Can Honey Bee problems get worse?

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Offline Don_1

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Can Honey Bee problems get worse?
« on: 24/04/2014 15:30:26 »
The European Honey Bee is an essential to the pollination of many crops, but in 2006 US bee keepers began to find empty hives, with no apparent explanation for the loss of the worker bees.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), as it became known, has spread around the world to affect bee keepers, both commercial and hobbyist. Bee keepers, governments and agriculture bodies have sunk much time, effort and money into funding research into CCD, but so far to no avail.

The blame has fallen on the Varroa mite, Asian Hornet, Neonicotinides, monocultures and even cell phones, but none seem to fit the bill as the culprit. The problem, it seems, is far more complex than a single vector.

Researchers are continuing to look at CCD as a problem involving several factors.

But what is perhaps an additional concern of just as great a magnitude as CCD among these colony bees, is the growing incidents of the Bumble bee (a solitary bee) falling victim to the pathogens of the Honey bee. Since 2013 a global decline in wild Bumble bee populations has become apparent and the blame is falling squarely on commercial bee stocks.
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Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can Honey Bee problems get worse?
« Reply #1 on: 24/04/2014 16:21:10 »
One thing that I very much dislike is constantly moving bee colonies hundreds, or even thousands of miles around the country.  Perhaps bringing colonies from several different parts of the country to congregate in a single location. 

If there is any new pathogen, it might take decades for it to naturally cross the country, yet traveling by truck, it can be there overnight.  And, it puts both the captive and wild populations at risk.

One of the issues, of course, is the monocrop culture, in which everything flowers at once.  And, anything else is considered to be weeds and sprayed.  Bee colonies may not survive well if there isn't a variety of flowers all spring and summer (thus transporting them from place to place).

As I understand it, the European honey bees are not native to the Americas, and thus we did just fine without them for billions of years.  However, there are also many crops that are not native to the continent.  I've noticed that bees tend to have their favor different types of crops.  The bumble bees love my azaleas, and almost completely ignore the apple and fruit trees.  The honey bees on the other hand prefer the fruit trees.   Perhaps that is good since azalea honey is supposed to be toxic.  Thus, a loss of honey bees could be devastating to the food crops.

There has been a lot of concern about spraying crops with pesticides and herbicides.  Apparently tobacco is just as bad for bees as it is for humans, perhaps worse, and there has been a lot of concern about nicotine based pesticides, even on crops such as corn which one might not expect to be pollinated by bees.

Hopefully at some point humans will discover that honey bees (and even other insects) are our friends and not poison everything in sight.