OT - Kinda - Bees

We were watching Shipping Wars the other night and one of the loads being s hipped was 26 tons of bees (including hive boxes). This guy ships them from Michigan to North Carolina in the spring and then back in the fall. In jus t the trip back there must have been a million bees lost. My first question is Why would he do this? Second, somehow I would think this would fall int o the same kind of regulation that prevents transporting some plant materia l from state to state. Anyone know, Any ideas? MJ
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mj wrote:

to pollinate crops. there are not often enough local wild honey bees to adequately pollinate some crops.

i'm pretty sure it does require a license of some kind, but also it likely gets exemptions from strict controls in exchange for certain kinds of regular inspections to prevent the spread of diseases.
the problem is that there are only so many bees to pollinate crops. some crops almost require european honey bees to pollinate them. as the bee diseases and collapses continue this puts even more pressure on those hives left behind. shipping exposes them to more stress and pollution. generally, it's not a really great solution to the problem, but until someone comes up with something better it's often all that certain farmers have available to get the job done.
some hives travel thousands of miles each year.
songbird
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On Thursday, August 1, 2013 3:58:49 PM UTC-4, songbird wrote:

OK but I live near where he took the bees in North Carolina and I have hear d nothing about needing bees for pollination. I sure have seen a lot of the m around here. I forget the name of the town but it is a bit North of here on the eastern side of the state. Not the coast but east of Route 95. Altho ugh there are crops, feed corn, cotton, and much less tobacco this is mostl y hog country.
You say they travel thousands of miles, does that mean the escaped bees wil l find their own way back to Michigan?
MJ
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mj wrote: ...

there may be some kind of fruit or nut operation you don't know about. some crops too may do better if pollinated by honey bees.

there are very few "escaped bees". they move the hives at night, after almost all of the bees have returned to the hive. any left behind will die off. the queen is the only bee that can make a new hive (or a mating flight of drones and queen wanna-bees, but that's not likely with a managed hive) or replenish lost worker bees.
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mj;988966 Wrote:

Curcurbits likw squash and watermelon use imported beehives as pollinators. Don't they grow stuff like that in NC? Also sunflowers.
They do need to get the bees back somewhere cool for the winter, because if they are somewhere too warm for too long they remain active for longer, use up reserves quicker, and then aren't in a fit state for early season pollinations like California almonds. Some hives do an east coast to west coast migration each year, wintering somewhere in between, others wander north and south. Since the second world war the quantity of crops requiring imported pollinators in teh USA has increased 4-fold while the number of bees hives has less than halved. So each beehive has to cover 10x the area it used to, hence the requirement for all this driving around. Bee diseases have resulted in an excess of demand over supply. It's the huge dominance of single crops over a large contiguous area you get in the USA, such as California almonds, that reduces the number of natural pollinators available and results in a larger demand for pollinators than is required in Europe, where there is more of a mix.
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<http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/06/20/wild-pollinators-worth-billion s-to-farmers/> Researchers said both rented European honeybees and wild pollinator bee species are currently experiencing supply problems. More than 1 million honeybee colonies are imported to California each year, chiefly for almond pollination. Recently, beekeepers have suffered high rates of colony losses due to diseases, pesticides and management factors, increasing the uncertainty of both supply and rental prices.
Wild pollinator species also show declines in abundance and diversity on farmlands, most likely due to habitat loss from the intensive monoculture, or single crop, production system that typifies much of California's agricultural lands.
"Currently, wild pollinators are least abundant in intensive monoculture production areas such as sunflowers, almonds and melons, where demand for pollination services is largest," said Kremen, who was named a 2007 MacArthur Fellow for her work in ecology, biodiversity and agriculture.
Wild pollinators key to sustainability
Kremen said the findings suggest that if farmers paid ranchers to stay on the land and maintain the habitat, the farmers would be increasing their sources of pollination and developing critical diversification to support their agricultural practices.
"We would never invest all of our retirement savings in just one stock, but this is essentially what farmers do when they rely solely on the European honeybee for pollination," said Kremen. She said this is exactly what is occurring in California agriculture right now.
"Diversifying their monetary investment in pollinators to include wild, rangeland-dwelling species is the same idea as diversifying a stock portfolio," she said, adding that the unpredictability associated with climate change amplifies the importance of diversification.
Lynn Huntsinger, a professor of rangeland management at UC Berkeley who is not affiliated with the study, said that the findings are significant because the study is the first to discover that conserving rangelands enhances crop production.
"This evidence of economic symbiosis makes it clear that rangeland conservation cannot be separated from the needs of agriculture, whether it is farming or ranching," Huntsinger said.
She said that precisely because rangelands have been used for ranching - livestock grazing - ranchers have kept the land conserved and stewarded it in ways that result in habitat that sustains wild bee species as well as other wildlife.
"Studies in some ecosystems have shown that well-managed grazing can keep invasive grasses from shading out the flowering herbs that native pollinators rely on," Huntsinger said.
The state's rangelands have been decreasing steadily, as the foothills and oak-dotted grasslands can be highly desirable for residential development, Huntsinger said. California lost 105,000 acres of grazing lands to urbanization between 1990 and 2004, according to the state Department of Conservation. The California Oak Foundation projects that the state could lose another 750,000 acres by 2040.
She said the vast majority of rangelands are privately owned, and income from ranching is usually small compared to the price the land can command in the real estate market, so when cash is needed for college, retirement or other major expenses, ranchers face strong pressure to sell.
"This new finding about pollinators is important because not only does it tell us something we need to know to maintain our ability to grow food, it also provides a statewide value for the service of providing pollinator habitat. Ranchers need to get that value and other rangeland values recognized in order to sustain their ranches," Huntsinger said.
The finding comes at a time when there is growing interest within the ranching community in providing ecosystem services, Huntsinger said. For example, as part of conservation efforts, California ranchers have been asked to maintain flowers for endangered butterflies and to keep small spring wetlands known as vernal pools healthy - using grazing as a tool to manipulate the grassland.
<http://www.naturalnews.com/039479_wind_pollinators_food_security_honeybe es.html> Loss of wild pollinators hurting food security
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On Thursday, August 1, 2013 3:37:52 PM UTC-4, mj wrote:

om Michigan to North Carolina in the spring and then back in the fall. In j ust the trip back there must have been a million bees lost. My first questi on is Why would he do this? Second, somehow I would think this would fall i nto the same kind of regulation that prevents transporting some plant mater ial from state to state.

Actually cotton needs pollination.
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