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Author Topic: Man's best friend?  (Read 2632 times)

Offline Don_1

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Man's best friend?
« on: 11/06/2009 12:24:44 »
It is said that a dog is man’s best friend. This may be true of the individual, but as a species, man’s best friend must surely be the humble Honey Bee.

Bee hives have always been susceptible to attack by the Varroa Mite, Small Hive Beetle and Brood Mite as well as the Asian Hornet.

The Varroa Mite and other parasites have been dealt with by chemicals in the past, but these mites are becoming resistant to treatment. The Asian Hornet (or Japanese Hornet) is the largest of all hornets and is spreading, due to climate change, from its usual haunts of the Far East. It has been reported as far afield as France and could arrive in the UK. This Hornet has no natural predators.

UK apiarists recently lobbied parliament to spend £8m over the next 5 years to research the problems facing them. DERFA, in its wisdom, said ‘we can’t afford it’ or words to that effect. I would suggest DEFRA ask itself ‘can we afford not to have bees?’ I think you will find the answer to that a very definite ‘NO’.

But it is the recent upsurge of the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which is probably the most worrying problem facing the Honey Bee.

Although this is known to have happened throughout the history of apiculture, recent occurrences of CCD in the USA (and to a lesser, but nonetheless worrying degree) in Belgium, France, Holland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and the UK, should be of great concern to us all.

Such is the shortage of honey bees in the US, that growers have even resorted to airfreighting bees from Australia to pollinate crops.

The causes of CCD have been suggested as the Varroa Mite, viral infection, insecticides, cell phone radiation, changes in Earth’s magnetic field, stress due to migratory bee keeping, climate change and GM crops engineered to be self defensive to insect and fugal attack. It has also been suggested that pollutants in the air which reduce the bee’s sensitivity to plant aromas could be linked to CCD. Any of these, or a combination of these and other possibilities could be the cause of CCD.

But there is one big problem. Where are the missing bees? The hives are empty. There is no pile of dead bees in or around them, no sightings of large numbers of dead bees between the hives and the crops, or anywhere else. This suggests that the bees are dispersing, not all being led off in the same wrong direction. Although predation can account for the loss of some bees, it is unthinkable that predation on such a scale could possibly be taking place in such a wide area as from the USA to central Europe.

So what is the cause of CCD?

What do you think?

Take a look at this impressive list of US crops pollinated by honey bees:

Forage and Legume Crops - Alfalfa; buckwheat; clover(alsike, berseem, crimson, Egyptian, Ladino, red, rose,
strawberry, and white); crown vetch; sweet clover (Hubam,white,yellow); lespedeza (bush); trefoil; vetch (hairy
and purple).

Fruit Crops - *Apple; apricot; avocado; berry (blackberry,blueberry, cranberry, gooseberry, raspberry, and strawberry); carambola; cherry; citrus (grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, nectarine, tangelo, and tangerine) kiwi, mango, passion fruit, peach; pear; persimmon, plum, and prune.

Nut Crops Almond, cashew, chestnut, coconut, and macadamia.

Oilseed Crops Cotton, flax, rape, safflower, soybeans, sunflower, tung.

Vegetable Seed Crops - Asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage,
collard, cucumber, dill, eggplant, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lima beans, mustard, onion, parsley, pepper, pumpkin, radish, rutabaga, squash, and turnip.

Vegetable Crops - Beans, cucurbits (canteloupe, cucumbers, muckmelon, pumpkin, squash and watermelon), eggplant, lima beans, and peppers.*(1)

*Apple production in 2008 = USA - 4237730 tonnes; Worldwide – 64255520 tonnes.*(2)

Should we not be spending more on this problem to safeguard all these crops?


*(1) – Source = MAAREC  :  *(2) – Source = Wikipedia


 

Offline nicephotog

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Man's best friend?
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2009 06:08:53 »
One of the requirements of keeping bees i found was the actual dimensions of the box that kept the colony hwas extremely critical or the bees would all fly off, Is that true? , i believe it is because of the accuracy each cell is built with wall to wall in each rack.
Perhaps they should check every case and publish if the box dimension with its racks were correct along side the initial complaint also.
One of the problems in US law is how little regulation there is in building and designing some models of device.
You could sell a cardboard box from a rubbish tip as a colony hive legally.
« Last Edit: 15/06/2009 06:11:05 by nicephotog »
 

Offline Don_1

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« Reply #2 on: 15/06/2009 09:06:04 »
While I grant you that hive dimensions may be an issue with the novice apiarist, I very much doubt that commercial apiarists would overlook any issue which might jeopordise their colonies. These hives have been successful in the past, so it is unlikely that the bees should suddenly decide the hive is not to their liking.

Whether incorrect hive dimensions are a contributory factor in the evacuation of a hive, I am not sure. I believe that it would normally result in the bees not taking to the hive in the first place.
 

Offline nicephotog

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« Reply #3 on: 17/06/2009 08:29:00 »
All very speculative the causes, but until you can be sure of how effective the starting environment they are settled in, is, and is kept then you have no way of judging the external influences.
The point here is to be sure the hive housing condition (racks, hygeine , walls e.t.c.) is in good order not simply whether somewhere was better than nowhere.

My biggest(boldest i suppose) theory on all this is the humble pot plant and insecticide "with" the use of surface spray insecticide.
Perhaps people should be policed on not using them outdoors or near pot plants outside.

People need to be made aware and provicated to care about that at least with regard to their gardens inside or outside of cities too not merely their outdoors.

note: ? flowering crops such as conola nad insecticide and fruit crops ? where when too.

Amusingly, a few days back a worker bee landed near me on the pavement in a section of Sydney that is its central most called the CBD(15 days into winter here) and boasts the station name "central" in among all the pollution 30km from non urban landscape any direction except sea.

For screening purpose, stop using outdoor insecticides and validity check every hive housing based on specification(manditory registration only for disease prevention and verification of locale purpose), mainly satisfactory operation and hygiene or there will be no satisfactory honest answer able to be summised, proposed or found as why it occurs.

Quote
I very much doubt that commercial apiarists would overlook any issue which might jeopordise their colonies

I believe that point to be irrelevent to see that(quoted) such a way. Where no compulsory compliance and profficiency legislation exists(or no policing of them if legislation does exist) it is always alike industrial accidents "nothing could be found to be further from the truth" after finding something has gone wrong. The oldest problem in that context would be cost either in time or materials.
Secondly (but not always) is ignorance and incompetence.

All bees should have a blue-card in Warehousing and Transport logistics OHS safety and should have compulsory regular attended meetings with the apiarists and queen elect of the committee.They should also have PPE goggles and steal capped boots.
« Last Edit: 17/06/2009 08:46:37 by nicephotog »
 

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Man's best friend?
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