Sighting Honey Bees

I spotted honey bees in the garden for the first time in several years. What a welcoming sight.
jennifer summers
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comNOSPAMD (NOSPAM2DAYJennifer Summers) expounded:

Yes, I've seen a resurgence this summer, too. Thank goodness!
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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Yes indeed. We have many more than we have had in recent year. Can remember when the clover hummed with them.
(NOSPAM2DAYJennifer Summers)

What a

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comNOSPAMD (NOSPAM2DAYJennifer Summers) wrote in message

Trust me they are not wild. Someone within a mile or two is keeping managed colonies. The mites are endemic coast to coast and feral colonies last barely one winter, if that.
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snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com (Beecrofter) wrote:

I guess we can only hope that those independent bee's break out into an environment where those mite's have killed off the food supply.
Wishful thinking from someone who made the mistake to swat a honeybee on the back of his neck years ago.
William(Bill)
--
Zone 5 S Jersey USA Shade
There is atleast one word misspelled deliberately in the above post.
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There is a hive of bees in my back yard that took up residence several years ago. They are living in a ceramic sculpture that I made. They are not managed at all. Your statement makes me wonder if I should be doing something to assist them. I do greatly enjoy their being there. I am in Austin TX.
Cea
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Bull. I know of a wild hive that alive and well and has been for twenty years. While the varroa mite has made a big impact it has not wiped all feral colonies off the continent.
-- http://www.spinics.net/yosemite /
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It might not be quite "bull," but there is every indication that honeybees are making a come-back, the survivors of the initial mite infestations of the 1990s seemingly increasingly capable of fending off the parasites. Feral honeybee populations reached a low point five years ago & have in a few regions returned in force. It's still too soon to know if the nationwide epidemic will ever be reversed, but regional comebacks have been promising.
For instance, a Texas A&M study showed rapid feral bee decline between 1995 & 1996, & it was at that time it became bandied about that they were headed for extinction. But from 1996 to 1999, the feral bee population in the study area nearly doubled. This has not yet made up for the alarming losses that occurred in 1995/6, but it is nevertheless more than a marginal improvement. And, of course, far less newsworthy than "Bee extinction eminant!" so the return of the wild honeybees is not so much in the news.
Some have speculated that the parasitic mite was being to some slight degree scapegoated, & the bees could always have fended against the mites if not already stressed by the widespread use & misuse of pesticides & herbicides, loss of habitat, decline in the keeping of managed bees (many of the ferals being escapees), a cultural shift that permits the intentional destructiton of bees or even outlawing of beekeeping in populated areas where anything of nature becomes hated.
In regions where even one of the other elements levels off, so too the feral bee losses levels out or slightly reverses, so that some studies will not state outright that the mites were ever the lone cause of bee population collapse. When the decline leveled off & in some regions began to reverse, it was speculated that the bees were becoming adapted to the parasites, but improved or safer methods of pesticide use & additional bans of certain chemicals may also be assisting the feral bees. Africanized bees additionally are not very susceptible to the mites, plus the famed dangerousness of the Africanized bees seems to be lessening the further north they go, so that the return of the honeybees may have some association to their africanization. There are more theories than definitive answers for any of this.
An additional factor not perfectly understood is the capacity for honeybees to drop in population as a natural survival-positive reaction to new environmental stresses. Bees as a survival strategy drop in population when resources are less available, when disease attacks, where Africanized bees become too competitive; or in drought years or unexpectedly lengthy winters. The survivors form the basis of an increased population when poor conditions for the bees recitifies itself. This may have applied even to the stresses caused by the parasites, which themselves began to die out as their host population dropped rapidly as a natural survival mechanism.
Habitat issues too are just as complex. Just two examples. 1) In areas where oaks were removed due to disease or fear of fires, feral bee populations declined most rapidly. Turns out 80% of hives will be in living oak mottes if they are available. All other trees combined amounted to less than 20% of hive locations, & hives are smaller & less populous in the alternative choices. So where oak populations decline, feral bees decline, & where oaks are plentiful, bees too were more numerous. 2) Even in areas where tree loss is not substantial & potential hive-locations numerous, changes in the flower populations can cause rapid bee decline due to meadows being developed into stripmalls or invasive species displacing preferred pollin sources or even nature's own course changing flowery meadows into shrubbier land, or shifting weather patterns or unusual-weather years. The Texas A&M study indicated that changes in pollination factors were at least as important as the mites in the population implosion of the mid-1990s.
Between the speculations, a couple main issues arise as pretty certain: eve in rural locatons, human activity in removing needed wildflowers, or needed trees, or both, causes bee decline; & in urban & suburban locations, the main thing has been pesticides. In all cases, if the mites can be blamed as the key hazard to bee populations, there will be no political pressure to stop developing all the land, clearing all the woodlans, & herbiciding every meadow as fire hazards or "vermin" hiding places.
I'm seeing more honeybees this hot week than I've seen for a great long while, but in our case, very likely there is a maintained hive within a square mile. There's also a huge increase in colorful little beeflies.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Hey Ratgirl,
Thanks for your feedback....very informative. Where are you getting your information from?
Thanks
Phillip
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Well, this is a first............. Seeing a variation of my nym used to be a bad thing. I guess I'll have to stay out of the beekeeping }:-)
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What works in Texas might not be the same as what happens in New England but what I have noticed is that the mites run in cycles where one year they are very bad and as a result die with most of their host colonies and the following 2 years they are relatively mild and the cycle repeats. Like ticks it's not so much the bite as the additional pathogens the mites pass around. Now that Apistan is no longer controlling the mites I have halved the number of colonies I keep because it just goes against my way of doing things to use the Checkmite organophosphate acaricide. I see no evidence of the bees developing a tolerance to the mites on their own here.
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snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com (Beecrofter) wrote in

Honeybee sighted on clover Monday in SE Virginia.
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I haven't seen any this year, what has happened to them all? Did George W. Bush declare war on them also?
John
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