Monday, April 23, 2007

Disappearing bees huge issue and some questions...

As I read on CNN an article entitled, Vanishing honeybees mystify scientists it made me think, which of course those of you who know me knows what happened next, research! CNN states in part:
Go to work, come home.
Go to work -- and vanish without a trace.
Billions of bees have done just that, leaving the crop fields they are supposed to pollinate, and scientists are mystified about why.

The phenomenon was first noticed late last year in the United States, where honeybees are used to pollinate $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and other crops annually. Disappearing bees have also been reported in Europe and Brazil.

This MSN article entitled, Fewer birds and bees mean trouble for crops from October 2006 states:
Honeybees and bumblebees have been infected by the introduction of a parasite, while destruction of cave roosts has led to a decline in the bat population, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Research Council.

If you go even deeper into this report on the Intent Blog, they provide information from Thomas Gerber on Mysterious, Massive Death of Bees in February of 2007.

This suggests some causes for what they are calling Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) including:
Diana Cox-Foster, a professor of entomology at Penn State University, has been working on the problem for months now. She says the die-off is unprecedented, and she's made some dramatic discoveries. For example, the normally resilient bees she dissected showed traces of not one or two diseases, but nearly every disease known to affect them over the past century. They had all the diseases at once, a sign their immune systems have been compromised. "The bees are immuno-compromised, being stressed somehow," she said. Some could be related to the severe weather swings we've seen over the past few years. But many questions remain unanswered.

She and the other scientists working on the CSI-style case don't think this is just a cyclical thing. It's uncommon, unusual, and frightening to everyone associated with the often-overlooked industry. No one is sure just how bad it will be when the hives are opened in late march.

Why is this important? I think the quote from Albert Einstein makes that clear:
"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live."

Some additional information on what you can do to try to help, can be found at the Pollinator Partnership.


Hooda Thunkit said...

The next big racket:

Artificially or mechanically pollinated crops at suitably adjusted prices. . .

If the bees disappear, man will replace them with other pollination methods, but at a price.

Lisa Renee said...

They better work fast then because from what I've been reading they don't yet know how to artifically create some of the pollination that bees do. Not to mention the affect to the rest of the natural food chain if they can't figure out why and a solution to the bee deaths.

microdot said...

"Artificially or mechanically pollinated crops at suitably adjusted prices. . ."

another brilliant half thought that is so wrong!

Man will never invent a plant pollination system as efficient as bees. The plants and the bees evolved together and the massive disappearance of bees in a short time under unatural circumstances would never allow the long long time it would take another specie to evolve to take their place.
In Africa, the stapelias, hoodias and huernias which are all related evolved to be plollinated by flies.
I have a stapelia variety called the giant hairy toad plant. It has a huge flower that looks like a science fiction prop. The huge bud swells up and then opens with a pop with the exciting fragrance of dead mouse. The petals of the flower are covered with fine long magenta hairs, the center of the bloom is kind of shiny reddish and looks wounded. Just the thing to attract a fly. The other plants all operate the same way with bad smells and flowers you just don't want to touch.
I read that scientists in England have discovered that cell phone signals can cause hive desertion!
France just passed laws about the use of insecticides that affect bees as they were causing the loss of bee hives.
Now there is a new problem, 2 years ago, a ceramic importer bought a load of bosai pots from China. In some of the shipment of pots were the nests of a type of Asian wasp that preys on bees. They suddenly have become a regional problem that has spread through souther France and into Spain!
Get ready to pay a lot more for almonds!

Lisa Renee said...

I read about the hornets that were invading France and killing bees, I'd heard that they were trying to help by making the holes smaller in the hives to keep the hornets out and I was also amazed to learn how the bees had figured out how to kill the hornets, by surrounding the hornet and making their wings go faster it generated enough heat to kill the hornets.

I agree with you on how difficult it would be to recreate pollination. I wasn't aware of the cellphone signal and the bees, but hopefully science will figure out soon what is the primary cause of this and do something about it before it is too late. I think people don't realize how important something as small as a bee can be to the whole natural order.

Jenn of the Jungle said...

Interesting I was just commenting the other day to my husband about how many damn bee's there were this year. They are everywhere.

Lisa Renee said...

Strangely enough Jenn, I have not seen any bees yet. A few wasps and a carpenter bee or two but not any honey bees here at all.

Head Spinner Scott said...

I hope Einstein was wrong. Like he was about that whole "theory of relativity" crap.

I also have not seen any bees yet, but that is not too odd here. I haven't even seen a fly yet, so maybe the bees will come

microdot said...

say scott, you aren't the guy who wrote the letter to the editor blaming global warming on the extra hour of sunlight we get from daylight savings time? just asking....

here is the link for the cell phone bee disappearance story:

microdot said...

hmm that didn't seem to work...

boingboing is a very interesting page!

Lisa Renee said...


There you go microdot - you have to use the a href codes to get it to be a live link in blogger comments.