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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Honeybee Decline update May 2012

Author Talk...Honeybee Decline

Honeybee Decline

Posted by Sharon Ann Rowland on 9 May 2012
AUSTRALIA -- Greetings from chilly Brisbane,
Meet Janet and Graeme Stevens, a lovely couple I got chatting with recently at my local shopping centre.  Graeme is a Beekeeper and travels Australia loaning out his bees for various amounts of time to crop farmers.  His bees then do, what bees do, and pollinate anything that sways in the breeze!
I now need to ask if everyone else on the planet knew that bees needed to be transported to various farm regions? 
I didn’t know this; in fact, I naively thought this happened naturally with feral bees doing the job Australia wide.  I had no idea it was such a man-controlled industry, or how important bees (especially the Honeybee) are to our way of life. 
For those of you in the same boat, here is why the bee is so important:
  1. Flowering plants require insects for pollination. The most effective is the Honeybee, which pollinates 90 commercial crops worldwide. As well as most fruits and vegetables – including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots – they pollinate nuts, sunflowers and oil-seed rape. Coffee, soya beans, clovers – like alfalfa, which is used for cattle feed – and even cotton are all dependent on Honeybee pollination to increase yields.
  2. In the UK alone, Honeybee pollination is valued at £200m.
  3. Mankind has been managing and transporting bees for centuries to pollinate food and produce honey, nature's natural sweetener and antiseptic.
Now I’m going to tell you why I’m freaking out after my friendly chat with Janet and Graeme.
THE BEE (both domestic and wild bee populations) IS IN DECLINE AROUND THE WORLD
Their extinction would mean not only a colourless, meatless diet of cereals and rice,
and cotton less clothes, but a landscape without orchards, allotments and meadows of wildflowers –
and the collapse of the food chain that sustains wild birds and animals.
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 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 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.  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.
What are scientists putting it down to?  The following:
  1. Diseases spread as a result of mites and other parasites:
  • the greatest problem is the Varroa Mite, a bloodsucking parasite that attacks young and adult Honeybees (attacked bees often have deformed wings and abdomens and a shortened life span) - the Varroa Mite is also really effective at transmitting disease, particularly viruses, left untreated, a Varroa Mite infestation can wipe out a bee colony within a few months.
  • the Tracheal Mite, which gets inside adult bees and clogs their breathing tubes, essentially suffocating the insects - the Tracheal Mites also impede the bees' ability to fly, making them useless as pollinators, entomologists report.
  1. Decades of pesticide use has also taken its toll on Honeybees, though farmers are beginning to refrain from pesticide applications while their crops are blooming.  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.
A global review of Honeybee deaths by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported in April 2010 that there was no one single cause, but pointed the finger at the "irresponsible use" of pesticides that may damage bee health and make them more susceptible to diseases.  Bernard Vallat, the OIE's director-general, warned:

"Bees contribute to global food security, and their extinction would represent a terrible biological disaster."
Janet and Graeme showed me the March/April 2012 copy of the Queensland Beekeepers Association Inc. Newsletter that reported three studies performed in different parts of the world:
  1. Professor David Goulson, University of Stirling, Scotland concluded in his study that “there is an urgent need to develop alternatives to the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crop wherever possible.”
  2. A similar study carried out by Dr Jeffrey Pettis, US Department of Agriculture concluded that bees exposed to microscopic doses of neonicotinoids (pesticides) were much more vulnerable to disease. 
  3. Mikael Henry of France’s National Institute for Agronomic Research, looked at Honeybees exposed to another neonicotinoid product, Thiamethoxam.  This study found that even though that dose was sub-lethal, the exposure seriously affected the bees homing abilities to the extent that they proved to be two to three times more likely to die while away from their nests than untreated bees.
Neonicotinoids have been banned in some countries due to evidence of harm to Honeybees:
  1. The Italian Agriculture Ministry suspended the use of pesticides containing Clothianidin, Thiametoxam and Imidacloprid for the coating of any plant seeds in MAY 2009. The resultant resurgence of Honeybee populations prompted the government to uphold the ban [1].
  2. Germany and Slovenia, also suspended the use of pesticides for seed coating purposes “as a precautionary measure”.  Fipronil was also included in the ban because of its toxic effects on bees and dispersion into the environment at the time of sowing [2, 3].
Why am I worried?  Because according to Graeme both neonicotinoid products are being used in Australia and our Government is still messing around with submissions (i.e. Submission from the Sustainable Agriculture & Communities Alliance, Inc. (JANUARY 2011 FEBRUARY 2012)). If anyone has further information in respect to action being taken by a government body or independent, please comment after this blog.
My friendly Beekeeper believes that the companies that produce the pesticides are just too powerful (here and Overseas) – let’s hope for our sake this is not the case.
Stay Alert!
Sharon Ann Rowland
Oddologist & Author of The Crystal Channelers Book Series

Texas beekeepers bemoan declining honey bees

Published 12:05 a.m., Sunday, May 6, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — Bees are buzzing.
So are some folks who keep them and monitor the decline in their numbers.
Rain helps, they say.
"No rain, no flowers, no honey," said Joe Klamos, 92, who has been a beekeeper for decades. "We haven't harvested honey the past two years. Drought does 'em in."

Klamos had 12 hives with about 80,000 bees each, six miles west of Calallen. The current drought has cost half his bees, he said.
Most U.S. bees are descendants of European honeybees, brought here in the 1600s by immigrants.
In a rainy spring, honey usually is harvested the second week of June. A hive of honeybees will fly more than 55,000 miles for one pound of honey, which contains the essence of about 2 million flowers.
Klamos is one of an estimated 211,600 beekeepers in the U.S., but one of fewer than two dozen locally. He overturned several five-gallon buckets in front of his Janssen Drive home recently for a beekeeper powwow to compare notes on their hives.
Bees are disappearing in alarming numbers, experts say, and that affects more than honey.
"If we don't care about bees, there's no crops," said Dick Brown, 85, Klamos' longtime beekeeper buddy. "Eighty-five percent of them are pollinated by bees."
Brown bought his first beehive in 1972 when his son was interested in beekeeping as a Boy Scout. For decades he hauled his hives to cotton fields and fruit orchards in the Rio Grande Valley.
Bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in nut, berry, fruit and vegetable crops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Every third bite you put in your mouth exists because of honeybee pollination. California's almond crop alone uses 1.3 million colonies of bees, about half the number of all U.S. honeybees.
And it's not just our food crops that keep bees busy. Your dinner roast or chops require livestock feed — alfalfa, clover, hay, etc. Half of the country's alfalfa comes from California, which needs 220,000 bee colonies to pollinate the fields.
Bee keepers are a dwindling species too, but experts say that doesn't have to do with the decline in bees.
Bee populations, which have existed for millions of years, have suffered from colony collapse disorder, mite infestations, pesticides and mixing with Africanized bees, said Deborah Houlihan, 54, president of the Coastal Bend Beekeepers Association. It's one of 23 clubs affiliated with the Texas Beekeepers Association.
Houlihan's interest in beekeeping is environmental, she said.
Corpus Christi city leaders passed restrictive ordinances in the 1990s — after Africanized bees began appearing locally — that required swarms to be exterminated. Africanized bees earned the name "Killer Bees," because of their aggressive attacks. They were bred from southern Africa queen stock by a biologist in Brazil in the 1950s, and were accidentally released. They fanned across North America mating with U.S. honeybees.
By the 1990s beekeepers had replaced most of their Africanized queens with known stock bred for gentleness. But beekeepers still battle the negative reputation, Houlihan, a nurse, said.
"When you see bees hanging on the side of a house or from a tree in a swarm, they're so full of honey they can't sting," Houlihan said.
Some still attack if colonizing inside a wall, to protect their nest.
"I've seen them come out of the wall like machine gun bullets," said Tom Stewart, 76, former president of the local association, who started beekeeping as a gradeschooler. "With European honeybees you can squat and be real still and they'll leave you alone. With Africanized bees you're a sitting duck."
All beekeepers work to protect bees, and favor capture over extermination, Stewart, a retired engineer, said.
It doesn't always work.
"A lot of wild bees don't like being caught and put in a box," he said. "You put them in there and they're gone the next day. They're like feral cats, real independent."
Klamos and Brown have removed bees throughout the Coastal Bend for years, for a fee — between $150 and $250. Some exterminators charge much more.
And while their honey is the only food made by insects that people consume, and it has all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water — bees make other important things.
Beeswax is used in explosives, pharmaceutical salves, ointments, pill coatings and dentistry for impressions. The candle industry is the second largest user, because pure beeswax candles burn virtually smoke free. Beekeepers also use beeswax to initiate new hives.
These resources are only available by having enough plants producing nectar and pollen, said Roy Parker, entomologist for Texas AgriLife Extension and professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
"We're still not out of this drought despite recent rain," he said.
There's been a lot of speculation regarding the decline in honeybee population, Parker said, including new insecticides affecting them.
"Despite a few research papers," he said, "it's still not clear."
Information from: Corpus Christi Caller-Times,


The Death Of Bees “When the bees go, so goes Man” – Albert Einstein

MAY 10, 2012 BY  

Commercial beehives pollinate over a third of [North}America’s crops and that web of nourishment encompasses everything from fruits like peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries and more, to nuts like California almonds, 90 percent of which are helped along by the honeybees. Without this pollination, you could kiss those crops goodbye, to say nothing of the honey bees produce or the flowers they also fertilize’.1
This essay will discuss the arguments and seriousness pertaining to the massive deaths and the decline of Bee colonies in North America. As well, it will shed light on a worldwide hunger issue that will have an economical and ecological impact in the very near future.
There are many reasons given to the decline in Bees, but one argument that matters most is the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and "Terminator Seeds" that are presently being endorsed by governments and forcefully utilized as our primary agricultural needs of survival. I will argue what is publicized and covered by the media is in actuality masking the real forces at work, namely the impact of genetically modified seeds on the reproduction of bee colonies across North America
Genetically modified seeds are produced and distributed by powerful biotech conglomerates. The latter manipulate government agricultural policy with a view to supporting their agenda of dominance in the agricultural industry. American conglomerates such as Monsanto, Pioneer Hybrid and others, have created seeds that reproduce only under certain conditions, often linked to the use of their own brands of fertilizer and/or insecticide.
The genetic modification of the plant leads to the concurrent genetic modification of the flower pollen. When the flower pollen becomes genetically modified or sterile, the bees will potentially go malnourished and die of illness due to the lack of nutrients and the interruption of the digestive capacity of what they feed on through the summer and over the winter hibernation process.
I will argue that the media reports tend to distract public opinion from the true cause which underlies the destruction of bee colonies. As such, outlined are four major arguments which the biotech conglomerates (which produce and market GMO seeds) have used to mislead the public regarding the demise of the bees. These arguments include Varroa mites, parasites, cell phones, and terminator seeds
Argument 1: Varroa mites2
Firstly, “while there are some [people who] want to pin the blame on these mites”3, such views are unconvincing in that the argument does not make any sense because the main source of disease for these bees is intestinal disease. In fact, “many bee experts assumed Varroa mites were a major cause of the severe die-off in the winter of 2005. Yet when researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, traveled to Oakdale, California, where Anderson and a number of his fellow beekeepers spend winter and spring, they could find no correlation between the level of Varroa mite infestation and the health of bee colonies. ‘We couldn’t pin the blame for the die-off on any single cause,’ says Jeff Pettis, a research entomologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland,4 However, treatments against mites may be leaving hives open to the onslaught of powerful pathogens, much in the same way the overuse of antibiotics lead to super bugs”5 in society today. What does that say about our future? We have learned that in the 1960’s and 1970’s, among other human ailments, DDT was a major cause of cancer in humans and animals; however, the substitution of such pesticides was a closely guarded secret. Unfortunately, the long term effects on the human population has yet to be understood as the compromise of the immune system may be happening quicker than we are ready to accept, even regarding the advent of super bugs. One can see that even this medical implication has severe economical implications.
Argument 2: Parasites
Secondly; “Crops and even hedges, verges, and woodlands, and even where bees remain are sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. These chemicals are the practical extension of an exasperating belief that nature is our enemy. Pouring poison on our food is a very simplistic way of dealing with our problems however it ignores the root causes. New genetically modified crops, designed to be immune to certain pesticides and herbicides, have resulted in the increased usage of these chemicals. Pesticides, particularly Bayer’s imidacloprid, a nicotine-based product marketed under the names Admire, Provado, Merit, Marathon, and Gaucho have been concretely implicated6 in the destruction of bee populations before. (See also)7. The fact that other bees and insects are not raiding deserted hives to feed on the honey as they normally would lends some credence to the theory of a toxic overload”8. The toxic overload is certainly a concern, but wouldn’t it also need to be considered that this is systematic in the degeneration of the digestive process, such as in humans’ inability to digest preservatives and not absorb the enzymes to break down the foods eaten for survival?
Argument 3: cell phones
Thirdly, “there was also a misconstrued study on cell phone radiation 9 and its effects on the bee’s ability to navigate which turned out to be an over-zealous unthinking reaction by an article in the Independent [news]. Some have also mentioned other navigational hindrances such as UV radiation, shifting magnetic fields and even quantum physics10 as a reason to the destruction of the bees”11.
There is certain implications to this theory, and it has been proven that electromagnetic radio wave lengths to affect the navigation of the bees. However the sun emits radiation spurts all the time, yet this has not offered a hindrance to the bees.
Argument 4: Terminator Seeds
Lastly, “leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Canada wants all governments to accept the testing and commercialization of “Terminator” crop varieties. These seeds are genetically engineered to produce only infertile seeds, which farmers cannot replant, also to mention that the bees that are trying to collect pollen, found to have their digestive tract diseases, such as amoeba and nosema disease”12. These diseases are mainly located in the digestive tract system. After studies of the autopsy, the most alarming trait is that the lower intestine and stinger have discolored to black vs. the normal opaque color, Synominus with colon cancer in humans.
‘When thoracic discs were cut from sample Georgia A-2 the musculature of bees was notably soft and discolored when compared to healthy thoracic cuts.
This discoloration suggests that the bees were dead upon collection. When questioned the beekeeper confirmed that the bees were alive at the time of collection. Further, the tracheal system of these bees did not show signs of desiccation usually associate
with the collection of dead bees. Thoracic discs from this sample, after being placed in KOH for 24 hours, revealed peculiar white nodules”13
As seen above, it is certain that the digestive shutdown is due to hard material in the digestive tract that compromises the immune system. Circulatory problems would without doubt. Could it be that humans are going through the same process with the rise of Colon Cancer? As seen below in the comparison of the healthy Bee and the unhealthy bee, it is obvious that the bees that are ingesting GMO pollen are having severe digestive problems, so severe that the disease is terminal.
While Fyg (1964) describes similar stone like contents in poorly laying queens, the stones observed in the GA bees were not attached to the epithelium layer as Fyg (1964) describes. When these packets were ground and mounted, some unidentified floating objects (UFO’s) were observed. A cubic particle that resembles the cubic bodies of polyhedrios viruses (this viruses attacks wax moths) excepting that the cube observed was ~10x too big for a virus particle. There were fragments of pollen grains husks in all samples examined. All PA samples were found to have nosema spores in their rectal contents while none of the GA samples did. In two samples, epithelial cells were packed with spores.14
The North American reliance on bees for pollination is at minimum from 30 to 40%. Does it not seem obvious that the digestion of genetic material directly affects the digestive process of the bees? Could it also be that there are similarities in the human population’s digestive process? It must also be noted that this increased epidemic of the bee colony collapse has risen significantly since the use of GMO in our foods. It is also suspect in the rise of new cases of medical ailments in humans such as colon cancer, obesity, heart disease, etc… In the writers’ opinion, the inability of the bees to pass matter digestively is quite similar to the present-day problems in the human digestive system
The proof is obvious that one of the major reasons of the bees’ decline is by the ingestion of GMO proteins. This is problematic, as there is such an increase of indigestible foods in humans and bees. The situation of colon cancer in humans is somewhat similar in occurrence. This is only a theory but leaves one to wonder what are we eating en mass. The external or complementary good of the bee is obviously a rise for a global concern. The long-term economical and environmental impact has yet to be completely understood.
The Ecological Impact of horizontal gene transfer and increase of rampant disease is not fully examined and if so, is kept silent by these Conglomerates. The Economic impact of the bee colony collapse would mean inflation, scarcity of agricultural commodities, and ultimately the collapse of North American agriculture.
The Environmental Impact of scarcity and increased demand for resources, will beyond doubt have severe repercussions for our long-term food security. The bio-diversity of the bees causes positive economic and ecological externalities. The negative externalities have yet to be fully grasped or understood.
Organic crops: still relatively untouched
The truth is that organic farming is relatively untouched as the bee crisis is concerned. Organic farming maintains the diversity of the eco-system and preserves the quality of the foods produced. The economic impact that the scarcity of bees will potentially have on our society as a whole is very worrisome. In the end, only our children will fully realize; that it was greed that destroyed our beautiful blue planet.
Thill, John. Colony Collapse: Do Massive Bee Die-Off Mean an End to Our Food System as We Know it? AlterNet (Accessed 7/9/2007 10:06 PM)
Colony Collapse Disorder: Wikkapedia Encyclopedia Online’Colony Collapse Disorder’
(Accessed July 12, 2007)
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
(Accessed June 30, 2007)
CROP PROTECTION. Monthly 28 February 2001 – Issue No 135
Market Scope Europe Ltd. (Accessed July 10, 2007)
HONEY BEE Research Program. RIRDIC Honeybee Research Program Home Page. http://rirdic., (Accessed July 7, 2007)
Ho, Dr. Mae-Wan. ‘Recent Evidence Confirms Risks of Horizontal Gene Transfer’. ISIS Contribution to ACNFP/Food Standards Agency Open Meeting 13 November 2002, Institute of Science in Society, PO Box 32097, London NW1 0XR (Accessed July 16, 2007)
ISIS Contribution. ‘Recent Evidence Confirms Risks of Horizontal Gene Transfer”. ISIS Contribution to ACNFP/Food Standards Agency Open Meeting 13 November 2002 (Accessed July 17, 2007)
Mackintosh, Craig. (April 13, 2007): ‘Colony Collapse Disorder– a moment of reflection’; (Accessed July, 2007)
Vidal, John. ‘Canada backs terminator seeds’, The Guardian. Wednesday, February 9, 2005. (Accessed July 17, 2007)
Wilson, Dan. Lost colonies: ‘Where have the bees gone’? Appelton Post-Crescent, 5/18/2007 (Accessed July 19, 2007)
What’s Causing the Mass Disappearance of Honeybees? ‘What is causing the Dramatic decline in Honeybee Populations in the U.S and Elsewhere in Recent years’? – New York, NY, June 2, 2007
http:/ (Accessed July 10, 2007)
1 Hill, Scott. AlterNet, Posted on June 11, 2007, Printed on July 9, 2007
3 Mackintosh, Craig. (April 13, 2007): ‘Colony Collapse Disorder– a moment of reflection’; Celsias; ‘
4 ‘The Vanishing’
5 Mackintosh, Craig. (April 13, 2007): ‘Colony Collapse Disorder– a moment of reflection’; Celsias; ‘
8 Mackintosh, Craig. (April 13, 2007): ‘Colony Collapse Disorder– a moment of reflection’; Celsias;
11 Mackintosh, Craig. (April 13, 2007): ‘Colony Collapse Disorder– a moment of reflection’; Celsias;
12 Vidal, John. ‘Canada backs terminator seeds’ Wednesday February 9, 2005. The Guardian
13 Fall Dwindle Disease: A preliminary report
December 15, 2006
14 Fall Dwindle Disease: A preliminary report
December 15, 2006
Global Research Articles by Brit Amos

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