The poor, sick bees!!!! :(


    Mystery Ailment Strikes Honeybees

    New Mystery Ailment Devastates Honeybee Industry, Already Hurt by Mite Infestation

    By GENARO C. ARMAS Associated Press Writer

    The Associated Press


    A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination.
    Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called Colony Collapse Disorder.
    Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some affected commercial beekeepers who often keep thousands of colonies have reported losing more than 50 percent of their bees. A colony can have roughly 20,000 bees in the winter, and up to 60,000 in the summer.
    "We have seen a lot of things happen in 40 years, but this is the epitome of it all," Dave Hackenberg, of Lewisburg-based Hackenberg Apiaries, said by phone from Fort Meade, Fla., where he was working with his bees.
    The country's bee population had already been shocked in recent years by a tiny, parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which has destroyed more than half of some beekeepers' hives and devastated most wild honeybee populations.
    Along with being producers of honey, commercial bee colonies are important to agriculture as pollinators, along with some birds, bats and other insects. A recent report by the National Research Council noted that in order to bear fruit, three-quarters of all flowering plants including most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs and fuel rely on pollinators for fertilization.
    Hackenberg, 58, was first to report Colony Collapse Disorder to bee researchers at Penn State University. He notified them in November when he was down to about 1,000 colonies after having started the fall with 2,900.
    "We are going to take bees we got and make more bees ... but it's costly," he said. "We are talking about major bucks. You can only take so many blows so many times."
    One beekeeper who traveled with two truckloads of bees to California to help pollinate almond trees found nearly all of his bees dead upon arrival, said Dennis vanEnglesdorp, acting state apiarist for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
    "I would characterize it as serious," said Daniel Weaver, president of the American Beekeeping Federation. "Whether it threatens the apiculture industry in the United States or not, that's up in the air."
    Scientists at Penn State, the University of Montana and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are among the quickly growing group of researchers and industry officials trying to solve the mystery.
    Among the clues being assembled by researchers:
    Although the bodies of dead bees often are littered around a hive, sometimes carried out of the hive by worker bees, no bee remains are typically found around colonies struck by the mystery ailment. Scientists assume these bees have flown away from the hive before dying.
    From the outside, a stricken colony may appear normal, with bees leaving and entering. But when beekeepers look inside the hive box, they find few mature bees taking care of the younger, developing bees.
    Normally, a weakened bee colony would be immediately overrun by bees from other colonies or by pests going after the hive's honey. That's not the case with the stricken colonies, which might not be touched for at least two weeks, said Diana Cox-Foster, a Penn State entomology professor investigating the problem. (more to follow in link).
  2. The poor, poor honeybees! This makes me so sad. DH and I have known about this for quite awhile and we just get upset thinking about the poor bees. There have been a few developments after this but I'm having a hard time finding the story. DH is kind of an insect expert and he says that the US Army got into researching this problem on why the bees would get mysteriously sick, and they found that it was an assortment of viruses. I'll post more info when I talk to DH more about it (sucks not being in the same state right now!)
  3. Things like this make me wonder if the wholescale pollution of the Earth has something to do with it. One cannot pour billions of pounds of carp in the air without it affecting everything from bugs to man. There is also a higher incident rate of other illnesses and diseases we've never heard of until the last half a century... we have no-one to blame but ourselves.

    I feel for the bees as well... honey is a staple in the American Indian diet, and without bees, no honey. Has DH ever been bee-lining? I did once when I was pregnant with my son in Michigan... old fashioned legwork to find the nest. And NOTHING is sweeter than raw honey! YUM!
  4. I feel sad for the bees, too!

    And, like Speedy said, no bees no honey.

    Not only would that take away the livelihoods of some people, but it would take away the hobbies of others.

    Also, I'm pretty sure that some beekeepers have grown attached to their bees. (Naming each and every one of them would be a bit much, though).
  5. That, and basically all of agriculture is reliant upon honeybee pollenation skills (they have mad sex skillz, yo).

    Shoot even my grandpa has been affected by this on his small kiwifruit farm - he has to bring bees in and lately they have not been as plentiful :sad:
  6. Awww yeaaaah!
  7. :supacool:

    I am not a fan of, say, yellow jackets and wasps...but honeybees? Yeah I've been stung by them but they have an important job. Oh and I loooooove bumblebees. Have you ever pet one while it's sitting on a flower? :biggrin:

    Jason decided to save a wasp colony because they decided to hibernate inside a conex on our facility (it's like a big storage unit, we have tons of them out in our motor pool)....which is FREEZING they will probably all die by the time winter is he's moving them to a tad bit warmer area so they don't die.

    Yeah we like living creatures :shame:
  8. UGH I despise bees....they are my one phobia...literally I see them and my heartrate increases and I start sweating...even the sound they make! Because of them I really fear anything that flies...even birds freak me out and dragonflies.

    BUT that said....this sucks for people who rely on them for their livelihood!
  9. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we ALL rely on them. For pollination! I can't even imagine the devastation that would happen, we depend on them for our livlihood. I hope they can find out the reason of this and soon! Poor bees! I happen to love bees and Bumblebees are my favourite. Beautiful! :smile: I've been stung a few times but honestly, it's not soo bad.
  10. There's no mystery to where they have all migrated to.... my house , of course! :mad: Every year these pesty mean bees have found a way to dig a hole into my exterior walls and happily make their hive in between my walls. 3 years ago, I had honey oozing out of the walls into my storage room. At that point, they were trying to take over my storage room and make it into a huge hive! It's not fun when you get stung by these mean insects as well! :boxing:
  11. Hayden, they haven't migrated...they are DYING...entire colonies are collapsing. It doesn't sound like honeybees are digging into your wall to make their hive, though, it sounds like yellowjackets or wasps - they have a tendency to do that. and they are just MEAN. So I feel your pain (literally - when I was 12, yellowjackets decided to make their home right in my bedroom wall and find a way inside...I would come home to tons of them indoors and freak out....luckily we got rid of them and then moved).
  12. If you eat food or enjoy nature, you rely on honeybees :tup: I love bumblebees, too, Danica!!!:flowers:

    Twiggers, I used to be scared of bees too, but then I realized that my real dislike is for yellow jackets/wasps...they are scavengers and have no true purpose other than specific insect control (which has its ecological place) but they don't get along with me so I will just say that yellow jackets and I don't see eye to eye...ROFL.

    But the poor, poor honeybees, they work so hard to do their jobs! :crybaby:
  13. Update:

    By Matt Sullivan
    Photographs by Jerry Bromenshenk
    Published in the September 2007 issue.

    Since last fall, the strange phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has killed off a quarter of America's honeybee population, and threatened 25 percent of our food supply. (A wide variety of crops rely on pollination.) This past spring, a nationwide effort by top DNA scientists determined that CCD is probably caused by a number of factors, including multiple bee-killing viruses. But identifying specific viruses with DNA sequencing is a slow, painstaking process.

    That's where Charles Wick (then the leader of the chemical and biological detection team at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland) came in, volunteering a microwave-size invention to help the cause. Originally used to screen drinking water for pathogens, Wick's 50-pound Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS) hits a sample with an electric charge, then counts and sizes the particles making up the sample to identify viruses. By measuring to the nanometer, the IVDS can pin down a disease in 10 minutes.

    As a trial run, CCD surveyors sent Wick samples from suffering beehives, which he liquefied in a blender, filtered using a cheesecloth, and ran through the IVDS. "They'd been working on this for six or seven months," Wick says, "so we brought in a new technology and immediately detected the pathogens they were looking for."

    The surveyors were astonished: Within minutes, the IVDS had found multiple suspicious viruses, kick-starting the chase for the cause of the collapsed colonies. Wick's invention is now part of the ongoing CCD effort, and a commercial version of the device has just been released.
  14. Last summer, the farmer I buy produce from was so upset about his bees. His hive took off and he was struggling to get his produce hand pollinated until replacment bees were delivered. It really is a serious problem.

    I have never considered trying to pet a bumblebee. Thought made me smile!
  15. At least they are making some headway! hopefully now that they are able to identify these pathogens they'll find a way to control it! This really is a huge deal that concerns us all. I know humans like to think that we are the "queen bees" of the animal kingdom, but we'd be nothing without these guys!:heart: