Bee dieoff

I have been hearing about how commerical bee people have lost a lot of their hives. Many of these hives are transported for pollination. What was I was wondering is if these dieoff affects "local native" bees that are not part of commerical operations. I remember in my area a number of years ago there was a problem with the death of large numbers of bees, and I seemed to have fewer tomatoes, and it also affected my neighbors. Has anyone any thoughts about this?
Thanks
Tom
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|I have been hearing about how commerical bee people have lost a lot of |their hives. Many of these hives are transported for pollination. What |was I was wondering is if these dieoff affects "local native" bees |that are not part of commerical operations. I remember in my area a |number of years ago there was a problem with the death of large |numbers of bees, and I seemed to have fewer tomatoes, and it also |affected my neighbors. |Has anyone any thoughts about this? | |Thanks | |Tom
I'm not sure how one would distinguish native from "kept" bees but I'd like to know.
I have Blue Orchard (Mason) bees nesting close to my plum tree. They are said to be much more efficient pollinators than honey bees, yet I don't see them among the plum blossoms. I do see much coming & going around the nesting "condos" but they buzz away so quickly I can't see where they go.
The plums seem to be pollinated by much smaller wasp-like insects (and maybe ants?)
I think manually shaking tomato plants should help in the absence of live (well, smaller than you) pollinators.
Alexander
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On 2 May 2007 11:06:47 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@city-net.com"

only ones in the wild are those who have swarmed and escaped from the beekeepers.
The mite problem a few years ago wiped out all wild bees. Once beekeepers started using resistant varieties those that escaped began to re-establish "wild" colonies.
I suspect, but do not know for sure, that the escaped bees are also subject to same problems as their sisters still in capitivity by the beekeepers.
My friend's favorite theory is that it is a nutrition problem worsened by the practices of putting colonies in the middle of acres and acres of only one source of nutrition. That nutrition imbalance stresses the colony and makes it more susceptible to all of the other problems that bees have to contend with.
John
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The mite problem a few years ago wiped out all wild bees.
Not sure this is true everywhere. I recall reading a few years back that Vancouver Island was free of those mites and therefor a major source of uninfected bees. I believe the mites eventually arrived. Whether all wild bees on the island were wiped out, I don't know. Could be though.
Alexander
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wrote:

A couple of resources about "native" bees.
http://www.birdsamore.com/critters/bees.htm http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/nativebee.html
--
Travis in Shoreline Washington


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Those are good sources Travis, Thank you Em
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This is true, our honeybees are european natives brought here by the colonists and other immigrants throughout the years.

'resistant varieties' actually developed out in the wild, were captured and used in breeding programs.

comb, they may not have quite as many problems because a beek isn't putting miticides into their hive. If it's due to chemicals we're using on our crops, then yes, they may have the same issues.

Migratory beeks seems to be having more problems than most, but the jury is still out. The best all-around source of current info is here: http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/ColonyCollapseDisorder.html
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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wrote:

There are not only native bees, but lots of them! Calif is estimated to have about 1500 species of native bees.There are from 3500-4000 species in the US. (Fremontia vol 30 July-Oct 2002) These are not the domesticated "honey bee" which was imported several hundred years ago from Europe; they are not "native" bees.

wild colonies of honey bees still to be found here in No Calif. There was an article in our newspaper this past week about a family with a swarm of honey bees in their front yard.

from the fact that they are colony forming. Most of the native bees are solitary, and do not form colonies.
Some of the common native bees are Bumblebees, Carpenter bees, Sweat bees, Leafcutter bees, Mason, and Orchard bees. Many people have heard of these. One other that I see here is a Burrowing bee.
The sources given by Travis are really good ones, Check them out Emilie
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were certainly wiped out by the mite problem. That may not have been true in other parts of the country and it appears that California has a thriving wild population.
John
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On 2 May 2007 11:06:47 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@city-net.com"

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/05/03/952 /
Few, if any commercial operations in my area, and I have seen damn few honeybees in my garden for the last three years.
This begs the questions: Have we become too dependant upon commercial and wild honeybees? Have we infected the native populations with our selective overuse of kept colonies? Have we killed off the many other pollinators with the widespread use of pesticides? What about GM crops? Are these affecting both commercial hives, wild colonies and the myriad of other pollinators? what about the road pollution and stress hives suffer whilst being transported?
What about the theories that cell and microwave radiation is disorienting the bees?
The problem is us, we caused it, but how? Rest assured the blame will be laid upon something other than us.
Doesn't matter who is to blame, we better get our s**t together and stop crapping in our own nest.
.....or maybe it's just too damn late and our own greed has finally killed us.
Charlie
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Charlie wrote in wrote:

Well, while everyone is having a hard time sleeping, anyway, here's some more fun:
http://www.indybay.org/news/2006/05/1819327.php
Effects of EMFs on Birds, Bees, Bat-Rays, Butterflies & Buzzards
Microwaves and Insects http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1448681 /
Effects of EMFs on Birds, Bees, Bat-Rays, Butterflies & Buzzards http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1369852 /
Mobile phones blamed for sparrow deaths http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1370183 /
Evidence of a conection between Sparrow decline and the introduction of Phone mast GSM http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1369577 /
The sparrows of London http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1368310 /
Bird on a wire theory needs closer look in disease watch http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1158189 /
Where have all the sparrows gone? http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1147135 /
Pulsed microwave radiation and wildlife - Are Cell Phones Wiping Out Sparrows? http://omega.twoday.net/stories/926007 /
Spanish paper on RF effects on birds http://omega.twoday.net/stories/904106 /
Birds suffer from biological effects of GSM, 3G (UMTS), DECT, WIFI, TETRA http://omega.twoday.net/stories/900299 /
Adverse Bioeffects on Animals near a New Zealand Radio Transmitter http://omega.twoday.net/stories/432402 /
Mobile phone mast blamed for vanishing pigeons http://omega.twoday.net/stories/286416 /
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And another one...
Deserted beehives, starving young stun scientists
By Dan Vergano and Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY Tue May 1, 7:08 AM ET
"The bees were gone," David Hackenberg says. "The honey was still there. There's young brood (eggs) still in the hive. Bees just don't do that." ADVERTISEMENT
On that November night last year in the Florida field where he wintered his bees, Hackenberg found 400 hives empty. Another 30 hives were "disappearing, dwindling or whatever you want to call it," and their bees were "full of a fungus nobody's ever seen before."
The discovery by Hackenberg, 58, a beekeeper from Lewisburg, Pa., was the first buzz about a plague that now afflicts 27 states, from the East Coast to the West. Beekeepers report losses of 30% to 90% of their honeybee hives, according to a Congressional Research Service study in March. Some report total losses.
Now a nationwide investigation, congressional panels and last week's U.S. Department of Agriculture scientific workshop swarm around the newly named "colony collapse disorder." Says the USDA's Kevin Hackett, "With more dead and weakened colonies, the odds are building up for real problems."
Busy bees
The $15-billion-a-year honeybee industry is about more than honey: The nimble insects pollinate 90% to 100% of at least 19 kinds of fruits, vegetables and nuts nationwide, from almonds and apples to onions and broccoli.
"Basically, everything fun and nutritious on your table - fruits, nuts, berries, everything but the grains - require bee pollinators," Hackett says.
Beekeepers, who travel nationwide supplying pollinators to farmers, have been losing honeybees for a long time, mostly a result of suburbs snapping up habitat and the invasion in the 1980s of two foreign parasitic mite species. As a result, bee colonies have declined 60% since 1947, from an estimated 5.9 million to 2.4 million, says entomologist May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois.
Each year, in fact, the bee industry supplies at least 1 million queens and packages of bees to replace lost hives, according to a 2006 National Research Council report. And sudden losses of hives have been reported since the 1800s.
But colony collapse disorder differs from past outbreaks:
Instead of dying in place, the bees abandon the hives, leaving behind the queen and young bees.
Remaining bees eat sparsely and suffer the symptoms - high levels of bacteria, viruses and fungi in the guts - seen by Hackenberg.
Collapses can occur within two days, Hackett says.
Parasites wait unusually long to invade abandoned hives.
Daniel Weaver, head of the 1,500-member American Beekeeping Federation, estimates that about 600,000 of 2 million hives (a more conservative number than other estimates) nationwide have been lost.
Weaver, of Navasota, Texas, says his hives have been spared the mystery affliction so far. "But if we go into another winter without understanding what's going on, the risk of a more devastating effect on beekeepers is a real possibility," he says.
Fittingly, in The Cherry Orchard, physician/playwright Anton Chekhov observed that when people offer many remedies for an illness, you can be sure it is incurable.
If so, the bees are in trouble. A colony collapse disorder working group based at Pennsylvania State University has become a central clearinghouse for all the suspected causes, which include:
An overload of parasites, such as bloodsucking varroa mites, that have ravaged bees. The parasites reportedly spread to Hawaii only last week.
Pesticide contamination. Hotly debated suspicion centers on whether "neonicotinoid" insecticides interfere with the foraging behavior of bees, leading them to abandon their hives.
Fungal diseases such as Nosema ceranae, which is blamed for big bee losses in Spain. It was spotted by University of California-San Francisco researchers who were examining sample dead bees last week.
The rigors of traveling in trucks from crop to crop.
A complex problem
"We may have a perfect storm of many problems combining to kill the bees," Hackett says. And bees are social animals, who cue each other through "bee dances" to find food. "Something could be just disrupting bee society and causing the problem. That's very difficult to tease out."
Weaver says the beekeeper federation is "bombarded with lots of interesting theories," including "far-fetched ideas like cellphones," the notion that radio waves from mobile phones are zapping the bees' direction-sensing abilities.
"But right now there's not a lot of evidence to support any of these theories," Weaver says. "We think science is the only way to get to the bottom of this."
The USDA spends about $9 million a year on bee research, Hackett says, about half of it focused on breeding bees resistant to mites. California is undertaking a five-year, $5 million project to examine insecticides, hive care and transport as well, he says.
Weaver says researchers need perhaps $50 million over the next five years to cover studies, deeper analysis of the "leading suspects" and a national surveillance system.
"Creating healthier bees, with a good diet, better able to fight disease is the best thing we can do right now," Hackett says. Otherwise, "when you sit down to dinner, the question will be what sort of grain do you want - corn or wheat or rice - because that's about all the choice we'll have left."
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On Fri, 4 May 2007 11:47:22 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

<snip>
Ahhh, good morning to you as well! Thanks for the cheery start to the day..... and the links and articles!
Bee Careful Charlie
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Charlie wrote in wrote:

Well, hell, if everyone is going to get whipped into a frenzy, ya might as well go for froth and foam and clawing of eyeballs... :)
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