Honey Bee Disappearances

Discussion in 'Conversations' started by Aussiebob, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. Aussiebob

    Aussiebob Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
  2. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
    There is certainly a reduction in the number of honeybees here, but last summer there seemed to be an increase. I certainly did not seem to have a shortage. So maybe they are coming back. It will be interesting to see this summer if there are more or less than last year.
     
  3. Aussiebob

    Aussiebob Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    I've been listening to Coast to Coast on the radio at night....the latest theory is all those Genetically Altered/Engineered Plants that various governments and companies have been praising for the last few years.....well apparently they aren't real good for the bees....whole colonies have just vanished - and that's not good.....

    Who would have thought that mixing some spider genes into a cotton plant so that the cotton has the properties of silk etc......would have been a problem ....go figure hey????

    Life always finds a way.........
     
  4. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member

    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Camano Island, WA
    "I've been listening to Coast to Coast on the radio at night" -

    Maybe the bees have been abducted by space aliens for genetic experiments of their own.
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    8,799
    Likes Received:
    93
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  6. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Interesting parallel to the global warming "crisis" discussion. Thanks for bringing it up, Aussiebob. And that's an interesting paper, Daniel. The thing about peer-reviewed, published sources, however, is that sometimes they're vested in status-quo thinking. It is hard for George Bernard Shaw's "unreasonable man" to get a foothold in those kinds of publications, and Galileo wouldn't have had a hope. So while I applaud the sentiment of seeking credible sources, I wouldn't go so far as to say that peer-reviewed papers are automatically credible.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,302
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    The other thing about them is that they take quite a long time to come out - a good peer-reviewed study of a controversial topic like this may take 3 or 4 years of data gathering and analysis, review, and publication.

    Similar case in point, the first peer-reviewed study of the global spread of avian flu is only due out later this year (announcement with preliminary summary: http://newsbou.blogspot.com/2007/03/avian-influenza-migratory-birds.html ), even though many people outside of the poultry industry have been saying much the same for a couple of years in non-reviewed sources.
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    8,799
    Likes Received:
    93
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Good points. I can readily believe that there is a problem of some proportion. I'm glad to see that what I posted didn't become the final word on the topic and that it yielded some criticism of such studies. Published papers certainly don't capture the "evidence on the ground", such as related here:

    Honey bees in US facing extinction
     
  9. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Thanks for being receptive Daniel! I was just reading this (newspaper) article in which the difficulties of getting published within an industry/field are mentioned:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1363818.ece

    On the subject of bees (and I apologize if this was mentioned in the bigger article linked earlier; haven't read it all, had dinner to cook), does anyone know whether new hives are successfully being started as others are being lost?
     
  10. Aussiebob

    Aussiebob Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    The latest twist I heard on this was that some of the pesticides/herbicides being used have elements of nicotinne (the same as the bad stuff in cigarettes) - when this gets introduced into the hive and absorbed by the worker bees/larvuae etc etc - it destroys their homing memmory ability....the end result being that the bee flies off to do it's pollen collecting thing and whetever else they do.....but then can't remember how to get back to their hive..... this is why the hives are being opened up and nothing is found in them.....
     
  11. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

    Messages:
    543
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

    I agree. After several years without even seeing a common honey bee, my garden was full of them last year. Seemingly "out of the blue". I certainly hope they can make a comeback. Perhaps there needs to be an increase breeding programs. Most of my flowering plants, over the past decade, have been visited by a wide array of flies, wasps, and other bee species. One thing that seemed to coincide with last years sudden arrival of honey bees was a dramatic decrease in the paper wasp population. In previous years, many homes and buildings across Michigan were covered with several of those little paper wasp nests, but last year they were almost non-existent.

    I certainly don't claim to have any knowledge of the how's and why's. It was just an interesting observation.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,302
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
  13. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Wow. That's an article I'll be forwarding to friends.

    I'm not fully clear, though, on whether this is about mobile phone radiation being near the hive, or being on the bees' flight path.

    Is the answer for farmers (and gardeners) to have their own hives?
     
  14. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,302
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Hard to know. It is of course only someone's untested theory as yet. But it deserves scientific testing and investigation.
     
  15. ginsenghamster

    ginsenghamster Member

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fanny Bay, BC Canada
    I've been keeping bees for nine years and every year is different. Last year, I had a mouse nest in two of my hives. My overwintering hives are usually two to three supers deep full of honey to keep them happy once the maple starts flowing. One was strong enough to survive the winter and actually stung the offending mouse to death. The second hive wasn't as strong and the mouse ate honey, pollen, bees and much to my dismay the queen. I had to requeen the hive when I opened the hives in April. Not to go through the same situation again, I reduced the front entrances to the hives, but the mice still got in. They didn't nest in the hives this time, but ate the bees instead. I'm down to three hives from my original seven. To those wondering, yes, I did set mice traps in front of the hives and filled them. I heaped fine bark mulch at the entrances and sides when the cold weather set in, and I could see evidence of mice trying to tunnel their way in. Its only been since mid February since the mouse problem has died down (courtesy of the cat?). Also to those wondering....I don't smoke, have a cell phone, nor use biocides in the garden. I don't think GMO crops are in play (here, anyway) either since I'm on Vancouver Island. Of course I can't control what biocides people spray in their gardens. So for all you folks who don't keep bees, this is my two cents worth. Oh yeah, you'd think with an electric fence around the apriary, the resulting electromagnetic field would have some effect...not from my observations.
     
  16. Aussiebob

    Aussiebob Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
  17. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,706
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, B.C. ,Canada
    A few years back we seemed to have no insects or spiders around from spring through fall, not even a fly. Therefore no birds, snakes, moths, honeybees, butterflies, coyotes, etc. Can't remember if the bumblebees were as plentiful. Noticed only 2 field mice when mowing 2 hectares. Bears and deer were still around. Suspect the cause may have been because of the West Nile virus mosquito problem and subsequent spraying from the air of a malathion solution. Small creek and pond on the property, so may have got an extra dose of spray. Didn't feel that well myself. 30 miles away, there seemed to be plentiful insects and such. There, the water areas were treated for mosquitoes with a biological method, they let the residents chose their preferred method there. The populations seem to be gradually recovering here now, although still not that many moths. Have no idea if this is related to the honeybee disappearances and mortalities, nor how the local beekeepers fared, but it wasn't good. The staff at the local retail nursery centre where hearing similar reports. It would make one wonder if it was safe to eat leaf vegetables from a home garden.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  18. ddtwo

    ddtwo Member

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Surrey, BC
    I too noticed a marked increase in the numbers of honeybees this past year. During the years when honeybees seemed to be absent (they couldn't have been, otherwise where did they all come from last year?!), I noticed many more bumblebees around, and last year there were both numerous honeybees and several kinds of bumbles, too.

    For your viewing pleasure, here's a couple of pix from last year, one of a very beautiful black bumble feeding on a climbing hydrangea, and another of a honeybee feeding on a dandelion (the only dandelion in my WHOLE garden, I swear! ;-) ).
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 27, 2007
  19. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
  20. Aussiebob

    Aussiebob Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
  21. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member

    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Camano Island, WA
    Recent article in "Fine Gardening" seems to agree with the last one posted by Karin. Richard Fell, professor of entomology at Virginia Tech, blames the Varroa mite for the majority of the recent die-offs. The mite attacks bees directly, but also passes on a number of viral diseases harmful to bees.
     
  22. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,156
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
  23. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    8,799
    Likes Received:
    93
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Well, I have to say - I'm starting to wonder with what seem like a lot of questions about poor fruit set esp. on cherries in the Fruit Trees forum
     
  24. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kansas City, Mo.
    Following is an excerpt from an article in the KC newspaper about crop artist Stan Herd helping raise awareness to the problem of declining bee population:

    "Or to Glenn Davis, a beekeeper in Bates City, Mo., who shelled out $18,000 after losing 500 of his 650 colonies last fall. Davis was still able to ship his bees, what was left of them, to California to pollinate an almond crop. He then brought them home to Missouri to do their job on a few of the apple orchards that survived this spring’s hard freeze."

    MY QUESTION: What sort of unnatural life is it for bees to be shipped to an irrigated California desert to pollinate crops there and then shipped back to the Midwest to pollinate apple trees? It is more amazing that something didn't kill the bees before.

    The article link is listed below as well as a link to a Science Daily rewrite of a K-State news release.

    http://www.kansascity.com/238/story/122806.html
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409214541.htm
     
  25. ddtwo

    ddtwo Member

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Surrey, BC
    FYI - I'm seeing honeybees again this year - though not quite as many as last year (my perception, which could be valid or invalid ...) and also the bumbles seem just as numerous as last year. Wasp numbers are about the same or slightly less.

    Most important: fruit set on our Asian pears and on our apples is fine - not quite as thick as previous years, which is a good thing - less thinning! But the overall set is quite satisfactory.

    Context: We have a small acreage in Surrey on suburban power/gas line right-of-way, with no farms nearby, and neighbours who are not given to spraying things to death. There are undisturbed natural bushy areas nearby, and plenty of wildflowers and grasses all round. There are tall, thick hedges hither and yon, as well as a salmon spawning stream not far away. I did keep a pond but filled it in last spring (which could explain the reduction in wasps!) though I do try to keep a birdbath filled with water.
     

Share This Page