Monday, April 23, 2007

Where the Bees Aren’t

The last thing any of us needs is another story of doom, especially on a Monday morning. But over the weekend I read this article on the disappearance of large numbers of honey bees in this country and it is a bit worrisome. Bees, you see, make possible a large portion of our food supply. And now they are mysteriously vanishing.
It is now common for Hayes to hear of beekeepers losing over 50 percent of their hives to colony collapse disorder. “If you have that kind of loss, you can’t build up to what you had before.”

That’s led to a dwindling of colony numbers and beekeepers can’t keep up.

“We’ve had reports of beekeepers forced out of business. They can’t fulfill pollination contracts. Other businesses that normally provide queen bees are canceling orders. They don’t have enough bees to work with.”

At some point, warns Hayes, “the lines on the graph will cross and there won’t be enough honeybees in the United States to pollinate our crops.”

Levi says the researchers are “working as hard as they can. Recently, many went out to California to look at the bees there for the almond crop. They were able to work around a massive number of colonies. They’ve found the same symptoms there: beekeepers losing 30 to 80 percent of their colonies. They aren’t finding many bees either in or outside affected colonies. The bees just vanish.”

Colony collapse disorder has been found in 30 states, including Hawaii, and isn’t affecting beekeepers equally. Some have suffered dramatic losses — going from thousands of colonies to hundreds of colonies. Others have only had a few hives affected.

“For commercial beekeepers it does seem more dramatic because they keep such huge numbers of bees. But we have plenty of reports of the problem from smaller beekeepers and hobbyists. As spring arrives, we’re now getting reports from further north.”
The (other) bad news is there really isn’t any thing you or I can do about his right now until a cause for this problem is found. The best we can do is hope the experts can figure out what is going on before it’s too late.

Have a nice day!


John Blatchford said...

I have just written a brief article about ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’ which you might find of interest

Anonymous said...

We can quit spraying chemicals all over our own yards.

Anonymous said...

While reducing or elimitating lawn chemicals may be a good idea in general, I'm not seeing much discussion of a direct link between lawn chemicals and the disappearing honeybees.

A Bishops Wife said...

I have been writing about this-on and off- for a few months now. (Mainly just to bring it to the attention of people).
I keep an updated list of news articles, about the missing bee mystery, on my blog.

To me, I think it is important.