… Read the rest
The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined–electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists.
The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to Grist.
Tag Archives | Bees
Well what do expect from bunch of Brooklyn Bees, living in the borough of Junior’s Cheesecake, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and other not so healthy culinary delights? The New York Times relates the tale of the bright red bees:
… Read the rest
Cerise Mayo expected better of her bees. She had raised them right, given them all the best opportunities — acres of urban farmland strewn with fruits and vegetables, a bounty of natural nectar and pollen. Blinded by devotion, she assumed they shared her values: a fidelity to the land, to food sources free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial food coloring.
And then this. Her bees, the ones she had been raising in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and on Governors Island since May, started coming home to their hives looking suspicious. Of course, it was the foragers — the adventurers, the wild waggle dancers, the social networkers incessantly buzzing about their business — who were showing up with mysterious stripes of color.
The rapidly dwindling population of honey bees in the United States and other western countries (a/k/a colony collapse) has been a serious concern for pretty much anyone who is aware of our dependence on bees in maintaining the food chain. All sorts of solutions have been tried unsuccessfully, including importing healthy bees from Australia, and farmers’ demand for traveling apiarists and their beehives has been off the scale. Now it seems that we may finally have a lead in the race to find a cure for our ailing bees, reported in the New York Times:
… Read the rest
It has been one of the great murder mysteries of the garden: what is killing off the honeybees?
Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.
Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.
By Matt Walker of BBC Earth News:
It is rare for any species of animal to regularly kill its own in combat. However, male Dawson’s bees, one of the world’s largest bee species, are so aggressive that they kill each other en masse in a bid to mate with females.
The bees enter a frenzy of fighting, and by the time their deadly combat is over, every male bee is either killed or has perished. The extreme behaviour, which can lead to even females being killed, is caught on film by a BBC natural history crew.
Video on BBC Earth News
Mike Adams writes in NaturalNews:
… Read the rest
If you know anything about the food supply, you know that honey bees are a crucial part of the food production chain. In the United States, they pollinate roughly one-third of all the crops we eat, and without them, we’d be facing a disastrous collapse in viable food production.
That’s why, when honey bees started to disappear a few years ago, scientists scrambled to find the root cause of the phenomenon, which has since been dubbed “Colony Collapse Disorder.”
The name is a bit of a misnomer, though. It’s not really a “disorder.” It’s more of a poisoning. Or at least that’s what we may be learning from new research that’s just been published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
It’s been difficult, of course, trying to determine the cause of colony collapse disorder. Some of the suggested theories for explaining the phenomenon included chemical contamination from pesticides, genetic contamination from genetically modified crops, changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, climate change and air pollution.
Mobile towers are posing a threat to honey bees in Kerala [India] with electromagnetic radiation from mobile towers and cell phones having the potential to kill worker bees that go out to collect nectar from flowers, says a study.
A plunge in beehive population has been reported from different parts of Kerala and if measures are not taken to check mushrooming of mobile towers, bees could be wiped out from Kerala within a decade, environmentalist and Reader in Zoology, Dr Sainudeen Pattazhy says in his study.
Buzz has a whole new meaning now that scientists are giving bees cocaine.
To learn more about the biochemistry of addiction, scientists in Australia dropped liquefied freebase cocaine on bees’ backs, so it entered the circulatory system and brain.
The scientists found that bees react much like humans do: cocaine alters their judgment, stimulates their behavior and makes them exaggeratedly enthusiastic about things that might not otherwise excite them.
What’s more, bees exhibit withdrawal symptoms. When a coked-up bee has to stop cold turkey, its score on a standard test of bee performance (learning to associate an odor with sugary syrup) plummets.
“What we have in the bee is a wonderfully simple system to see how brains react to a drug of abuse,” said Andrew B. Barron, a senior lecturer at Macquarie University in Australia and a co-leader in the bees-on-cocaine studies. “It may be that when we know that, we’ll be able to stop a brain reacting to a drug of abuse, and then we may be able to discover new ways to prevent abuse in humans.”
Over the past year, some beekeepers have lost up to 90 percent of their hives. The losses could have serious effects because honeybees help produce a third of the foods we eat. When certain fruits and vegetables start disappearing from the supermarket shelf, will Americans start being concerned about the fate of bees and beekeepers (many who expect to go out of business next year)?