Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by river, Jan 24, 2013.
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How a Harvard scientist, a sixth-generation bee whisperer, and a retired entrepreneur joined forces to rescue an embattled insect and save the American food supply.
Colony Collapse Disorder: Are Potent Pesticides Killing Honeybees?
Scientists confirm: Pesticides kill America's honey bees
The latest info I read blamed the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup to feed the bees so the honey could be harvested. Seems the HDCS has no nutrients, just calories, so effectively, the bees are starving to death. Being so weakened, any other stressor will trip them over the edge. Either, stop harvesting that much honey from each hive, or develop a cheap, high nutrition "bee-food" to replace the HFCS.
That is mostly done in high production commercial operations. Lots of hobby beekeepers who winter their hives on honey have lost colonies anyway.
It probably contributes, of course, as any such weakener would. But even wild honeybees have been hurt by whatever this is.
The Happening? :shrug:
Scientists discover another cause of bee deaths, and it's really bad news
"Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once."
I know a little about bees. One thing is that pollen is their only protein source and from articles linked to here, it seems to be the contamination of it that is a large part of the CCD problem.
Why not place near hives sheets of "honey smelling" protein, just give it the smell, but not make it stick inside the pollen pouches on their two hind legs. I.e. a pure pollen substitute that they can build new bees out of? In early spring the hive typically still has some honey left but strongly desires pollen to build their numbers back up for later collection of nectar. I'm sure with a little experimentation some protein mix, perhaps even better than found in nature, could be cheaply made.
You can actually buy pollen to feed the bees at Bee supply stores, the problem is that the little buggers will still go out and collect pollen up to a couple of miles from the hive. Also, depending on the flowers they are collecting nectar from they will get dusted with pollen and fill their little pollen baskets anyway.
Another alternative is to more than restore the natural balance that large scale commercial industrialized agriculture has destroyed thus requiring pesticides. Although I live in Brazil, first time I heard of Brazilian company doing this was a few hours ago on CNN international's program: The real Brazil. It cover many things (3.8million cars made in 2012, Embraer's new 23 ton cargo plane cheaper and better etc. than Lockheed's, 800 new buses for Rio, etc. with 3 billion dollar being spent just to be ready for both the world football cup (soccer) in June 2014 and Olympics in 2016, but what interested me (and I hope readers here) was small company call BUG. (www.bugbrazil.com.br) So small they don't yet have English version of the web page, which has lots of photos and information. Thus I will make a reasonable but free stab at translating one small part of one sub-page below the original text, which is:
"Todas as espécies de plantas e animais têm inimigos naturais (parasitóides, predadores e patógenos) atacando seus vários estágios de vida. O equilíbrio inicial da natureza foi quebrado pelo homem com a implantação do sistema agrícola atualmente utilizado.
Atualmente, na busca da restituição de tal equilíbrio, o controle biológico assume grande importância, pois dentre as etapas de um programa de Manejo de Pragas ele ocupa uma posição bastante importante, sendo uma das medidas utilizadas para manter as pragas abaixo do nível de dano econômico, ao lado de métodos de controle físico, comportamental, de resistência de plantas a insetos, genético, entre outros, levando em conta critérios econômicos, ecológicos e sociais. "
All species of plants and animals have natural enemies (...) attacking them at various stages of their lives. The natural equilibrium that originally existed was destroyed by man introducing modern agriculture.
Thus it is very important to seek to restore an equilibrium via biological control ... to keep the level of economic damage low ... along with more conventional means ... taking into consideration economic, ecological & social factors. (End of my free translation)
That understates their hopes - they hope to nearly eliminated the need for pesticides. They have developed mean to mass produce very tiny wasps, and other GM organism that attack specific organism that damage specific crops, (soy and sugar cane are now using) and hopefully not the bees, but they don't speak of their approach as a possible "cure" for CCD.
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