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Friday, November 2, 2012

Save the Bees


Colony collapse disorder (CCD) - (Wikipedia) - is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.[1] Colony collapse is significant economically because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees; and ecologically, because of the major role that bees play in the reproduction of plant communities in the wild.                 European beekeepers observed similar phenomena in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain,[2] and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree[3] while the Northern Ireland Assembly received reports of a decline greater than 50%.[4]                Multiple possible causes of CCD have been identified. In 2007, some authorities attributed the problem to biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases (i.e., pathogens[5] including Nosema apis and Israel acute paralysis virus).[6][7] Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses,[8] malnutrition, pesticides (e.g.. neonicotinoids such as clothianidin and imidacloprid[9][10][11]), and migratory beekeeping. More speculative possibilities have included both cell phone radiation[12][13] and genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics.[14][15]

Controversy Deepens Over Pesticides and Bee Collapse - Wired Magazine - Brandon KeimEmail - April 6, 2012 -         controversial new study of honeybee deaths has deepened a bitter dispute over whether the developed world’s most popular pesticides are causing an ecological catastrophe.                     Researchers led by biologist Chensheng Lu of Harvard University report a direct link between hive health and dietary exposure to imidacloprid, a so-called neonicotinoid pesticide linked to colony collapse disorder, the mysterious and massive die-off of bees across North America and Europe.                          The study isn’t without critics, who say doses used in the study may be unrealistically high. But the level of a realistic dose is also a matter of controversy, and even critics say the findings are troubling.                  “Our result replicates colony collapse disorder as a result of pesticide exposures,” said Lu, who specializes in environmental exposures to pesticides. “We need to look at our agriculture policy and see if what we’re doing now is sustainable.”                   Developed in the 1990s as a relatively less-toxic alternative to pesticides that seriously harmed human health, neonicotinoids soon became the world’s fastest-growing pesticide class and an integral part of industrial agricultural strategy. In the United States alone, neonicotinoid-treated corn now covers a total area slightly smaller than the state of Montana.                         Like earlier pesticides, neonicotinoids disrupt insects’ central nervous systems. But unlike earlier pesticides, which affected insects during and immediately after spraying, neonicotinoids spread through the vascular tissues of plants. They’re toxic through entire growing seasons, including flowering times when bees consume their pollen.

Bees Colony Collapse Disorder - Google Articles


69er said...

Very scary. I hope scientists get more of a handle on this soon.

69er said...

Very scary! Most of the bees polinating my veg. garden these days are bumble bees. Honey bees are a rarity. I hope scientists get more of a handle on this soon.

Harry Hipps said...

Varroa mites can be somewhat controlled by beekeepers with strips and some medicines that can help with diseases. This, of course, doesn't happen with bees in the wild. But pesticides, including the widely used Sevin dust and sprays are really hard on them. Gardeners really need to check out which pests they have in the garden and apply the easiest measures possible to deal with them, rather than overusing products that kill more indiscriminately.