Archives – August, 2013
From: Otago Daily Times (N.Z.)
Genetics hold the key to the future of New Zealand’s bee population, Genetics Otago director Associate Professor Peter Dearden says.
Prof Dearden spoke to a crowd of about 50 people about ”Why honey bee genetics might improve your health” at the Alexandra Community House in Alexandra last week.
He covered many topics including sequencing the honey bee’s genome, predictive adaptive response, how this related to human health and genetics and the stress New Zealand’s honey bee population was under.
The varroa mite was the biggest threat to New Zealand’s honey bees, Prof Dearden said.
August 30, 2013
From: Radio New Zealand News
Non-chemical varroa control shows promise
A bee breeding project that promises another non-chemical option for varroa control is gaining ground.
Nelson company, Rainbow Honey is continuing a programme started by Plant and Food Research to build up populations of honey bees that control the killer parasites in hives by interfering with their breeding cycle.
The bees carry a genetic trait, called the varroa sensitive hygienic or VSH trait.
Project leader Rae Butler says they’ve been building up VSH bee numbers in 80 trial hives to the stage where they’ve been able to reduce the number of chemical treatments needed to keep varroa under control.
August 28, 2013
From: Associated Press/10TV.com
By ERIC BETZ
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Dennis Arp downshifts his aging flatbed truck and slows to a crawl as he points across a grassy meadow near Mormon Lake. In years
past, the field would have been carpeted with flowers, but the coming bloom is late.
This trend has become the norm with recent dry spring seasons, he says. That’s likely bad news for this year’s honey crop.
“You look at these meadows out here and think, ‘Wow, I should be making tons of honey,’ but it just doesn’t work that way,” Arp says from the driver’s seat. “The bees do best when they have an almost unlimited food supply.”
August 26, 2013
Editor’s Note: NRDC is correct in indicating the extensive scientific research is needed to combat bee health decline.
From: Natural Resources Defense Council
Honey bees are disappearing across the country, putting $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and vegetables at risk
The list of crops that simply won’t grow without honey bees is a long one: Apples, cucumbers, broccoli, onions, pumpkins, carrots, avocados, almonds … and it goes on.
Without bees to pollinate many of our favorite fruits and vegetables, the United States could lose $15 billion worth of crops — not to mention what it would do to your diet.
August 23, 2013
From: Queensland Country Life
AUSTRALIA’S almond industry is researching the annual movement of tens of thousands of beehives around the country, to help plan for the possible arrival of the devastating Varroa mite.
The two-year research project is investigating the impact of a potential Varroa incursion on hive movements, and the effect that any movement restrictions would have on the ability of Australia’s horticulture industries to continue paid pollination.
It will investigate the effect of an incursion on paid pollination, and what strategies can be implemented to ensure industries dependent on pollination are not severely impacted.
August 21, 2013
From: The Telegraph (UK)
Honey bees are being cross bred with their more aggressive African cousins to produce a hybrid which is hardier and more resistant to parasites.
By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent
Bee populations in Britain, Europe and America are being decimated by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a term for the sudden disappearance of entire colonies which has left up to a quarter of hives in some countries empty.
The main culprit behind CCD in the northern hemisphere is thought to be a mite known as Varroa destructor, which leaves bees vulnerable to deformed wing virus.
August 19, 2013
From: The Guradian
Explore.org, the site that brought us ‘bear cam’, has launched two live feeds that feature bee colonies in Germany
The live cam gives a glimpse into what life is like for the honeybee.
The average, unprotected human generally steers clear from a buzzing bee hive. As of today, however, people can safely explore the inside of a hive online.
Explore.org – the site that brought the world the bear cam – launched two live feeds that feature a bee colony in Germany that has settled in a hollow log.
August 16, 2013
Editor’s Note: Dr. Pettis, interviewed below, is a senior researcher at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.
From: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Reporter: Jane Cowan
EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Albert Einstein said that if bees become extinct, the human race was only going to have a few years to live because of the threat to the food supply. Now honey bees worldwide are dying at unprecedented rates leaving scientists scratching their heads. In the US it’s so serious the nation’s agricultural industry is said to be just one bad weather event from a pollination crisis. North America correspondent Jane Cowan explains.
August 14, 2013
Editor’s Note: With respect to proposals to ban neonicotinoids, the article explains that “most scientists agree it wouldn’t solve the problem. (And getting rid of neonicotinoids would have unpredictable consequences for agriculture—the pesticides were adopted in part because they are considered safer for mammals, including human beings.)”
The beepocalypse is on the cover of TIME, but it looks like managed honeybees will still pull through. Wild bees—and wild species in general—won’t be so lucky in a human-dominated planet
By Bryan Walsh
August 12, 2013
Since long before the name “colony collapse disorder” was given to the phenomenon in 2006, scientists have known that honey bee populations in Europe and America were on the decline.
“But we need to distinguish between long-term decline and short-term loss,” U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Bob Danka told a state meeting of beekeepers at Clemson University last month. “Around the world, we are actually gaining bees.”
Danka’s work in honey bee breeding and genetics is focused on combatting the decline in U.S. hives, which has been precipitous.
August 9, 2013