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Is this killing all the bees?

Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005
 

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Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005
Even in victoria this year there are less bees.
Friends up in duncan say there are less there too. Colony die off started just a few years ago.
Percy Schmeiser is part of an anti gmo group.
They say that the cause is the growing of gm foods in conjunction with a new type of pesticide. The type of pesticide is called neonicotinoids (or neonics) and cause bees to lose their sense of direction and damages their immune system.
They pinpoint them because they came into use just before colony collapse disorder started.
Colony collapse disorder symptoms include the adult bees going off for food in the morning and never coming back. Leaving a hive full of young bee grubs to starve.
One bee keeper even notes that his bees went polinating blueberrys the day they dissapeared.
I write this just wondering if all that has been written about this issue in the past is a smoke screen?
People want a completely certain cause when a probable cause is right there wiping out bees every second.
How about access to the company test results about the pesticice?
I note too that a government scientist was just fired in canada for reporting that they are downsizing government testing.
Industry has shown that they cannot be trusted to handle safety issues.

Farmpunk
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Joined: Jul 25 2006
I've not read about that pesticide. Will do some research.

I do know that there are certain kinds of pesticides which are much harder on bees than others. Synthetic pyrethrids, I think. Those types of pesticides are plant systemic, meaning the plant absorbs the pesticide, more or less, and fights off bugs that way. As I understand it, these pesticides are hard on bees, not just because it kills them, but when the bees return to the hives they infect the group. Nasty.

Other pesticides are simple contact killers.

That being said, pesticides have been used for decades now, uncluding the two versions I just mentioned. I've heard innumerable reasons for bee loss, but one of those compelling has been the fact that the honeybee as we know it is an import, not native to NA. The die off can then be seen as a more or less natural occurance. The problem then becomes on of natural pollenators, NA native bees, and how we've reduced, ruined, and wrecked their habitat. I actually don't see many honeybees around anymore, but I do see more native species. Maybe I just notice them more because of the lack of honeybees.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005
I nature watch in my back garden and the other types of bees are scarse too. And this year, I was sick a few times so more time and less veggys and more flowers out there too. Mason bees, for instance. You would expect them to take up the slack but they havn't.
Insects are incredible reproducers so a season without honeybees should see big increases in native bees. Mason bees are attracted to wet mortar too. I havn't noticed them this year at work at all except for 1 day. (I am a stonemason). Very unusual.
quote:Originally posted by Farmpunk:
.

That being said, pesticides have been used for decades now, uncluding the two versions I just mentioned. I've heard innumerable reasons for bee loss, but one of those compelling has been the fact that the honeybee as we know it is an import, not native to NA. The die off can then be seen as a more or less natural occurance. The problem then becomes on of natural pollenators, NA native bees, and how we've reduced, ruined, and wrecked their habitat. I actually don't see many honeybees around anymore, but I do see more native species. Maybe I just notice them more because of the lack of honeybees.


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004
There are more "bumble bees" this year, up here in the Rockies, than I have ever observed before, and they are huge this year too, some are at least the size of a quarter, and closer to a loonie with wing span included.

Diazinone, is extremely toxic to honey bees. Yet killing dandilions in the lawn is more important, it seems, than having a bee population.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
Ignorant question here...

If honeybees decline in population and other types of bees make up for it, do the other types of bees make up for the honeybees when it comes to pollinating plants and flowers? Does this just mean that honey becomes scarce, but the balance otherwise when it comes to crops and flowers and plants stays okay?


aka Mycroft
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Joined: Aug 8 2004
Those of us who watch Doctor Who know that what's happened is that the bees, sensing the imminent abduction of Earth by the Daleks, have decided to leave en masse and return to their home planet of Melissa Majoria (much in the same way as the dolphins left Earth prior to its destruction in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Maritimesea
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Joined: Apr 22 2005
quote:Originally posted by Michelle:
Ignorant question here...

If honeybees decline in population and other types of bees make up for it, do the other types of bees make up for the honeybees when it comes to pollinating plants and flowers? Does this just mean that honey becomes scarce, but the balance otherwise when it comes to crops and flowers and plants stays okay?

Yeah I think it's the plant pollination that is most critical.

Saw a documentary about just this subject on CBCNW, or maybe PBS, anyway a village in China has been reduced to using humans to pollinate pear trees as the bees there have completely disappeared.

Basically a small army of people use sticks with feathers tied to the ends, which they dip in dried pollen, and then "baste" every single blossom on a pear tree, of which there are acres and acres. It's extremely labour intensive.

Numerous plausible theories were considered like cell phone frequencies or a bee virus that may be attacking their immune system, similar to Aids, and various pesticides as well.

Basically what I gleamed from the documentary was that bees are disappearing worldwide, no one knows exactly why, and if it continues we will likely be stuck with eating a corn-wheat based gruel.

But I'm sure our superior brains will devise a technological solution. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

Roast beef and mashed potatoes in a toothpaste tube anyone?


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
Wow. Interesting - I didn't know about that in China.

So, are the other species of bees sufficiently replacing the honey bees here?


aka Mycroft
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Joined: Aug 8 2004
I read a few weeks ago that they now suspect that the bees are dying off because of the Varroa mite.

Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005
neonicotinoids came into use exactly when it started (colony collapse disorder). I take this from wikipedia
"Neonicotinoids have been strictly limited in France since the 1990s, when they were implicated in a mass die-off of the bee population. Germany has banned seed treatment related Neonicotinoids, May 2008, due to negative affects upon bee colonies"
France has limited these substances for a decade!
And it strikes me that all bees have to navigate back to their babies so all bees will be affected to some extent.
It should be easy with an entire french speaking province to check if the french bee population rebounded or remained in decline since the 1990's.
Please lets focus on these substances for a few seconds before getting lost in the wilderness of other theorys.
My whole point is that there looks like a very large smoking gun that people in general have decided to ignore. The chemical in question is even known to cause bees to lose their sense of direction and it is known to weaken their immune system!
It looks to me as if it is as simple as taking that chemical out of the equation and the bees start to reappear.

quote:Originally posted by Maritimesea:

Numerous plausible theories were considered like cell phone frequencies or a bee virus that may be attacking their immune system, similar to Aids, and various pesticides as well.

Basically what I gleamed from the documentary was that bees are disappearing worldwide, no one knows exactly why, and if it continues we will likely be stuck with eating a corn-wheat based gruel.

But I'm sure our superior brains will devise a technological solution. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

Roast beef and mashed potatoes in a toothpaste tube anyone?


Maritimesea
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Joined: Apr 22 2005
Well if neonicotinoids are a known possible problem I'm sure the scientists are looking at it.

Another thing I forgot to mention that I heard from the documentary was that it is believed there is likely no silver bullet solution, that there seems to be several or maybe many problems consecutively that is causing the disappearance of bees worldwide.

Check out this page and click on "trailer".

*see the link in the next post

[ 12 July 2008: Message edited by: Maritimesea ]


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005
quote:Originally posted by Maritimesea:
Saw a documentary about just this subject on CBCNW, or maybe PBS, anyway a village in China has been reduced to using humans to pollinate pear trees as the bees there have completely disappeared.
That would be this one.

Check out Part 4, about 4 minutes in.


Maritimesea
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Joined: Apr 22 2005
quote:Originally posted by M. Spector:
That would be this one.

Check out Part 4, about 4 minutes in.

Yeah that's the one, thanks, I couldn't find it.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005
Nope, they are a known actual problem, they are known to cause bees to lose their way and they are known to weaken their immune system.
So the virus is just secondary, the root cause is the neonicotinoids.
I am wondering who is using them in victoria?
Are flower or veggy gardners using them or is it commercial use or is the city of vic using them on all their garden beds?
I have lots of flowers this year, usually crawling with bees and little wasps. Just a few tiny bees every 5 minutes or so this year.
None of the tiny beautiful greenish wasps that adored these white flowers over the last few years.
There will be a scientific report out in october down in the states, but you know how easy it is to suppress stuff or cast doubt on stuff if the big boys want to sell more poison.
I do not believe we can wait that long.
Can we not just check what happened in france 10 years ago and learn from it?
Or learn from what happened in germany?
As I understand it, bees and wasps are the main navigating insects that feed their young. So if they lose their sense of direction, they are done for. Lots of wasps are important too. They eat other bugs, some pollinate and whether social or communal, they feed their young.
If the insecticide is to blame, then the long range bees will be most affected, followed by the medium range ones and the ones that just stay local will dissapear only if someone in the area is spraying.
I have not looked into it much here.
Not many mason bees (it was a cold spring so maybe that affected them) hardly any honey bees, just a few bumble bees and leaf cutters? I have not seem any but have seen plenty of their nests.
A couple of years ago, I saw a leafcutter back up in the air and "puck" a flying honey bee out of the way to get to a flower!
When leafcutters fly with a piece of leaf, it is like they are surfing on a piece of green tubing. Really beautiful.
These creatures are worth fighting for.
Lets act now

quote:Originally posted by Maritimesea:
Well if neonicotinoids are a known possible problem I'm sure the scientists are looking at it.

Another thing I forgot to mention that I heard from the documentary was that it is believed there is likely no silver bullet solution, that there seems to be several or maybe many problems consecutively that is causing the disappearance of bees worldwide.

Check out this page and click on "trailer".

*see the link in the next post

[ 12 July 2008: Message edited by: Maritimesea ]


Frustrated Mess
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Joined: Feb 23 2005
I have been following this issue for two years. Brian, others agree with you: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19233858/

However, I think we will find that chemical is just part of the problem. I am not aware of any research to validate the claims, but organic bee keepers are saying their colonies are not suffering.

Another interesting report suggest their is a link between BT corn and bees infected with mites:

quote: The study concluded that there was no evidence of a "toxic effect of Bt corn on healthy honeybee populations." But when, by sheer chance, the bees used in the experiments were infested with a parasite, something eerie happened. According to the Jena study, a "significantly stronger decline in the number of bees" occurred among the insects that had been fed a highly concentrated Bt poison feed.

Are GM crops killing honey bees

However, bees getting sick and dying is not quite the same as bees flying off never to return. And none of the theories I've read explain the other unusual phenomenon of infected hives being left alone by raiders and predators.

Also, it would be incorrect to assume native pollinators would replace honey bee populations. 1) they don't compete. You will often find bumblebees, butterflies, flies, and honeybees, on the same patch of flowers. 2) the populations of natural pollinators have also been severely harmed through the use of pesticides, and loss of foraging habitat.

In New Brunswick, for example, the spraying of woodlands for budworm and the use of pesticides on blueberries decimated the native bee population Now honeybees are imported to pollinate the blueberry crop.

We have yet to learn that the law of unintended consequences is greatly amplified in nature.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005
Thank you for the link, I think the bee keepers had to be the first to clue in.
I have just been out the the gardens front and back.
2 honey bees and 1 bumble bee in 10 minutes!
And a big white flowered native thing that the bees and that little green wasp love right in the middle with not a single bee visiting!
Disasterous.
There are some of the spider eating long tailed wasps about too. Thats it! No yellow jackets, or hornets.
I live about 2 km from the centre of victoria.
They spray for gypsy moth every year but I believe that is way earlier.
Lots of people here are obsessed with weeds and having perfect flowers and the city of victoria has a law onto itself so probably there are lots of the pesticides in use.
As far as as I can see, in this one area, it is bees and wasps in general.
Those spider wasps and the leafcutter bees seem to be ok, rest are gone!

quote:Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
I have been following this issue for two years. Brian, others agree with you: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19233858/

However, I think we will find that chemical is just part of the problem. I am not aware of any research to validate the claims, but organic bee keepers are saying their colonies are not suffering.

Another interesting report suggest their is a link between BT corn and bees infected with mites:

Are GM crops killing honey bees

However, bees getting sick and dying is not quite the same as bees flying off never to return. And none of the theories I've read explain the other unusual phenomenon of infected hives being left alone by raiders and predators.

Also, it would be incorrect to assume native pollinators would replace honey bee populations. 1) they don't compete. You will often find bumblebees, butterflies, flies, and honeybees, on the same patch of flowers. 2) the populations of natural pollinators have also been severely harmed through the use of pesticides, and loss of foraging habitat.

In New Brunswick, for example, the spraying of woodlands for budworm and the use of pesticides on blueberries decimated the native bee population Now honeybees are imported to pollinate the blueberry crop.

We have yet to learn that the law of unintended consequences is greatly amplified in nature.


Bubbles
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Joined: Feb 21 2003
I am still very much a novice at keeping bees. Have been helpng a former beekeeper to establish a few hives here on the farm in central Ontario.
We got hold of one beehive that had been abandoned a few years back and had managed to look after themself. Sofar they have done very well. lotts of, about halve of it capped. The number of broodcells seemed a bit low. but many bees. We splitt the hive to set up a second hive with two brood frames and a queen cell.

It is heavy work , those suppers loaded with honey are pretty heavy to handle, the bees wax makes everything stick together, making it slow deliberate work to check the frames. But sofar we have lots of bees here. Cannot tell you much about deseases. The biggest problem seems to be a lack of younger beekeepers taking over from the old men that seem to dominate the bussiness in this area.

It is interesting watching the bees, and there is a lot more to it then I had initialy antisipated.

Brian maybe you do see so few bees decause the local beekeeper has retired or moved his hives elsewhere. Farmers will sometimes pay beekeepers to have hives plced on their property.


Brian White
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Joined: Jan 26 2005
I do not think so. It isn't just honey bees that are scarce.
I have noticed the few honey bees I see acting stupid. The flowers are mostly open and last year they used to flit from flower to flower really rapidly. Now, they hesitate, go to not more than 5 flowers on a plant with a couple of hundred and then fly away!
Pretty wasteful procedeure. One seemed to want to fight a bud to open it with a hundred open flowers to choose from all around it! (She failed).
It is interesting. My da kept bees as a hobby for about 10 years. I made beehives for him.
They swarmed a lot so there were wild hives too.
Should be some wild hives in vic.

quote:Originally posted by Bubbles:

It is interesting watching the bees, and there is a lot more to it then I had initialy antisipated.

Brian maybe you do see so few bees decause the local beekeeper has retired or moved his hives elsewhere. Farmers will sometimes pay beekeepers to have hives plced on their property.


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005

Further support for the neonicotinoid theory from a Purdue University study.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005

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