...two million colonies of honeybees across the US have been wiped out. The strange phenomenon, dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD), is also thought to have claimed the lives of billions of honeybees around the world. In Taiwan, 10 million honeybees were reported to have disappeared in just two weeks, and throughout Europe honeybees are in peril.
According to Albert Einstein, our very existence is inextricably linked to bees - he is reputed to have said: “If the bee disappears off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.”
Discovery News > Animal News > Honey Bees Disappearing: Still A Problem Mar 18, 2010
The 2010 prognosis for honey bees doesn’t look good, according to Jeff Pettis, Research Leader at the USDA Bee Lab.
Although hard data won’t be available until April, preliminary surveys of our nation’s beekeepers suggest that at least as many bee colonies have died off over the winter as they have the last few years—and possibly even more than in year
Pettis says it’s looking more and more like there are several factors working in tandem to kill off the bees. They’ve found that colonies with CCD have an abundance of bacteria, viruses and a specific fungal disease, but none of these items alone can be singled out as the cause.
And here’s the really bad news: This is the fourth year surveying honey bee losses across the U.S. In 2007, beekeepers lost 32 percent of their colonies. In 2008 they lost 36 percent. In 2009, 29 percent. Pettis suspects the 2010 numbers will be as bad or worse than these previous surveys.
In a normal year, about 15 to 20 percent of bee colonies will die off.
I’ve heard this year the winter beat them up pretty good too.
I wonder these are over-winter losses. How much do the numbers rebound during the spring and summer?
I’ve noticed a big decrease in bees around my very bee friendly home. My fruit are setting on the plum trees so it MUST have had some bee activity, but there are very few buzzing my grevillia, and it has always had LOTS of bees in past years.
It is indeed sad, and frightening. I have a special interest in the social insects (thanks to E.O. Wilson’s writings).
However, now that it is happening globally… a damn shame.
UK farming minister Lord Rooker, however, warned last year that honeybees are in acute danger: “If nothing is done about it, the honeybee population could be wiped out in 10 years,” he said. Last month, he launched a consultation on a national strategy to improve and protect honeybee health.
And yes, it’s the small things that matter:
People’s initial response to the idea of a bee-less world is often either, “That’s a shame, I’ll have no honey to spread on my toast” or, “Good - one less insect that can sting
me.” In fact, honeybees are vital for the pollination of around 90 crops worldwide. In addition to almonds, most fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are dependent on honeybees. Crops that are used as cattle and pig feed also rely on honeybee pollination, as does the cotton plant. So if all the honeybees disappeared, we would have to switch our diet to cereals and grain, and give our wardrobes a drastic makeover.
Having no more honeybees in the world would definitely be a bad thing, but you all are flat wrong when saying that civilization will crash.
Honeybees are not the only pollinating insects, or animals for that matter. They are the only ones for a certain selection of plants.
Also, in your handy Einstein quotes, was he talking about honeybees, or every species of bee on Earth? If honeybees, he’s wrong. If every species of bee on Earth, he may be right, simply because something which can wipe out all bees in the world will likely produce other slightly pressing problems as well, not even looking at the aftereffects of mass bee extinction.
This is the sort of thing predicted by Malthus. After all, we artificially increased the population of honeybees greatly for our own needs. This made infections much more likely to transmit. What usually happens in species die-offs is that a few are mutated or isolated enough that they survive, and the infection fades away. Then the population rebounds until the next infection.
A couple of good examples are the populations of rabbits vs wolves or foxes and of blackbirds vs a destructive foot fungus. the rabbit population cycle is followed by the wolf population cycle and the blackbird population grows until enough of them are around for their feet to contact the stuff left from an infected bird.
Science Friday, April 2nd, 2010
Bees and Beekeeping
In this segment, we’ll talk about bees and beekeeping, and get an update on the health of bee colonies around the country. Plus, New York City has decided to change its rules to allow the legal keeping of urban bees. We’ll find out more.
Including some up to date information on the Africanized Bees.
Also includes some nice news in that over the past couple years the “graying of the industry has turned around” as there’s been an explosion in new people taking up bee keeping.
1. Apparently there’s a fancy insecticide that’s been in use for a few years. It’s sprayed on the plants early and is absorbed internally so when insects attack they are poisoned. The chemical is excreted in the pollen and nectar so when bees gather it and take it back to their hive their food is also poisoned.
2. So maybe that’s why my two loquat trees had plenty of flowers early but have had no fruit.
3. I seem to recall that recent studies found that the Mayans had really included another hundred years or so on their calendar, so the 2012 thing is shot down.
I have been wanting to get a beehive for some time now—I love the sound of bees in summer time—but my family is against it.
Did that a few years back, the experiment failed because of an insistent bear.
Bees were tough though, we rebuilt, they persevered, but after the third attack, the bees had enough and decided to swarm and look for a safer yard. Couldn’t blame them, and I wished them the best.
However, as for dealing with the bees themselves, I was amazed at how cool it was, and how non-aggressive the bees we purchased, through the mail, were. If not for those dang bears we, and I, would have loved having and tending them for years.
~ ~ ~
So if not now, perhaps later George, you’d probably enjoy it.
I’m not familiar with bears, but it would seem that you could have conditioned them by putting out adjacent aluminum sheets around the hive and hooking alternate ones to the two sides of a 110 volt source. It wouldn’t be lethal, but when they stepped on both strips they would get a pretty decent jolt. A few times of that might have discouraged them. Another possibility, one I used with a persistent raccoon which was determined to get at the cat food bowl at night when the cat was inside, is to buy about a dozen fly paper strips and hang them around the hive. Getting those things caught in the animal’s fur can be maddening to it. On the other hand, that probably wouldn’t have worked because they would have caught many bees.