried but the paper charges 2.95 to access the link, damn capitalists >:(.

Angus
03-28-2007, 07:52 AM
This is a frightening issue as bees are vital to our current food production. They are even beginning to cover the problem on the local news (Milwaukee news occasionally spends a couple of minutes a night on the death of some world leader, or the sinking of Africa into the oceans, before going back to detailing what Bret Favre found between his toes yesterday). Although I am very much against "big government, big brother", it would seem that this looming disastor warrants a more agressive course of action on our elected leaders parts.

An interesting article, with a very informative report here (http://www.panna.org/resources/documents/fallDwindleUpdate0107.pdf).

“Pesticides linked to honeybee population decline: Bees are critically important to farm ecosystems because of their role as pollinators that allow crops to produce edible fruit and seed. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon described by beekeepers, researchers and government officials when entire hive populations seem to disappear, apparently dying out. A CCD working group was recently formed with researchers from the University of Montana, The Pennsylvania State University, the USDA/ARS, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to analyze the problem. Their preliminary report indicates how pesticides may be a factor, specifically neonicotinioid pesticides, including imidacloprid, clothianiden and thiamethoxam. According to the CCD report, "If bees are eating fresh or stored pollen contaminated with these chemicals at low levels, they may not cause mortality but may impact the bee's ability to learn or make memories. If this is the case, young bees leaving the hive to make orientation flights may not be able to learn the location of the hive and may not be returning causing the colonies to dwindle and eventually die." Porterville Recorder reporter Sarah Elizabeth Villicana interviewed a Terra Bella, California beekeeper, Eric Lane, who suspects harm to the bees is linked to imidacloprid, made by Bayer Crop Science. "It is my personal belief that this chemical is responsible for thinning the bee population," Lane said. "It was used it France and killed 70 percent of the bee population in France."

a quote from the Pesticide Action Network Update Services (PANUPS), http://www.panna.org/resources/panups/panup_20070222.dv.html

Angus

wayneb
03-28-2007, 10:55 AM
At least they may be closing in on a potential cause. Actually, if it is pesticide induced instead of caused by some infectious agent, this may be a good thing. Use of pesticides can be restricted; we have no such controls on viruses or bacteria. Anyone here know how long neonicotinoids stay active in the ecosystem? Do they break down readily? I hope so, because I would not want to see something with the halflife of DDT let loose on the bee colonies of the world.

Lugh
03-29-2007, 05:35 PM
A new one for today that really just repeats what we've already seen.

One researcher says it's stress suppressing the bee's immune system. Maybe they need some echinacea pollen...

http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/29/news/honeybees/

Wolfie
03-29-2007, 08:28 PM
Although I am very much against "big government, big brother", it would seem that this looming disastor warrants a more agressive course of action on our elected leaders parts.


Angus


You said it Angus. If they're going to be hanging around they should atleast make themselves usefull. When will polotics cut the crap and pay a little attention to science? :-\

PS--anyone else catch mention of the bee epidemic on the Colbert Report?

beeboy
03-31-2007, 10:35 PM
The Florida beekeepers are saying that the US Department of Agriculture is moving way too slow addressing this problem. There was a follow up article in the paper about how little was being done to identify the cause of CCD by our government. According to the paper comercial beekeeping is on the ropes in the US. Low priced imported honey, mites and now CCD are hitting domestic beekeepers hard. If there isn't something done soon the entire pollination industy will collapse. I wonder if africianized honey bees suffer from CCD also?

wolf_tracker
04-07-2007, 06:56 AM
http://tinyurl.com/2rztlj

>:(

wolf

WRATHWILDE
04-27-2007, 05:11 PM
Fungus fingered in US honeybee wipeout. (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/27/ccd_fungus_link/)

Wrathwilde

Leonora
06-05-2007, 04:56 PM
Another look at the CCD -

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mvanishingbees.htm

Leonora

errollo
06-10-2007, 01:27 AM
When I first heard of Colony Collapse Disorder, I began to worry about honey prices. After some research, I'm much less concerned - here's why: http://www.washingtonwinemaker.com/blog/2007/05/14/honey-prices-making-sense-of-colony-collapse-disorder/. I'll just briefly say that nationwide, CCD has claimed 25% of commercial colonies. Last year's unfavorable weather depressed per colony yield, so if this turns out to be a more normal year, then 25% fewer colonies will result in about 15% less honey. Beekeepers will be trying to rebuild their colonies and I think it's way too pessimistic to assume they will have no success at all. So I think US production will fall by less than 15%, possibly much less.

Vino
01-07-2009, 11:44 PM
I emailed my uncle who owns a large farm in Fehmarn Germany (Island in the Baltic Sea) to see if he would send me some Rape Honey to make a mead...he told me they had very little honey available because they had lost most of thier bee's...He told me about the law suit that had been filed against Bayer (http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2008/2008-08-25-01.asp)...I guess they never learn.

wrohan
01-08-2009, 02:35 PM
i was really frustrated with the US media as they covered CCD. France and Canada basically went through the same thing after the Bayer pesticide Imicloprid (yes, same as the drug in Advantage for pets) was approved for widespread pesticide use. They have released it under several names, but i think the US version is called Gaucho.

Brewin_Mead_in_CO
03-06-2009, 02:25 PM
I am not sure who has seen this yet, but here are exerts from an article on cnn.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/05/smallbusiness/biotech_for_bees.fsb/index.htm?postversion=2009030606

One Miami startup hopes to cure a mysterious plague threatening the food supply.

(Fortune Small Business) -- Bee colonies might not seem like the most lucrative market for designer drugs. But the need is urgent: CCD, or colony collapse disorder, a strange syndrome that kills adult worker bees outside the hive, has been reported across the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says American beekeepers lost 37% of their hives to CCD last year, after losing 31% the year before.

Scientists still can't agree on which virus, if any, causes CCD. The government estimates that a third of our food supply - $15 billion annually in vegetables, nuts and fruits from plants that depend on bees for pollination - could be in danger.

Enter Beeologics, a Miami biotech startup that aims to create vaccines for all viruses that could lead to CCD. It's an unlikely collaboration between Eyal Ben-Chanoch, 49, a tech entrepreneur who helped design the first Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) Pentium chip, and Ilan Sela, 71, an Israeli expert on sequencing the genomes of bee viruses.

FDA approval is still pending, but the company is confident it will be able to commercialize the vaccine this summer, at around $2 per dose.


This is promising, and hopefully it will come soon.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Michael

Medsen Fey
03-06-2009, 03:20 PM
There is an interesting article in the Economist (March 5, 2009) entitled The bees are back in town (http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13226733) discussing the glut of pollinators for California's Almond crop this year. It discusses how economics and nutritional support may play a role in CCD. The disturbing part was -



And if the nutrition and disease theory is correct, next year’s lower contract prices may see beekeepers cutting back on supplemental feeding, and a resurgence of CCD.


Uh-oh here it come again.... :(

osluder
03-06-2009, 03:44 PM
FDA approval is still pending, but the company is confident it will be able to commercialize the vaccine this summer, at around $2 per dose.

How exactly does one vaccinate a bee? -- Olen

STLBrewer
03-06-2009, 05:11 PM
Very small needles...

Dan McFeeley
03-07-2009, 11:34 AM
The writers for the Doctor Who series have also worked at drawing attention to the disappearance of honey bees -- it was made a repeating theme during the fourth season.

http://jamesmcinerney.ie/2008/06/30/dr-who-and-the-disappearance-of-honey-bees/

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080521152142AA53aZP

Kee
03-07-2009, 12:45 PM
Very small needles...

The hardest part isn't the needles. It's keeping unvaccinated bees in the waiting room.

osluder
03-07-2009, 02:09 PM
How exactly does one vaccinate a bee?

No, seriously: I know it may have come out as a bit of a flippant question, but how does one give a large population of very small critters medication? Perhaps one of our beekeeping forum-mates can chime in? Being from Texas, I know how they do livestock, but small flying insects? Perhaps a topical spray and they absorb it through their "skin"? Or in some sort of food source that they take in "orally"? How can you be sure of the proper dose being delivered with those methods? -- Olen

Medsen Fey
03-07-2009, 02:16 PM
I am not a beekeeper, but I believe many of the medications they give are mixed into syrup or honey and fed to the bees. I'll let someone more knowledgeable speak to how they decide the dosing.

beeboy
03-08-2009, 10:26 PM
I would think that the vacination needs to get to the queen, maybe thru the food or a spray into the hive. Then the subsequent generations of worker bees would be protected as the unvacinated workers die off. Pollen nutrition was identified as a possible cause of CCD, the lower protein pollens produce worker bees with a much shorter life span. I still wonder if low levels of different pesticides can have a long term affect and increase the effect of poor quality pollen. We need to wait and see if the bees are out of the woods yet.

andrewschwab
03-09-2009, 01:34 AM
Here is the cool thing about bee hives. They are VERY social, you introduce something (via pollen mix, syrup, or whatever) it will be passed through the hive in about 30 min...

OK I made up the 30 min..., BUT it is very fast, they pass everything around good or bad. It could be less then 30 or a bit longer but you get the idea.

Bees are managed different then in the "old days" for better or worse. You decide.
BUT come up with a better way to feed this many people on less land. We did it to ourselves. ALL of us... hence the bees are paying for it now, US later????

Kee
03-09-2009, 04:26 AM
I would think that the vacination needs to get to the queen, maybe thru the food or a spray into the hive. Then the subsequent generations of worker bees would be protected as the unvacinated workers die off. Pollen nutrition was identified as a possible cause of CCD, the lower protein pollens produce worker bees with a much shorter life span...

In humans, vaccines don't pass from generation to generation. Just the first few months of our lifespan until our own immune system kicks off. I assume it's similar for bees. It would almost have to be food or water borne. Or perhaps similar to how pesticides are delivered.

I hope it isn't mixed into honey and fed back. And how would you work out dosing? I would think overdosing would be fairly easy.

errollo
03-09-2009, 12:39 PM
There are reasons for optimism about Colony Collapse Disorder, even if our scientists never discover the cause. This, or something with identical symptoms, has struck several times in the past. Each time it faded away before anyone could figure out why. In the here and now, CCD has been taking colonies since at least 2006, but it just hasn't hurt the industry that badly. To see that, you need to look past the scary stories (they are scary and my heart goes out to beekeepers that do all they can only to see healthy colonies struck down for no apparent reason) to look at the total number of producing colonies in the US and how that has changed since 2006 (when CCD was first identified).

2008 was the worst year, with the number of colonies dropping 6% (and CCD is only one possible explanation for that - might the cold 2008-2009 winter have increased ordinary winter losses?). The population was remarkably stable in 2006 and 2007. More details here (http://www.washingtonwinemaker.com/blog/2009/03/09/colony-collapse-disorder-a-nuisance-not-a-catastrophe/), but as catastrophes go, CCD is pretty mild.

Medsen Fey
03-09-2009, 01:02 PM
Hello Erroll,

I had much the same thought looking at data from the USDA. The numbers of colonies hadn't really dropped that much. Ken Schramm provided a much different perspective in a thread on CCD Here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12876&highlight=beekeep%2A) (in the Patron's section).

Essentially beekeepers have been able to maintain the colony count by doing all sorts of extra (and costly) measures - splitting hives, starting with smaller populations and so forth. While they have been able to afford to do this replacement thus far, they certainly won't be able to continue to afford such replacements year after year if it continues.

I certainly hope the problem disappears.

Medsen

errollo
03-10-2009, 02:37 AM
Hi Medsen,

I don't know that I can say much about a thread I can't see, so I'll just ask some questions.


beekeepers have been able to maintain the colony count by doing all sorts of extra (and costly) measures - splitting hives, starting with smaller populations and so forth

Is he saying that beekeepers are splitting colonies more often since 2006 than they were before 2006? Is he saying that colonies are, on average, smaller than before 2006? These sound measurable. Are there reliable nationwide data on them?

Is he saying that the problem with CCD is that it adds to the cost of beekeeping? It makes sense to me that it would, but that sounds a lot milder than statements like, "CCD is wiping out the honeybees."

Medsen Fey
03-10-2009, 09:07 AM
I won't presume to speak for Ken, and I do not know if data on splitting and colony size is collected. Someone with more beekeeping knowledge here may be able to direct you.

The point I took away is that by heroic efforts, despite large losses of hives, the beekeepers have thus far been able to keep the number of hives from dropping dramatically. If the continuing losses persist at the rate seen in 2006-2008, you will see the number of hives drop at some point.

errollo
03-10-2009, 12:50 PM
I won't presume to speak for Ken [...] If the continuing losses persist at the rate seen in 2006-2008, you will see the number of hives drop at some point.

This raises more questions, but you're right it's not fair to ask you to speak for him. Mr. Schramm has earned the respect of a lot of people (including me!), but hearing second hand about qualitative, anecdotal information just isn't convincing - even from him.

andrewschwab
03-11-2009, 01:04 AM
Ok I will speak on the beekeeping side of this :)

Splitting hives, I believe most if not all beekeepers will split hives most years. The process involved is taking a few frames (2-5) of bees and brood. These are taken away from the parent hive. Set off somewhere else and given a new queen. If all things go well you have a new(small) hive. NOW, most beekeepers will split the STRONG hives for 2 reasons. 1. They will replace hives that died during winter etc.. 2. Strong hives need to be split by the beekeeper OR the hive will do it on its own (swarm).
Beekeepers prefer to make the split on there own, that way they can control timing and the amount of bees removed.
Splits like this are good, and don't effect productiion of either hive.

BUT if you had heavy losses (bee die off) in your apiary then you start to split EVERYONE, this hurts. Hives will not be up to the number of bees needed to make good honey crops. You can only recover so many losses in a given year. If you have lost so many that you really can't split your own then you have to purchase bees or packages this cost big $$$$ as anyone who has purchased bees knows.

OK here is the latest report from the bee mags:
Most have heard about the almonds in CA, and the HUGE number of hives needed for them. GUESS what happen this year, yet another perfect storm to kick beekeepers in the head.
The beekeepers have been following what is recommended to get there hive healthy, feeding heavy in the fall, treating(or checking) for mites, treating for nosema(both kinds), and lots of pollen substitute in the fall. The beekeepers did it hives are looking better there where more bees in CA this year then in past. But Ooooooooo here comes the storm. NO WATER!!!!!! Sure most have heard about the water shortage in CA. Almonds need water, and lots of it. So the farmers cancel contracts or just didn't get bees this year. They will let the orchard sit. The cost of nuts is also down. So needless to say there where alot of bees that made the trip out and didn't get to see that lovely almond bloom, :(

Hope this kinda answers your question.maybe

errollo
03-12-2009, 02:34 PM
Thanks Andrew - that really does help.

I can only imagine how frustrating it was to be lectured on how to keep your bees, follow all the advice, then get hit with that drought.

epetkus
03-12-2009, 07:51 PM
...
The beekeepers have been following what is recommended to get there hive healthy, feeding heavy in the fall, treating(or checking) for mites, treating for nosema(both kinds), and lots of pollen substitute in the fall. ...
Hope this kinda answers your question.maybe

First, I AM NOT a beekeeper, bee expert nor claim to be. I just wanted to pass along some comments I got from an Apiary down in Ft. Pierce, FL.

When I asked them about CCD and what impacts it has had on their hives, their response surprised me; they haven't lost any hives to CCD. They did lose over 500 hives during the hurricanes several years back, but none due to CCD. When I questioned them why, what are they doing differently, their response was they didn't know for sure, but one reason may be that they allowed the bees to keep (feed on) the honey they produced over the winter. They stated that many apiaries feed the bees a sugar water mixture during the winter versus the bees own honey, and that maybe there was more natural nutrients/immune system boosting in the bees own honey.

Eric

andrewschwab
03-13-2009, 01:56 AM
Yep that is correct, alot of apiary's are pulling the honey supers off earlier and letting the bees store more honey in the later summer. Which all agree is better.

Kee
03-13-2009, 04:02 AM
Andrewschwab, thank you. That was both educational and insightful.

Medsen Fey
05-20-2009, 04:30 PM
I saw this news article (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090519/ap_on_re_us/us_disappearing_bees_2) which says the losses of bees over the winter were somewhat less this year, but were still nearly 30%. There doesn't seem to be too much good news on the CCD front.

And it can only mean honey prices aren't coming down anytime soon. :(

shunoshi
05-20-2009, 05:00 PM
I saw this news article (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090519/ap_on_re_us/us_disappearing_bees_2) which says the losses of bees over the winter were somewhat less this year, but were still nearly 30%. There doesn't seem to be too much good news on the CCD front.

And it can only mean honey prices aren't coming down anytime soon. :(

That could be viewed as "better news than last year", but overall that is a horrible number. :( The article said it best:


The ones who I talk to are just beside themselves. If you are a small business person how many years of 30 percent losses can you take?

I feel bad for both hobbyist and commercial apiaries.

Medsen Fey
05-20-2009, 05:36 PM
Of course, I don't really know what a good number ought to be. What were the expected annual percentage losses prior to the CCD problem?

shunoshi
05-20-2009, 05:56 PM
A report here (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33938.pdf) says that annual losses since 1990 have been on average of 17%-20%. 30% doesn't seem like such a horrible number in comparison, but a 10%-13% decrease in populations is still bad.

The report has some interesting statistics in it. Dated 5/28/08, so it doesn't include this year's numbers, but interesting nonetheless.

Poobah58
05-21-2009, 11:04 PM
Have you guys seen this article about a possible cure (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090414084627.htm)?

andrewschwab
05-22-2009, 01:57 AM
10% or less used to be the norm for losses. It keeps creeping up:p

The "cure" article is junk. Someone got there name published. This was a yard that had nosema, they treated for it and it got better. It was not ccd. There are some very odd and pointed things when ccd happens.

The bees are all "queen right" brood in the comb at all stages, pollen stored and feed. Then number of bees start to drop with no sign of dead bees in or around the hive. Until there is a queen and handfull of bees left.
Here is the kicker, after the hive dies no other bugs will touch it for weeks.:eek:

Other bugs love empty bee hives, honey, pollen all in one stop shop.