Wild bees: MIA

Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by dino, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. dino

    dino Active Member

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  2. dino

    dino Active Member

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    On SOX & NOX & Insects

    Here in central Alberta, I feel safe in saying, insect populations are dramatically lower this summer. Most of us are happy with the near absence of mosquitoes. But one asks, why?

    A neighbour- a retired oilrig drillboss- drives (eastward) across central Alberta to the Saskatchewan border every second week. He comments that gas-flares can't be blamed for SOX/NOX in our air because we're doing a lot less than in earlier times (we're now capturing that gas and not flaring it). However, he notes that when he's got into the prevailing wind from the tarsands plants:
    -in earlier years, he used to have to stop to clear "bugs" from his windshield,
    -this summer, "there are no bugs!"
    -he still has to stop, though, to put drops in his eyes (pollution makes his eyes tear),
    -when he stops, he's struck by the silence (absence) of frogs in roadside sloughs.

    From the reading below, it looks as though SOX&NOX pollution causes serious harm to (almost) all egg/larval development. It seems to me that this is the likeliest cause of very low insect populations in my garden this summer. Only whitefly is flourishing.

    My reading:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_rain
    (an exception; mites whose populations increase) : http://www.insectscience.org/6.19/
    http://www.dkgroup.dk/Newsletters/Presentation.pdf

    Perhaps someone can cite a clearer explanation of SOX/NOX effect on egg/larval development ?

    dino
     
  3. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    Sorry it's been a while since I've been able to get back here to post these pics. In the meantime the same thing happened today, i.e. found a bee (apparently) dead clinging to a flower, as if in mid-forage. Took a couple sets of pics, my apologies (they are a bit blurry) and I think it's hard to see that she's not moving at all. Anyway, I went out a few times, and the 3rd time she had moved! Changed position and moved to different flowers. She was moving her head and antennae, and her abdomen was expanding and contracting. When I went out about 15 minutes later she was gone!

    It was the same thing last week so I'm wondering now about their habits. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Was she sleeping? Do bumblebees 'sleep on the job', so to speak? For how long do they sleep? The whole process above took about 1/2 hr., but I don't know how long before I saw her there. I realize this probably belongs in a different thread but I don't know how to move it.

    The 2 pictures on the left were taken today on the physostegia, pic on the right was taken last week on liatris.
     

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  4. Weedbender

    Weedbender Active Member 10 Years

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  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Just found this on our local rural news


    Mutant bee a threat to Australian industry

    Tuesday, 09/06/2009

    Scientists in Papua New Guinea have discovered a mutant bee mite which could devastate the Australian beekeeping industry.

    A formerly harmless species of varroa mite which lives on Asian honeybees has undergone a genetic mutation allowing it to infest European honeybees, wiping out up to half the Papuan honey industry.

    It's a very rare phenomena, and believed to be confined to a single female mite and her offspring.

    Dr Denis Anderson, a bee pathologist with the CSIRO says that, based on past experiences, the mites will be also carrying exotic viral diseases.

    "Those viruses are actually what cause the death to the European honey bee colonies; we don't know what this mite has brought with it, what particular viruses," he says.

    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/200906/s2592735.htm

    Liz
     
  6. dino

    dino Active Member

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    Liz:

    Thanks for keeping our thread alive. Interesting reference.

    I am fascinated first with the thought that God in his infinite perfection has populated his Creation with virii so small we couldn't see them pre-WWII (when electron-microscopes were invented). And these ride around as specks of dust on mites so small that some colonize only bees' tracheae.

    Next, there's the genius of such as Swift to latch onto this (micro/macro) concept which was foreign to us until microscopes began being built (+/-1595).
    Swift observed in 1733, commenting on the British social order:

    "The vermin only tease and pinch
    Their foes superior by an inch:
    So, naturalists observe, a flea
    Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
    And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
    And so proceed _ad infinitum_."

    (See: "On poetry" here: http://www.fullbooks.com/Specimens-with-Memoirs-of-the-Less-knownx531115.html )

    My mind wandered (as you see) because the cited article reference to "harmless varroa mite" won't compute (for me). If a varroa mite isn't parasitizing bee eggs, larvae & adult bodies, what's it live on: corpses? feces?

    I still don't know. But looking, I found this deeply fascinating:
    "The infection and subsequent parasitic disease caused by varroa mites is called varroatosis. Its treatment has been of limited success. First the bees were medicated with fluvalinate which had about 95% mite falls. However the last five percent became resistant to it and later, almost immune."
    (from the wiki found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varroa_destructor )

    IOW: one mite in twenty survives to reproduce a genetically filtered immune strain of offspring.
    Sort of makes one think that all God's critters exist on a slippery slope, no? I wonder how Creationists 'splain that.

    Lots more interesting stuff on mites & treatment: http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/ipm/insects/pollinat/varroa/varroa2.htm

    Cheers, friends,
    dino
     
  7. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Great post. I think interesting threads are worth the continuation. When I get a minute I am going to tag with appropriate words. Lot's of people have looked at this so if any of you have more, as it comes along keep adding.

    Liz
     

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