Honey Bees and Chemtrails
The Mysterious, Disappearing Honey Bee
May 31, 2009 by Lisa Wojnovich
Honey bees are disappearing. The story has been in the news on and off since 2006, but for one reason or another, most people have paid little attention. And the situation is significantly dire.
Colony collapse disorder (CCD), also known as honey bee colony depopulation syndrome, is essentially the sudden disappearance of honey bees from their colony. As more and more bees disappear, the colony fails and ultimately dies.
CCD has been taking its toll on commercial beekeeping worldwide. The first reports came from multiple locations within the U.S., but the phenomenon has spread across Europe and has even been reported in such far-flung locations as Taiwan and New Zealand.
Haagen-Dazs, a maker of high end ice cream, sounded the alarm early in 2008, going so far as to donate $250,000 to CCD research and launch a new flavor, Vanilla Honey Bee, to raise awareness and more research funding. Their spokeswoman said that 40% of their 60 flavors, not to mention approximately one third of the U.S. food supply, is dependent on pollination by bees. If the bees die, so, ultimately, will the crops, and then everyone will be in trouble.
The problem is, even after three years and some intensive focus and funding by concerned groups, we still don’t really know what causes CCD. Numerous causes have been advanced – from insecticides to parasites to genetically modified crops to stress due to environmental changes. In April, Spanish scientists identified a type of fungus, Nosema ceranae , that appeared to be causing CCD in two commercial colonies they were studying. The researchers managed to cure them with the application of an antibiotic drug – thus identifying and curing at least one cause of CCD. But even this advance does not appear to be the panacean answer the agricultural and apiarian industries are desperately searching for.
There is a little good news, such as it is. From September 2008 to April 2009, according to a survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, overall U.S.honey bee colony losses from all sources, including CCD, were 30%. This figure is a slight improvement over the 36% of last season and the 32% the season before that. Unfortunately, such losses still bode ill for the economic stability of commercial crops that rely on honey bees for pollination and the $15 billion alone they add to the value of American crops each year.
Photo Credit: d70focus and wwarby at flickr.
The Latest on the Disappearing Honeybee Mystery
by Jeremy Elton Jacquot, Los Angeles on 11. 3.07
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Those of you keeping track know that the disappearing honeybee saga has become almost a fixation for us here at TreeHugger. You may recall that a team of scientists had pinpointed IAPV (Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus) as the likely culprit for the unprecedented number of disappearances - a virus they believed had originated in Australia.
A new genetic analysis has revealed that the virus has, in fact, been present in the U.S. since at least 2001. Yanping Chen and Jay Evans, both of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory, studied samples from commercial beekeepers collected between 2001 and 2004 in Maryland - in addition to several collected from California, Pennsylvania and Israel. The virus showed up in samples dating as far back as 2002.
Noting a slight variation in a highly conserved RNA region among bees from the West and East Coast, Evans concluded the virus had most likely been here even longer. He believes IAPV may still play a role in the disease; the Australian variety might simply be more virulent than the U.S. ones.
Other scientists still aren't convinced IAPV played a role in the honeybees' mass disappearances. No solid evidence has yet conclusively linked colony collapse disorder (CCD) to the virus, they stress. "Until you have introduced the virus and caused disease, you're just postulating. The conclusive data are not in," said Bruce Webb, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky.
Via ::ScienceNOW: Disappearing Bee Mystery Deepens (news website)
Image courtesy of susanad813 via flickr