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Discussion in 'Bee News' started by PerryBee, Sep 11, 2013.
I initially posted this in an existing thread but decided it would be better here.
CBC ran an article on Canadian bee losses this morning. Lots of gloom and doom. Yet, when I go through the CAPA surveys for Spring 2007 through Spring 2013, which deal with Winter losses only, I find that, Canada wide, the number of hives going into Winter 2012/2013 is up 13% from the number going into Winter 2006/2007.
Going into Winter 2012/2013 relative to going into Winter 2006/2007, Nova Scotia is the only province reporting a significant drop (54%) in the number of hives. PEI is up 76% and New Brunswick is up 130%. British Columbia and Manitoba are more or less constant being down by less than 5%. Everyone else is up significantly.
I plotted the CAPA survey data by province the other day and got what appears to this process engineer to be a rat's nest. There are NO apparent trends and there certainly is not any obvious correlation province to province. The provincial loss plots do not resemble the Canadian loss summary plot in the latest CAPA survey report.
Now, all of this says very little about how many hives were actually ready, willing and able to go forth and pollinate and make honey. But I do have to admit to being confused over this idea of massive and unsustainable bee losses when we do not seem to be having any problem pushing hive numbers much higher than they where when this bee loss problem started to surface.
Maybe there is a hint in Canada's regulation against importing American bees on account of they have a varroa problem. Well guess what folks, according to experts varroa is now everywhere in Canada. So, two things. First, the ban on American bees does not appear to have worked - we got varroa anyway. Second, why is it still in place? Are we having trouble keeping up with a changing world?
Small hive beetle will keep the import ban on. Essex county Ont. has a quarantine as it jumped the border there. Has it gotten across from Vermont into Quebec?
Interesting, Frank. Buddy from Manitoba that the CBC talked to suggested that the ban was specific to varroa and that it did not make any sense to keep it in place. This is an example of what I am finding increasingly frustrating is that people speaking to the World, apparently as some of kind of expert, are not telling the whole story. A recent report here on essentially the complete loss in a 17 hive incident is the kind of reporting that makes sense - he reported what appears to be the full set of details around the event so that anyone reading the account has a reasonable hope of drawing some realistic conclusions.
Your sudden hive losses remind me of the 80's here in the USA, when the mites started killing our bees off (and still are). If your just now getting varroa mites in Canada? then watch out. Jack
Jack, we have not had varroa here in Canada as long you have but it's not a new problem here. The Chief Apiarist for Ontario told me that varroa is pretty well everywhere in Canada now so the idea of anyone being able to maintain varroa free bee yards is a lot like fantasizing. It is a fact of life now so we deal with it or accept the consequences. A wee advantage we may have here is the somewhat colder Winters that might be expected to allow us to go into Spring with fewer varroa than those in other parts the continent have to deal with.
One of our canadian researchers starts to show interest in varroa around 1995. Here is a link to a biblio on his published research.
http://www.honeybees.ca/research-biblio.html He was a pretty busy fellow and received Order of Canada.
His son, Tibor Jr. is where I buy my bees.
I don't wish to appear isolationist, however....
When we moved to Nova Scotia from BC, I was thrilled that we did not have to contend with tracheal mites here (border closed). There was a lobby to get the border opened to importation from other provinces by one of the largest "companies" around. The tracheal mite issue kept the border closed so the company left the NS Beekeeping Association. There was since an isolated discovery of tracheal, and the company jumped all over it as an excuse to allow importation. Enough pressure was brought to bear and the government acquiesced under special permit. Keep in mind that SHB has been discovered in Ontario (where these colonies are brought in from) and we do not have SHB here yet.
Here is another example of the same problem. Bees are allowed into Prince Edward Island from Nova Scotia for blueberry pollination. Their (PEI) provincial organization was split on the importation from Nova Scotia and it fractured their group, half for/ half against. They narrowly voted to allow.
It didn't take long and guess what? This spring, for the first time, tracheal mites have been discovered in PEI.
IMHO, this is what happens when you take a short and narrow vision for short term relief.
I think you are right on, Perry. Being isolationist is not always a negative thing. To draw an analogy, how many of us would consider it sane to go visit instead of, say, phoning, a buddy that's down with a bad assed virus? Me? I'd isolate myself from the threat.
I changed the link in my last post to make it work better.
As you read the story, keep one thing in mind. The largest beekeeping outfit in the Maritimes also happens to be the largest blueberry grower as well. :wink:
When you stack money generated by bees against the money generated by blueberries.........:???:
(I should be careful, I could be looking for work if I keep it up) :lol:
The world is still in the early stages of "ecological globalization".
As I read the posts above I'm working hard to resist the temptation to scratch at a bite I received from the Asian Tiger Mosquito, a foreign species that invaded Israel about three years ago. This mosquito seems to have displaced our old local species of mosquitos. Its behavior is totally different--they bite at any time of the day and they fly in zig-zags, making them extremely difficult to catch. They spot your hand coming and will break off in the middle of a bite and flit off and away before you can get them.
This mosquito is only one of thousands of examples (all of you can list plenty) of foreign species that have moved from their "original" locations and have entered new locales where they upset the balances of nature that have existed for centuries. This is true of weeds, insects, birds, mammals,.... the whole gamut of the biological world. It is going to take a long time before some semblance of biological balances are re-established among all these various species and we can know what to expect and how to deal with all these changes. Until the balance is established we are going to have to get accustomed to living in a very unpredictable biological world, with totally unpredictable ups and downs in the population curves and range of distribution of plants and animals that effect us greatly.
Man, with his mass transportation of people and goods has been the main agent for dispersing species and upsetting previous balances.
Probably the most effective course of action for the present, is to learn the life cycles and behavior of the pestiferous species so that we can "live with them in peace" until nature takes its own course and "repairs" those damages we have brought and are still bringing upon ourselves.
I agree with your appraisal of our situation. Just a thought though, that we might not like natures solution to the problem. Pogo's " I have met the enemy, sir, and we are it" The greatest invasive species of all. We certainly are on a slippery slope.
I wondered why the blue berry industry was so desperate for bees in 2012 when, according to CAPA, the there should have been more than 50% more hives on PEI in 2012 than in 2006.