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Very OT: Have you noticed a decline in the numbers of honeybees?


Oct 13 2007, 7:37pm

Post #1 of 13 (201 views)
Very OT: Have you noticed a decline in the numbers of honeybees? Can't Post

I just saw where PBS is airing a show called "Silence of the Bees" on October 28th. Apparently it is not known why, but honeybee numbers have diminished very drastically over the past 3-4 years, prompting a good deal of concern for this little critters that pollinate our vegetables, fruits and nuts. I must say I had noticed there didn't seem to be as many of them myself, but I didn't attach any problem to it until I saw an advertisement for this episode on their "Nature " series and did an on-line search for more information. Many things are being considered for blame, and one of them is cell phones causing the bees to become unsure of how to return to their hives (and their food source, the made up honey). As the beekeepers are not finding dead bodies, simply nobody home in the hive (except the queen and some young workers) it's like the epidemic viruses or mites also suspected may not be the cause. They are calling it the AIDS of the bee world. And Albert Einstein apparently once said something to the effect that if the honeybees died out, mankind would have about 4 years to live (since they have such an impact on our food.) Of course, many years have passed since he said that, and I expect nowadays we could manage to pollinate the food another way--still...
Seems very interesting. I will be watching.

For Gondor!


Oct 13 2007, 8:56pm

Post #2 of 13 (109 views)
more recent news [In reply to] Can't Post

More recently, from what I have heard on the news, they are starting to make progress in figuring it out. They are suspecting an Israeli bee disease (or virus or bacteria or something) which came to the US via Australia (where it doesn't seem to affect the bees).

Sort of funny that a country that is so crazy about biological invasion (AU) would export live bees to us here. And stupid that we allow them in.

Tol Eressea

Oct 13 2007, 8:56pm

Post #3 of 13 (90 views)
I've moved around quite a bit so I couldn't tell you. [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing to consider, though: the honeybee isn't indigenous to North America. When I learned that I wondered how on earth plants pollinated before the bees' arrival with the Europeans. There had to have been plants here before then. It turns out there are other types of bees and bee-like creatures, like sweat bees, that took care of that. They might not be as efficient as honeybees, though.


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Oct 13 2007, 9:10pm

Post #4 of 13 (94 views)
Although [In reply to] Can't Post

I've seen articles where it's said such a disease couldn't be the sole cause of the population collapse. At least some scientists think it's one factor among many.

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Tol Eressea

Oct 13 2007, 9:40pm

Post #5 of 13 (89 views)
Lots of factors at work [In reply to] Can't Post

From what I understand, the honeybee population has been under a great deal of stress lately for many reasons -- parasites, fungi, modern beekeeping practices, etc. Cell phone radiation doesn't seem to be a contributing factor, according to some researchers, because the collapse is occurring in places where there is minimal cell phone use. Experiments with irradiating collapsed hives to kill all microorganisms before re-introducing a new colony pointed to a biological source, and the latest word is that the bees may be succimbing to the Australian viral infection.

My sense is that the viral infection is the straw that broke the camel's back. The bees might have been able to withstand it more successfully if they had not already been under a great deal of stress from these other causes. And yes, there are a number of other pollinators who could take the place of honeybees (although probably not as effectively). So we are not utterly doomed if the bee population crashes, although of course nobody wants that to happen!

I've never personally noticed any kind of decline in the bee population where I live. I initially thought this was because my yard has a lot of clover, a bee favorite. Turns out that my neighbor has a big hive in a hollow tree! Her tree trimmer left the hive in place when he pruned the tree, and said that he'd cut the part with the hive out and put it somewhere safe if he ever had to take the tree down -- he, too, was worried about the bees!

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Oct 13 2007, 11:19pm

Post #6 of 13 (90 views)
I saw maybe 2 bees this whole summer. It is linked with EMF [In reply to] Can't Post

and pesticides, I believe. Many studies have been done with EMFs (electromagnetic frequences) - they not only affect bees, but all of us.
Check out the safe wireless initiative.
Just like the tobacco industry covering up health concerns, perhaps cell phone companies don't really want us to know...

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Oct 13 2007, 11:33pm

Post #7 of 13 (80 views)
It just seems that if it were some disease... [In reply to] Can't Post

they would find dead bees in the hive, and this isn't the case. I read that they are dying before returning to the hive. I'm hoping this PBS show was recently filmed and has more of the information you refer to.

For Gondor!


Oct 14 2007, 12:49am

Post #8 of 13 (78 views)
Nope, we still have tons here. [In reply to] Can't Post

I plant lots of flowers. They also like basil when the tops bloom.

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Oct 14 2007, 1:04am

Post #9 of 13 (96 views)
I noticed this summer in Ohio [In reply to] Can't Post

But thought maybe it was simply misplaced nostalgia for childhood. When we used to go to the lake in August, there were bees everywhere (or, in memory anyway) and often if we stayed two weeks, several cousins would get stung. But when we went this summer in August, there were NO bees.

I mean, it's hard to get nostalgic for bee stings. Cool And yet, when we were all sitting around the picnic tables with our food, there were no bees circling the trash cans---and bees circling trash cans at picnics are surely a sign of summer in the US, aren't they?

Or they were, at one time.

And it occurs to me I don't know the difference between honeybees and any other bee, so maybe the bee I was missing wasn't even a honeybee. But it was still MIA.

Gosh, I hope Einstein was wrong in this one instance...


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~~~Reinhold Niebuhr


Oct 14 2007, 1:26am

Post #10 of 13 (85 views)
Well, he may have been right for technology's status at his time ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank God we've progressed since then. In some ways.Crazy

For Gondor!

AlassŽa Eruvande

Oct 14 2007, 7:01pm

Post #11 of 13 (76 views)
They have all moved to my house. [In reply to] Can't Post

We have a hollow oak tree on our place that has a huge hive.

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Oct 16 2007, 4:46pm

Post #12 of 13 (59 views)
I've also heard [In reply to] Can't Post

that they yellow-jacket bees (more like a wasp, imho) are also killing them off. Either literally or by taking over their territory. They're everywhere in my neck of the woods! These are incredibly aggressive and can build a busy hive in less than a day. Last summer, my g'son was playing around in the front yard one day... and the next day he was in the same area where he just passed near the hive, and he was covered in yellow-jacket bees instantly. He came running into the house screaming. They were in his hair, in his clothes... stinging as fast as they could! Luckly he wasn't allergic.

Pesticides are also a culprit. I live in the country about 3 miles away from a bee farm, and I've only see enough honey bees to cound on one hand all season.

Bumblebees are also more scarce.

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Oct 16 2007, 5:56pm

Post #13 of 13 (139 views)
Yes! Hornets... [In reply to] Can't Post

apparently hornets over here have been attacking bees and basically taking over - think I prefer the bees to the hornets.


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