Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tulianr, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

    A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.

    The pesticide industry disputes that. But its representatives also say they are open to further studies to clarify what, if anything, is happening.

    “They looked so healthy last spring,” said Bill Dahle, 50, who owns Big Sky Honey in Fairview, Mont. “We were so proud of them. Then, about the first of September, they started to fall on their face, to die like crazy. We’ve been doing this 30 years, and we’ve never experienced this kind of loss before.”

    In the valley, where 1.6 million hives of bees just finished pollinating an endless expanse of almond groves, commercial beekeepers who only recently were losing a third of their bees to the disorder say the past year has brought far greater losses.

    Bret Adee, who is an owner, with his father and brother, of Adee Honey Farms of South Dakota, the nation’s largest beekeeper, described mounting losses.
    “We lost 42 percent over the winter. But by the time we came around to pollinate almonds, it was a 55 percent loss,” he said in an interview here this week.

    Annual bee losses of 5 percent to 10 percent once were the norm for beekeepers. But after colony collapse disorder surfaced around 2005, the losses approached one-third of all bees, despite beekeepers’ best efforts to ensure their health.
  2. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I watched a documentary here a while back, Vanishing of the Bees (on Netflix) showed some of the biggest beeks seeing nearly a 100% mortality. Bees went out, never came back. The same thing had happened in Europe several years before, but stopped after a particular kind of pesticide was banned. Efforts to ban it here have all failed.
    Harbin and Brokor like this.
  3. DMGoddess

    DMGoddess Monkey+++

    That's because this is a money driven society, and the pesticide companies own as many Senators as the oil companies. Also, see the thread on Monsanto and Bees. Their crops produce something that kills the bees, and now they're protected.
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  4. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    Thousands of Bees Dead in Oregon Lot

    The sky is falling—again! In the latest sign of the impending apocalypse, an estimated 25,000 dead and dying bumble bees were found in an Oregon parking lot this week. Since the tiny black and yellow corpses were clustered under linden trees lining the lot, officials predict that a toxic insecticide is to blame for the carnage. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Dan Hilburn, plant director at Oregon’s Agriculture Department, noting that the department is investigating ways to keep the bees, which are needed to pollinate other plants, away from the poisonous trees. “We’re not coming up with a lot of good options,” he admitted.
    Read it at Associated Press
    June 21, 2013 7:46 AM
  5. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    If the corporations aren't stopped, especially Monsanto, and soon --it's checkmate. Something needs to happen, fast.
    tulianr and Harbin like this.
  6. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Only 1 of our hives survived the winter (out of 2). Bee keeper said our hives faired better than most in the area that he is keeping. He's pretty sure it's the insecticides/herbicides that are used far and wide throughout the county.

    Granted, we do not have enough flowering crops for all the bees but we keep planting more to keep them closer to home. Probably spent 4 years propagating hundreds of raspberry, strawberry and black berries to have season long flowering. Dozens of cherry bushes, saskatoons, apples, pears, plums to keep them happy when other hives are swarming. Plus we have so many autumn olives that our house smells like a perfume factory for weeks just as the bees start moving in earnest out of the hive to forage.
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  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    "The sky is falling—again! In the latest sign of the impending apocalypse, an estimated 25,000 dead and dying bumble bees were found in an Oregon parking lot this week. Since the tiny black and yellow corpses were clustered under linden trees lining the lot,......" Authorities now BEElieve that the followers of Buzz Lightyear, (a violent malcontent well know for his stance of armed BEE resistance) have swarmed the Linden tree under the the BEElief that the Mother Hive Ship would arrive, and take them off. Since BEES do not have a written language (that we know of) Authorities now theorize that the BEES may have left a scent trail manifesto, and are still searching for thousands of tiny cool-aid containers. (as yet not found).
    Alternate theories include gang-warfare with the neighboring wasp contingent. possibly a turf war for the available pollen supply. Queen BEEatrice, was unavailable for comment, but the BUZZ is she is furious, and may be dangerous. She, and her followers are now in "Protective Custody", and Authorities have not ruled out an "African Killer BEE Connection". :rolleyes:
  8. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    I do take exception to the 'mysterious malady' part, I don't think it's so mysterious. It's just that those in charge are too greedy/power-hungry to come out and admit what the problem is. We don't allow any synthetic chemical crap on our land, and I know there are wild honeybees somewhere nearby, because I occassionally see them on the wildflowers we leave alone.
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  9. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    I agree. It's a bit like regularly spraying your child's room with poison, and adding a bit of poison to their food every day, and then wondering why they are getting sick.
  10. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    We want some top bar hives but keep putting it off in order to get more flowering stuff planted. There are a bajillion acres of cotton fields within range of us and they're all regularly sprayed, so anything I can do to keep them fed here I figure is a bonus.

    Not to hijack the thread, but what are autumn olives?
  11. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    We lost all our hives. Am going for a couple of wild hives in an old building. They may be a bit tougher. Will put mite strips in anyway. Sure miss my little buddies--nothing like watching the wee critters hard at work and the honey is not bad either--lol.
    ETA: wondering about the trees also????
  12. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

  13. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    Fungicides May be the Missing Link in Colony Collapse Disorder
    By Todd Woody @greenwombat July 24, 2013 Quartz

    Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

    When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

    Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

    Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.
    Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

    In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.

    The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying......

    Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought – Quartz
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