Are GM Crops Killing Bees?


A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions. The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.

Is the mysterous decimation of bee populations in the US and Germany a result of GM crops? (external - login to view)

L Gilbert
Thanks, Stretch. I don't keep but I have a friend at the coast who does. I passed the link along.
Libra Girl
We need to wake up, and start taking this sort of thing very seriously! Stretch, I found that a very interesting, if worrying link! Good thread!
Well, they've always said Mother Nature would win out. We are a species out of control. If bees are taken from the essential equation that keeps our agribusiness alive, we might have more than global warming to worry about.

"If a sun compass were the only mechanism available to bees and pigeons their homing abilities should be severely affected by cloudy weather. But both species can forage and navigate successfully on totally overcast days. Thus these species have more than one compass mechanism, one of which may be sensitivity to the weak lines of magnetic force created by the earth’s magnetic field….Both pigeons and honeybees have magnetic compounds concentrated in certain tissues of their bodies; these compounds may be part of a magnetism detector." (For more information see 267 Gould J L 1980. The case for magnetic field sensitivity in birds and bees. American Scientist 68:256-267)
The question would be is this a magnetic disturbance in the earths magnetic field or perhaps the magnetic interference of the rise in cell phone technology in the past few years. Scientists have found magnetic material in the bodies of the bee that could be disturbed by bee cloning causing a problem in the ability of the bee’s mechanism in orientation.

www.backyardhive (external - login to view)
.com (external - login to view)
Another possible cause.
Interesting link, Walter! Let's hope the article is right and bee die-off is likely more a result of keeper practice than any underlying environmental complaint.
Part of the problem affecting the bees is modern practices. In the States for example it's common practice for beekeepers to move the hives hundreds of kilometers. Ths is tremendously stressful to the colony. The long trips and confinement also increase the pathogen load as the bees defecate on the hive as well, carbon dioxide builds up in the hive. There are also two parasites which have been decimating the bee colonies south of our border.

So far bee colonies in Canada have been relatively unharmed by CCD, colony collapse disorder.
It's aq big problem in the States. In Canada our bee hives aren't put under the same stresses as the American bees. But it's something to watch out for.
Not the most reliable source, however... (external - login to view)
Collapse of Honey Bees in U. S., Canada and 9 European Countries
© 2007 by Linda Moulton Howe
"We’re seeing that some beekeepers have lost fairly high levels
of bees over the winter – one beekeeper as high as 90% loss."

- Brent Halsall, Pres., Ontario Beekeepers Assoc., Canada (external - login to view)
Hey stretch last night on CBC there was a report of the frogs in Panama dying.
Is there anything that kills fire ants?

I f****** hate those things!
Quote: Originally Posted by ToroView Post

Is there anything that kills fire ants?

I f****** hate those things!

a flamethrower works well
yep, same in Australia too, the frogs have been disappearing there too...
What do fire ants do?
L Gilbert
Burn things down. They're kinda like mini-dragons.
F****** feels like mini-dragons when you step onto a mound!
Quote: Originally Posted by StretchView Post

yep, same in Australia too, the frogs have been disappearing there too...

I saw a movie about cane toads in Australia once.
Colony Collapse Disorder was in the news again tonight. It seems that bee keepers in the Niagara area are reporting major die-offs. This could become a big problem for agriculture this year.
Quote: Originally Posted by ToroView Post

I saw a movie about cane toads in Australia once.

Ican't bloody believe you guys here are paying $20ca, for a canetoad.........ARE YOU GUYS NUTS!!!
we kill them by 1000s at night....and still they come.....
I once saw a kid at camp get chased up a tree by a cane toad. It sat there barking like a dog, rubbing its bulging eyes on the trunk. Just about made us all piss our pants. Later a whole pod of them gathered there and howled like coyotes. Never did find out what happened to little Eddie. Our stint was done next morning and we all went home.
Now the bees... any more news on the bees?
a niagra beekeeper said he has significant losses and 9 other countries in europe are experiencing the same
The last article I read said many Canadian beekeepers won't know the extent of any loss for some weeks yet as they won't have opened their hives. Are we all about to be surprised?
That very well could be the case. I suspect all of the stresses we've piled onto the poor little fellas is chronic. Many times after the winter is passed, there are a number of parasites which kill the hibernating bees. The tracheal mite being the worst during the winter. They are developing a breed of bee in the states that is resistant to the most persistant parasites.

Too much stress overall. I wonder how the other pollinators are doing? Wasps, flies, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, etc. I doubt that any of these pollinators could replace the bees role though...
L Gilbert
If honey disappears, I'll be right pissed. Haven't seen my local beekeeper lately; hope things are ok. He's more expensive by a couple bucks on 10 lbs of honey than the stores are, but it's pure, unadulturated, unpolluted, genuine, local honey. He also grows good corn.
I myself plan on keeping bees when I get my own place, someday down the road. Plus some bat boxes. Can honey be certified organic? I'm thinking it's probably yes...
'Although experts are stumped about what's causing the colony-collapse disorder die-off in U.S. commercial beehives, there is some speculation that Arizona's famed Africanized — or "killer bee" — wild-bee population is somehow immune. Dee Lusby's bees are doing fine. Actually, they're doing better than that, says the owner of Lusby Apiaries & Arizona Rangeland Honey of Arivaca.' (external - login to view)
#27,00.html (external - login to view)
"As far back as 2005, Haefeker ended an article he contributed to the journal Der Kritischer Agrarbericht (Critical Agricultural Report) with an Albert Einstein quote: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

Great article, Stretch! I think few are paying attention to this ominous development. Yet, if this continues, we are in serious trouble. I wonder if we'll see economic fallout over the next few months if CCD gains news headlines.
Certainly, looking at the Dow this week, corporate America is partying.
Hey, I'm bumping this one to the top. Compared to most threads here, its topic is undeniably relevant and important.

July 17, 2007

Bees Dying: Is It a Crisis or a Phase?

By ANDREW C. REVKIN (external - login to view)
Over the last year, large die-offs of commercial honeybee colonies, from unknown causes, have raised concern that an agricultural crisis is at hand. Now, however, some experts on insect biology and bee rearing are questioning how unusual the die-offs are, saying commercial beekeeping has long had a pattern of die-offs, and without better monitoring, there is not enough information to know if anything new or calamitous is happening.
If the problem is worse than before, they say, it may be because more bee colonies are being housed and trucked by fewer beekeepers, raising the chances of infestations or infections spreading.
The official word, endorsed by many scientists and people in beekeeping businesses, is that a newly named syndrome, called colony collapse disorder, (external - login to view)or CCD, is at work and poses a significant threat to American fruit, nut and vegetable crops.
An action plan released Friday by the Department of Agriculture used the phrase “CCD crisis” to describe the recent die-offs, even as it said it was “uncertain whether CCD is a new phenomenon” and described similar die-offs as long ago as 1898.
No one in the field doubts that commercial beekeepers in more than 20 states have seen large declines in hive populations in the last year — more than 70 percent in some cases — and that agriculture is facing problems pollinating some crops.
It is also clear that bees in the Americas, both wild native species and honeybees, which were imported long ago and are the commercial standard, have been hard hit in recent decades by mites and infectious agents.
What some scientists say is missing from the debate is historical context. “Every time there are these disappearances, the ills of the moment tend to be held accountable,” said May Berenbaum, who heads the entomology department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and led a National Academy of Sciences (external - login to view) review (external - login to view) of the status of North American bees and other pollinators that was published last year.
“In the ’60s it was synthetic organic insecticides,” Dr. Berenbaum said. “In the ’70s it was Africanized bee genes. In the 19th century, there is a wonderful report about this resulting from a lack of moral fiber. Weak character was why they weren’t returning to the hives.”
One thing almost everyone seems to agree on is the need for consistent, frequent censuses of the country’s bee populations, but money for monitoring has not been increased, bee experts said.
Eric Mussen, a bee expert at the University of California (external - login to view), Davis, said he did not understand the talk of catastrophe, noting that even after colonies are lost, beekeepers can quickly replace them.
Michael Burgett, a professor emeritus of entomology at Oregon State University (external - login to view), said the big honeybee losses in some regions could simply reflect unremarkable spikes above a common level of mortality of more than 20 percent in recent decades.
“In the late 1970s we had another scare similar to this,” Dr. Burgett said. “They called it ‘disappearing disease’ at the time. But we never found a specific cause for it, we continued to improve our bee management programs and ‘disappearing disease’ disappeared.”

Copyright 2007 (external - login to view) The New York Times Company (external - login to view)

Similar Threads

Secret Life Of Bees
by Said1 | Mar 18th, 2007
Pig circle that's top of the crops
by Blackleaf | Jul 22nd, 2006
no new posts