Archives – July, 2013
By Erika Bolstad, McClatchy Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — It’s one of the most perplexing environmental mysteries of recent years: Why are honeybees dying, and what can be done to stop a catastrophic agricultural disaster with far-reaching economic and environmental consequences in the United States and beyond?
Scientists don’t yet have a definitive answer. But a U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency report issued Thursday suggests a complex mix of problems contributing to honeybee colony declines, which first emerged 2006. Contributors include parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure, as well as farming practices that don’t give bees a pesticide-free buffer zone to forage in heavily developed agricultural regions.
July 31, 2013
By: Boyce Thompson, AgWeb.com Editorial Director
Disease and drought damage hive populations
This year a honeybee crisis is playing out in California almond fields, where producers can’t get enough hives to pollinate their crops. A high rate of overwinter losses from the 2012 drought and colony collapse disorder (CCD) reduced hives available for deployment.
Almonds, the leading crop dependent on honeybee pollination, are on the bleeding edge of the crisis. “[Farmers] are in a panic,” says David Westervelt, assistant chief of the Florida Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection.
July 29, 2013
Editor’s Note: The Ontario Bee Health Working Group Membership List is available here.
Who will do the pollinating if bees are dying? Bees contribute billions of dollars to the agriculture industry, but are dying in huge numbers
Guelph, Ont. – Bees have not had an easy time recently. Nor have apiarists.
In Ontario, huge numbers of bees have been dying and many suspect it’s due to a pesticide, called neonicotinoid, used in the province for corn, soy and canola seeds.
July 26, 2013
The University of Illinois Tri-County Extension office
By Farm and Extension News
It turns out honey bee colony collapse and the decline of Illinois pollinators cannot be solely blamed on pesticide use according to a Federal study that was just released. Instead there is a complex interaction of environment and genetics involved. A recent federal study exploring the causes of colony collapse disorder has found that a combination of virus, parasites, poor nutrition and lack of genetic diversity to be the cause of the increasing loss of honey bee hives. The study involved University of Illinois entomologist, May R. Berembaum and many of her colleagues in the world of honey bee/pollinator research.
July 24, 2013
From: Digital Journal
By Tim Sandle
Scientists have established that sick and infected bees leave their hives voluntarily, as an act of altruism, rather than being driven out by the healthy bee population.
Scientists were unsure whether honeybees infected with fungi – a growing infectious problem – left the hive through altruism or were driven out by other bees, with the healthy bees sensing that the infected bees were sick. This creates so-termed ‘zombie bees‘.
July 22, 2013
From: The Guardian
Thousands of colonies brought into the UK infected with parasites that could easily spill over and wipe out native bees
Over three-quarters of the thousands of bumblebee colonies imported into the UK every year are riddled with parasites, a new study has revealed. Scientists say the discovery has “alarming” implications for the health of the UK’s wild bees and honeybees, many of which are already in serious decline, and that urgent action is required to improve ineffective disease screening and close loopholes.
July 19, 2013
Editor’s Note: A provisional (not fully formatted) pdf of the article discussed below, “Ecto- and endoparasite induce similar chemical and brain neurogenomic responses in the honey bee (Apis mellifera)” by Cynthia M McDonnell, et al. is attached here.
From: Science Daily
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) infected with the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, or the microsporidia, Nosema ceranae, have changes in the chemical profile of their skin and in their brains, finds research in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Ecology. Despite this, parasitized bees were not expelled from the hive, which, the authors say, supports the hypothesis that stressed bees leave the hive altruistically to prevent the spread of infection.
July 17, 2013
From: The Grower
A team of researchers from Iowa State University in Ames is taking a big picture look at the causes behind colony collapse disorder, the mysterious disappearance of honey bees.
Rather than focus on a specific cause, Amy Toth, an assistant professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, will lead a team looking at the interaction of many factors, according to a news release.
Researchers first dubbed the mysterious bee decline colony collapse disorder in 2006.
July 15, 2013
University of Montana researchers studying cause of colony collapse disorder
The bees swarm in the morning heat, their buzz pouring from boxes stacked on Mount Sentinel. Numbering in the thousands, they’re warming up for their morning quest for pollen.
These docile honeybees are players in a national mystery, helping researches at the University of Montana determine what’s killing colonies like theirs across the country. After years of work, the team of sleuths is close to isolating at least one cause of colony collapse disorder and proving it with scientific certainty.
July 12, 2013
From: The Jerusalem Post
By HAROLD GOLDMEIER
Hebrew University’s Triwaks Bee Research Center, founded in 1976, focuses on bee foraging behavior, secretions and mite control.
Socially responsible investors will want to look at a nascent hive of activity where governments and the private sector are lumbering to save the world food supply threatened by mass crop displacement. The survivability of the tiny, nuisance bee is one key to that monumental task.
July 12, 2013