Dan Rather Reports - Buzzkill

Discussion in 'Bee News' started by ApisBees, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Published on Apr 3, 2013
    This year marks the highest losses of honey bee populations in the U.S. Some of the country's biggest beekeepers have lost over 60%. Some say they won't be able to rebuild their numbers with such high losses and if these kinds of losses continue, the industry may only be able to sustain itself a few more years at most. WIth one in three bites of food we eat dependent on bees for pollination, will there be enough bees to pollinate the crops this year? The almond orchards in California are the first test where 85% of the world's almonds come from. Enter a fascinating world of the largest mass pollination event on earth.


    a
    [video=youtube;oJ5riRX1_3w]https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oJ5riRX1_3w[/video]
    Producer/Editor - Laura Minnear
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Thanks for the link Keith.
    I watched Rather's last report, and this is a good follow up to that one.
    (Well, maybe good is the wrong word to use.:???:)
     

  3. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    What I got out of it is there will be no action done for the bees until there are no more bees.

    kebee
     
  4. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    I'm dishartened when I watch a government official speak with all the right words, but in the end just obfuscate with a broad smile, thus insuring their positions, mollifying the public and accomplishing little that is positive.

    On the issue of contaminated seed residue, I'm amazed that the fact that bees are in decline in regions well away from the neonic seeds is passed over so quickly. There most certainly is pressure from insecticide use, don't get me wrong, but as I read, the varroa mite and its sequelae pose the largest threat to honey bee success in our time. :)
     
  5. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Interestingly ,listening / reading here, it seems our Beeks have also lost big this year.

    certainly a rough year for my hives
     
  6. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    Thx for the link Keith.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    i have not watched this video yet, having said that, and all the news articles stirring up the debate, what zulu said, and lee said, on varroa, and other factors. last season was our worst drought. not enough adequate forage for the bees. forage = nutrition for our bees. stored as well as consumed, and this affects how bees winter and buildup in the spring. lack of forage, lack of flowers, not enough good nutrition, pollen, protein, nectar. drought, pests, viruses, and diseases. stress. bees need good nutrition to help fight these off. and what about the use of chemicals we place in our own hives? these are the things, imho we need to focus on to maintain healthy bees. look at our own losses on this forum?
    why?
    an article to this:

    Bee deaths stir up renewed buzz
    By Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBC News
    March 29, 2013


    "This past winter has been exceptionally rough for honeybees — and although it's too early to say exactly why, the usual suspects range from pesticides that appear to cause memory loss to pests that got an exceptionally early start last spring.

    Friday marked the start of an annual survey that asks beekeepers to report how many bees they lost over the winter, conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership, the Apiary Inspectors of America and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The advance word is that the results will be brutal. The New York Times, for example, quoted beekeepers as saying the losses reached levels of 40 to 50 percent — which would be double the average reported last year.

    One beekeeper in Montana was quoted as saying that his bees seemed health last spring, but in September, "they started to fall on their face, to die like crazy."

    Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland who is one of the leaders of the survey team, said he can't predict what the past winter's average loss figure will be. The beekeepers' reports are being solicited online for the next two weeks, and the figures are due for release on May 7.

    "What I can say is, when we were in California this year, the strength of the colonies that were there was significantly lower than it was in previous years," vanEngelsdorp told NBC News.

    Pesticides at issue
    That's consistent with a mysterious ailment known as colony collapse disorder, which has stirred scientists' concern for the past decade. The malady almost certainly due to combination of factors — including the Varroa mite, a single-celled parasite known as Nosema, several varieties of viruses, and pesticides. Researchers point to one particular class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, as a prime suspect.

    Neonicotinoid-based pesticides are commonly applied as a coating on corn seeds, but the chemicals can persist in the environment. Although they have low toxicity for mammals, they've been found to have a significant neurotoxic effect on insects, including bees. Several European countries have banned neonicotinoids, the European Union has been looking at a wider ban, and the Environmental Protection Agency is considering new limitations as well. Just last week, a lawsuit called on the EPA to suspend the use of two types of neonicotinoids immediately.

    Two recently published studies add to the concern: This week, researchers report in Nature Communications that neonicotinoids block the part of a bee's brain that associates scents with foods. They suggest that without that functionality, the bees effectively forget that floral scents mean food is nearby, and thus die off before they can pollinate. A study published in January in the Journal of Experimental Biology found a similar link to problems with scent-related learning and memory.

    Mild winter, dry summer
    Although neonicotinoids are currently front and center in the debate over colony collapse disorder, they're not necessarily the primary reason for this winter's dramatic dip in bee colonies.

    VanEngelsdorp noted that the winter of 2011-2012 was easy on the bees: Losses amounted to just 21.9 percent, compared with a 2006-2011 average of 33 percent. However, the mild winter was kind to the bees' pests as well. VanEngelsdorp speculated that Varroa mites may have gained an early foothold in the hives last spring. By the time beekeepers started their treatments on the usual schedule, it was too late to keep the mites from weakening the colonies. That would help explain why the past winter's losses were worse than usual.

    California beekeeper Randy Oliver, who discusses industry trends on the Scientific Beekeeping blog, said the past summer's drought was also a factor: "When there's a drought, the bees are in poor shape with the food," he told NBC News. He said he and other beekeepers predicted that there'd be heavy winter losses last July, when the scale of the drought became clear.

    Heavy losses are bad news, and if bee colonies are becoming progressively weaker, that's worse news. It's not just because of the honey: The Department of Agriculture says that bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year. A bee scarcity increases costs for the farmers who need them for pollination, and that could lead to higher food prices. But Oliver said it's important to keep a sense of perspective about the bad news.

    "The situation with the bees is not dire," he said. "The bees are doing OK. There's no danger that the bees will go extinct. ... That's just not true." "
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I feel that lack of nutritious varied forage, insecticide buildups along with other treatment chemical combinations- just a growing number of these toxic stressors result in bees that are less able to deal with mites and nosema, etc. Strong healthy bees are more able keep mites down to tolerable levels. Poisoned bees with poor nutrition and under stress are way more likely to succumb to mites, nosema, viruses, queen failure, and adverse weather. In nature, once an animal becomes weak or stressed beyond a certain level, parasites and disease naturally move in to finish the job.

    We are killing ourselves by destroying habitat for all plants and creatures. Basically we are slowly poisoning and polluting our planet and ourselves to death.
     
  9. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I think we are into overshoot of the carrying capacity of our overall resource base. One author I follow speaks of us following a virtual religion of progress that is group denial of consequences.....John Michael Greer (Author) ... This civil religion of progress lends legitimacy to policies that subordinate all other values to economic growth, place blind faith in untested technologies, and rule out serious consideration of the long-term ...

    We are headed down a slippery slope but how do we rewind to a point back beyond our point of no return we passed. We are freaking over each symptom and trying to redress each in isolation. I dont know whether we will be successful.
     
  10. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
     
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    "The situation with the bees is not dire," he said. "The bees are doing OK. There's no danger that the bees will go extinct. ... That's just not true."

    I had to think about that one, and I'm not so sure I agree with it.
    Maybe the honey bee won't go extinct, but I believe the situation is somewhat dire. If the people that have come to care for them (I do) and try to make a living with them can longer do so without any remote assurance of a payback however slim, who will bee their keeper?
    Whether you agree with migratory beekeeping or not, if these people can no longer make a living providing pollination, who will?
    I am sure the bees will survive without us for the most part, they have for a million years. But, can we survive without them?
    Does it really matter which one of the 15 straws it was that broke the camels back? Neonics, drought, varroa, virus', etc. If together they all combine in one way or another to poor bee health, but none does in isolation, why do we feel the need to find a singular answer?
    Personally, I believe varroa to be the biggest threat to honey bee health, but that does not mean that I give a free pass to Bayer or the like either. Until they can prove conclusively that their products do not contribute to poor honey bee health, they are on my radar.
     
  12. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    How are colonies faring that are not hauled to pollination. If there is a contagion issue the mass pollination sure eliminates the natural deterrent of geographical isolation. It really would be easy if it could be determined that the crop chemicals were the prime villain. The solution would come to a head immediately. That seems so simple to determine that it would have been done. Surely there are bees geographically isolated from or definitely exposed to, that could be a fairly convincing piece of the puzzle.
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    a good topic of discussion, and i think we are all on the same page here when it comes to varroa, and whether we believe any report, article or research or not, personally, the only positive right now, is that these reports bring the honey bee to the public eye and to those who have no clue.
    the folks that pollinate, their bees are under a multitude of stressors, not like most of us. i still maintain what i said in my earlier post, and what omie said:

    "last season was our worst drought. not enough adequate forage for the bees. forage = nutrition for our bees. stored as well as consumed, and this affects how bees winter and buildup in the spring. lack of forage, lack of flowers, not enough good nutrition, pollen, protein, nectar. drought, pests, viruses, and diseases. stress. bees need good nutrition to help fight these off. and what about the use of chemicals we place in our own hives? these are the things, imho we need to focus on to maintain healthy bees."

    omie-
    "I feel that lack of nutritious varied forage, insecticide buildups along with other treatment chemical combinations- just a growing number of these toxic stressors result in bees that are less able to deal with mites and nosema, etc. Strong healthy bees are more able keep mites down to tolerable levels. Poisoned bees with poor nutrition and under stress are way more likely to succumb to mites, nosema, viruses, queen failure, and adverse weather. In nature, once an animal becomes weak or stressed beyond a certain level, parasites and disease naturally move in to finish the job.
    We are killing ourselves by destroying habitat for all plants and creatures. Basically we are slowly poisoning and polluting our planet and ourselves to death."

    i would also add to my earlier post, what are we, each one of us, doing to keep our own bees healthy? are we trading out old comb with new foundation? do we take too much honey off and then leave the bees with nothing but sugar syrup? in our dearths, we have had to feed, but many beekeepers take too much honey off and then scramble to feed them. when pollen is not available we feed them supplements, or give them supplements to build them up in the spring. are we actively planting what we can in our gardens or fields to help them survive and be healthy? and what are we using on our lawns, plants and gardens? are we educating our neighbors about the use of all pesticides? and in my case the farmers that plant corn and soybeans. i have found i have to talk to them on their level.....they don't like to lose stock.....and neither do i.

    anyway, i think these are the factors we as smaller keeps need to be dilligent about and focus on.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  14. Ray

    Ray Member

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    I am with Omie on this.
    Jared Diamoond in his book (Guns, Germs and Steel) suggests that diseases and parasites evolve into less lethal forms. (paraphrasing) Less lethal, coexist longer and thereby, reproduce more. I believe we are seeing the decline of the mite problem.
    I think that the monocultures of the migrating beekeepers (oxymoron?), decreases the nutrient diversity needed for a healthy hive, The interaction of the herbicides, insecticides and fungicides within the hive, on the microfauna, bees, brood and the queen, are the main culprits. Climate change is an issue also, but of the three, it is the only one we can't change.
     
  15. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Once a person, an association or a society becomes dependant physically, or financially it almost always takes outside pressure to wean from the dependance. Agriculture is financially dependant on chemical soil preparation, weed control, and pest control. We are accustomed to relatively low cost product and government parties are dependant upon political contributions. It takes a crisis, a confrontation of major proportions to beget meaningful change. It will take really good, controlled, high profiled and incontrovertible research to budge the chemical industry. This will cost real money otherwise you get the like of that Harvard contribution that can probably do more to destroy credibility than lend to it.

    I dont know about mites becoming less of a problem; that is not the word we are getting from Agriculture Canada. Maybe just more is being found out about all the different viruses vectored by mites. Could be true that the mites are not directly killing as many bees but successfully hanging around and enabling the viruses to lower the general resistance of the bees. Like Aids that destroys the immune system and indirectly kills.

    Just an aside, some of the people we have seen interviewed regarding the bee #s for pollination are intersted partyies in the bargaining process that sets fees for the service. In other things we know that there can be monetary reasons to spin the relative seriousness of an issue. Randy might have some reason for what he said in that regard.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Crofter:
    In other things we know that there can be monetary reasons to spin the relative seriousness of an issue.


    It's awful hard to raise money for your foundation that promotes the calm middle ground.
    Just a generalization not pointed at anyone.:grin:
     
  17. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ray-
    " I believe we are seeing the decline of the mite problem."

    ray, ????, the mites aren't going away, or the viruses associated with them, IMHO.....

    "I think that the monocultures of the migrating beekeepers (oxymoron?), decreases the nutrient diversity needed for a healthy hive, The interaction of the herbicides, insecticides and fungicides within the hive, on the microfauna, bees, brood and the queen, are the main culprits. Climate change is an issue also, but of the three, it is the only one we can't change. "

    the monocultures of our own back yards, city, or rural. it is not just within the hive, and there is plenty we can change ourselves as smaller keeps to do our best to keep our bees healthy, as already posted.
     
  18. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Unfortunately this is so often the case; people seem to have two main modes--utter complacency and utter panic!
    Some of the hype in the reporting is probably a plus in raising public awareness of the situation. It is often something that has to actively be brushed aside though, or seen through in any attempt to truly understand and assign weight to the various factors involved. Spin doctors and scientists need some different skill sets and inclinations, methinks!
     
  19. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Government recovery plans for economic woes and unemployment are based solely on economic growth. Truly a risky, slippery slope as Crofter points out. A slope with predictable ends for overpopulation, overuse of pastoral and agricultural lands, toxic build ups and depleted natural resources for manufacturing and energy. :-/
     
  20. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Riverbee:
    ray, ????, the mites aren't going away, or the viruses associated with them, IMHO....
    Me:
    I believe we are seeing the decline of the mite problem:shock::roll::lol:I meant to say was: With natural selection of the feral honeybee and selective breeding of the domestic bees to combat mites and diseases, and the Darwinian selection of less lethal diseases and mites. I believe we are seeing or about to see the decline of the mite issue. Of course there are other issues at play, poisons and poor nutrition. That may slow this natural process.