Monday, May 03, 2010

Bees ... or no bees

At all...


It's worse than we thought:
Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

The decline of the country's estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy.

Potential causes range from parasites, such as the bloodsucking varroa mite, to viral and bacterial infections, pesticides and poor nutrition stemming from intensive farming methods. The disappearance of so many colonies has also been dubbed "Mary Celeste syndrome" due to the absence of dead bees in many of the empty hives.

US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are a key problem. "We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies," said Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS's bee research laboratory.


mahakal said...

At least we will still be able to eat hemp, which pollinates by wind....

mahakal said...

Anyhow, bees are not Roundup-Ready.

mahakal said...

Meantime, let's make the problem bigger, shall we?

Anonymous said...

is there any way we can blame this on china?

ellroon said...

Omg, Mahakal. Monsanto up to its dirty tricks... Thanks for the link.

So... we won't have any food, but we'll have pot. What will we do for the munchies?

Ali, I actually did look into the bee food that people were feeding their hives to see if melamine was used. The track record for China's food production is so bad anyway.... is it enough to blame China for CCD?

The jury is out.

ellroon said...

But we can blame China anyway.. it's fun!