In 1941, Germany had a sharp decline in its bee population. Which decimated its agricultural production (Germany grew its own food till then).
Supposedly the Nazis spared the biologist Karl von Frisch (he not only discovered bees could see in color, but later detailed the waggle dance) so he could work on this most vital business.
My sister has or just had a hive in her backyard (they settled there about a week ago). They were supposed to have a beekeeper come out and transport them (no, she didn't harm the bees). The lady on the phone was saying how desperate CA is for bees, and how badly the state has been affected by it.
April 10th, 2007 2:11am
I've been following this story for awhile with concern.
Aside from all the pollutants and chemicals that may be contributing to the bee die-off, do you think that the constant transporting of bees from one farm to another could be having a deleterious effect? Has this practice been going on for years or is it a fairly recent phenomenon?
After all, if you picked up a herd of caribou and dropped them in a location with a similar climate to Alaska but not on their normal migration route, you'd expect major problems. Admittedly caribou aren't bees, but you can only stress a species so much before bad things happen.
It could easily be the same as DDT where it's some environmental stressor that nobody connects to bees, but has been filtered down through the environment and affects them 2nd, 3rd or even 10th generation from the original species that ingested the toxin.
April 10th, 2007 6:36am
Hauling bees around is a mostly US phenomenon. Which is why the varroa mite problem went from being a localized problem to nationwide epidemic in a year. The hives that get trucked around manage to spread what they get to every place the travel to.
Chemicals, transportation, etc doesn't explain why this year is such a disaster year rather than last year. Or hopefully next year.
Chemicals might. Has there been a new pesticide released lately? Have those genetically engineered "Plants with built-in pesticide" been spread widely?
For bees to leave the nest, never to return, sounds like something's eating or killing them pretty quickly. If it was a conventional pesticide, surely some would die back at the nest, no?
What has happened is several pesticides that didn't bother bees were banned in the last 5 years, without any good replacements. Those pesticides aren't made anywhere anymore. As a result, a lot of farmers have been trucking in DDT from Mexico and using that, and the DDT causes problems with bees. There's really no solution here since if the farmers stop using the DDT, they'll lose their crops to pests since the other pesticides are not available.
DDT is banned from mexico for production or usage, since 1997. The only allowed usage is against an epidemic of paludism.
April 10th, 2007 5:49pm
It was me, I've been eating them. I didn't think anybody would notice.
I heard that something is lowering their defences, so they are getting mulitple viruses, some bees having as many as nine viruses (as if we were counting before now). Some new pesiticide is a potential suspect they said.
April 11th, 2007 12:26am
I suppose, if a bee feels sick enough, he could go into a Kamikazi dive into the ground. That would leave his body far away from the hive. Maybe they're programmed to do that, to prevent bringing diseases back to the hive.