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Thread: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

  1. #1

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    Default Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/bees/index.html

    I just watched this on tv and had no clue how important bees are to our world. Without them we have no fruits and vegetables (yes I was naive). Bees are dying off at an alarming rate all over the world and they can't pin point any one reason. Could be pesticides, viruses, malnutrition (from commercialization), etc. Said at the rate they are dying off the honey bees population will be gone by 2035.

    Sad story and I will never look at honey bees the same again. Now we should all plant wild flowers (without pesticides) to protect bees.

  2. #2
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wow story on honey bees (link included)

    It's a truly scary phenomenon. Maybe people will listen now when Haagen-Dazs as a result of the so called Colony Collapse Disorder consider stopping/reducing use of strawberries, almonds and cherries in their products since one short term results of the problem is increased prices on (certain) food products.

    According to this article - Disappearance of honey bees could hike food prices - beekeepers reported losing 30 per cent to 90 per cent of their hives in 2006:


    Disappearance of honey bees could hike food prices
    Updated Fri. Jun. 27 2008 7:53 AM ET

    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON -- Food prices could rise even more unless the mysterious decline in honey bees is solved, farmers and businessmen told U.S. lawmakers Thursday.
    "No bees, no crops," North Carolina grower Robert Edwards told a House Agriculture subcommittee. Edwards said he had to cut his cucumber acreage in half because of the lack of bees available to rent.
    About three-quarters of flowering plants rely on birds, bees and other pollinators to help them reproduce. Bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion annually in crop value in the U.S.
    In 2006, beekeepers began reporting losing 30 per cent to 90 per cent of their hives.

    This phenomenon has become known as Colony Collapse Disorder.

    Scientists don't know how many bees have died; beekeepers have lost 36 per cent of their managed colonies this year.

    It was 31 per cent for 2007, said Edward Knipling, administrator of the Agriculture Department's Agricultural Research Service.

    "If there are no bees, there is no way for our nation's farmers to continue to grow the high quality, nutritious foods our country relies on," said Democratic Representative Dennis Cardoza of California.

    Cardoza, chairman of the horticulture and organic agriculture panel, said "this is a crisis we cannot afford to ignore."

    Food prices have gone up 83 per cent in three years, according to the World Bank.

    Edward Flanagan, who raises blueberries in Milbridge, Maine, said he could be forced to increase prices tenfold or go out of business without the beekeeping industry.

    "Every one of those berries owes its existence to the crazy, neurotic dancing of a honey bee from flower to flower," he said.

  3. #3
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wow story on honey bees (link included)

    Another link (and excerpt):
    Pesticides still focus in worsening US bee crisis

    Pesticides still focus in worsening US bee crisis
    26 June 2008 20:55 [Source: ICIS news]

    WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--Unexplained and widespread losses among US bee colonies are increasing and pesticides and other agrochemicals remain a top suspect, US government agricultural specialists told Congress on Thursday.

    Edward Knipling, administrator of the US Agricultural Research Service (ARS), told a House subcommittee that so far this year the sudden decline of pollinating bee colonies is running at 36%, an increase from 2007 when 30% of managed bee colonies disappeared for no apparent reason.

    The apparent epidemic - known as colony collapse disorder (CCD) - is characterized by a sudden disappearance of a colony’s bees and the absence of any dead bees. For some unknown reason, a colony’s bees will fly off and never return.

    Research into the mounting problem has been hampered by the fact that few if any of the bees afflicted by the mysterious disorder can be found and examined.

    “Typically, all but a few bees disappear from a given colony’s population for no apparent reason,” Knipling told the House Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture.

    Continuing yearly losses of more than 30% of some 2.4m managed bee colonies nationwide poses a serious risk to about $15bn (€9.6bn) worth of annual US agricultural crops that depend chiefly on bees for pollination.

    ARS officials noted that about one-third of the US diet - including most fruits, vegetables and vine crops - depend on bee pollination. Major food staple crops, such as corn, wheat and rice, are wind pollinated and have not been affected by honeybee colony collapse disorder.

  4. #4
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    i think i read somewhere, maybe the vegan mag that if the bees were to die out, humans would be gone within 4 yrs.

  5. #5
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    i never realised how incredibly important this issue is!

    so would it be excusable for people to breed bees now then?

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Quote cobweb View Post
    i never realised how incredibly important this issue is!

    so would it be excusable for people to breed bees now then?
    On that site they give things that we can do to protect bees. One was to plant a flower garden specifically for bees. Another was yes to take up bee keeping as a hobby.

  7. #7
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    but i was thinking would this be seen as 'acceptable vegan behaviour' if you see what i mean?

  8. #8
    *Supermack*
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Thanks for the link - interesting.

  9. #9
    I eve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    I used to keep bees in my vegetarian days, and once when I went to check out the hive and boxes, I saw heaps of dead bees around. Seems that the tree blossoms they used had been sprayed for the first time. Moreover, and this is where the vegan question arises, I had already taken their honey so the only alternative was to feed them white sugar and water (raw sugar was too complex for their systems). After this incident I gave up beekeeping.

    As for this thread, I've not seen the program or articles referred to, but find it difficult to believe that if bees were to die out, humans would be gone within 4 yrs, as cedarblue read somewhere. There are plenty of bees living in trees, not in hives, and they plus the butterflies do their work without the bee breeding industry.
    Eve

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    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    i definitely read it;l i'll try and locate the source.

  11. #11
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    It seems that it was Albert Einstein who was the first to give the human race only four years if all bees were to disappear:

    Did Albert Einstein Ever Link Doom of Human Race to Bees?

    No Bees? Not Just Strange, But Scary


    HONEY BEE DISAPPEARANCE NO LAUGHING MATTER


    There are many theories about the disappearing bees, including one about of radiation from cell phone signals disturbing the bees' natural navigation system, but AFAIK, all these theories are only theories so far (including Einsteins theory, I guess). The problem with the disappearing, dead bees is that nobody knows where they are, so they cannot be analyzed.

    Theories or not, it seems to be a problem of dramatic proportions, and it has been seen in many countries.

  12. #12
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    For the record, some people think the Einstein quote is made up http://www.snopes.com/quotes/einstein/bees.asp . However I don't think there's much doubt that we'd be in the soup without bees.

    I seem to remember reading a letter in a newspaper from a beekeeper who was inclined to blame industrial beekeeping practices for the problems - in particular, sending queens from one region to another (which could spread diseases), and also substituting sugar water for the collected honey (which might leave the bees undernourished). It was just a theory, but those practices don't seem likely to help.

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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Maybe Doctor Who is fact after all - there's a running "missing bee" storyline.

  14. #14
    moggy
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Does anyone know (,roughly), the number of commercial bees compared to the number of non commercial bees. A friend of mine who has just started keeping bees, says that the number of 'natural' bees in an area is small compared to the tens of thousands in a hive. She reckons just planting bee friendly plants is good, but its only people keeping hives thats going to keep bee numbers up.

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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Hmmm I just started a thread on pollination...

    cobweb
    but i was thinking would this be seen as 'acceptable vegan behaviour' if you see what i mean?
    My point exactly???!!!

  16. #16
    muxu bero bat! gogs67's Avatar
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    Default Help save the Bees

    This may not be (!) to everyones taste but if it's an issue to you then sign and support!!!


    Honey bees in Britain - mainly in rural areas- are
    dying out. The jury is out on exactly why but the Soil Association is
    convinced that the use of neonicontinoid pesticides is a major factor
    this seems to be backed up by the fact city bees - unemcumbered bypesticides - are, in contrast, thriving. You may not have a soft spotfor bees but when pollination rates drop this has a knock-on effect tothe world's food supply and could lead to disastrous shortages.So please sign the petition and forward to as many people as you can.

    http://www.soilassociation.org/Takeaction/Savethehoneybee/tabid/434/Defa
    Last edited by Korn; Jun 26th, 2010 at 03:30 PM. Reason: This was the first post in a similar thread
    Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty!

  17. #17
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    Thanks, I signed. You'd think the govt would err on the side of caution since lack of bees is potentially such a problem even from a non-vegan perspective.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    We don't appear to have a problem with bees where we are, the west of Ireland, there seems to be plenty about but that's just an unscientific observation.

    Having said that, we have talked about getting a hive as a precaution, not for the honey, which the bees need of course, but simply to try to increase the number of bees around.

    Would that be non-vegan? Or would it be akin to putting up bird boxes? Is that vegan?

    It's always struck me as strange how bee-keepers steal the bees' honey and then have to replace it with some kind of syrup to feed them. Very odd practice altogether and a possible contributor to the lowering of bees' disease resistance.

    Our plan is to let the bees keep what they produce but help with the pollination of our fruit trees. What do other posters think?
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

  19. #19
    muxu bero bat! gogs67's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    ^ Keeping a bee hive like you mentioned should be encouraged i would say, the more the merrier!
    The bees have somewhere safe to stay, your plants are polinated, everyones happy!
    Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty!

  20. #20
    DavidT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    Thanks for the thumbs up, gogs67!

    I think my main problem is this: surely a natural level of bee activity occurs in an unpolluted environment? As always, the prey determines the predator. What we would be doing is increasing the number of bees, thus possibly unbalancing things.

    Having said that, we've planted a lot more fruit trees and there are more to come, along with all the veg. we're growing - so we're unbalancing the local environment!
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

  21. #21
    muxu bero bat! gogs67's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    ^ There is no such thing as a 'balanced enviroment' , especially where man is involved.
    Even in nature there is ebb and flow of species, nothing stays the same over time.
    As i'm sure you know, If there are too many bees in an area one year then some will die off through lack of food, that is how it works, i wouldn't worry about upsetting nature by what you are planning. Helping nature along is how i would describe it!
    Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty!

  22. #22
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    Do you have to put the bees in the hive or can you just put the hive out and wait for the bees to arrive? - a bee-gnoramus asks.

  23. #23
    DavidT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    harpy, I'm a learner in these matters!

    We provide habitats for individual wild species but this is a bit more serious which is why we'll probably spend the next six months putting it off!
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

  24. #24
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    I had a quick google and it seems swarms often turn up and attach themselves to trees etc, in which case they are presumably homeless bees that will appreciate your offer of a hive.

    ETA here's one of the things I read:

    http://www.britishbee.org.uk/files/b...-in-garden.PDF

  25. #25
    muxu bero bat! gogs67's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    Quote harpy View Post
    Do you have to put the bees in the hive or can you just put the hive out and wait for the bees to arrive? - a bee-gnoramus asks.
    If you want to do it naturally just a few drops of essential oil of anise. Bees can pick up this scent from half a mile or more distance.

    In a Mason jar, to a bit more than half a quart of hot water, add 1/8 tsp of lecithin. Add seven drops of oil of lemongrass, seven drops of oil of spearmint and fill with sugar (I used two cups). Shake until all the sugar is dissolved. The lecithin emulsifies the oils, so they spread evenly.
    Spray over whatever, the bees will come. Or pour a couple quarts into a shallow pan, then add some sticks or bricks so they don't drown trying to drink it. That stuff is bee medicine, it's good for them, the oils apparently kill some of the viruses that are responsible for the vanishing colonies.
    And they did indeed come-- in DROVES. The Honey Bees really love Lemongrass Oil. My friend uses it to attract bees out of houses, and into hives. Even the Queen will leave the problem dwelling to go to the Lemongrass Oil.
    One thing to remember is that almost all wild honey bees in the UK have died off in the last few years.
    You may have to go and see a beekeeper who will get you a queen and some workers to establish a hive.
    How vegan you feel that is is up to you, personally i think the pros far out weigh the cons in this one.
    it's getting to the stage of actually having to save the species.
    Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty!

  26. #26
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help save the Bees

    Bee decline could be down to chemical cocktail interfering with brains


    A little excerpt:
    According to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, three of the 25 British species of bumblebees are already extinct and half of the remainder have shown serious declines, often up to 70%, since around the 1970s. In addition, around 75% of all butterfly species in the UK have been shown to be in decline. The new 10m Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI), the largest programme to date of its kind, will look at the multiple reasons thought to be behind this devastation in insect population.

    Chris Connolly of Dundee University's Centre for Neuroscience has been awarded 1.5m to lead the work on whether pesticides are having an affect on the brains of bees. Pesticides could be blocking the electrical and chemical signals between neurons, he said, and only subtle changes may be required to produce serious brain disorders. These problems might stop bees identifying the best sources of nectar, or it might affect their ability to navigate to nearby food source and back home again.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  27. #27
    Keane
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Lavender plants attract bees; unfortunately in late summer they also attract wasps.

  28. #28
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    I like seeing wasps as well as bees in the garden - they don't normally do any harm unless they get trapped or something, and they do get rid of some garden "pests" if you're interested in that sort of thing.

    Thanks for reminding me that I ought to plant some lavender - mine died.

  29. #29
    DavidT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Quote Keane View Post
    Lavender plants attract bees; unfortunately in late summer they also attract wasps.
    Wasps are allowed to live too Keane!

    I've only once been stung by a wasp, when it got in my clothing. Otherwise, it's easiest just to ignore them. I don't worry about them at all now, though we have lots.

    We also have several different species of bee visiting our garden, each distinct; I counted five. Recently two types of very rare bee have been found near here, in an area called The Burren.
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

  30. #30
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Oh, are you near the Burren DavidT? That sounds fascinating, some friends of mine went there on holiday.

    As well as quite an assortment of bees (mostly solitary) we have had large numbers of hoverflies, apparently lots of different varieties, in the garden this year - anyone else noticed that? They seem quite interested in my tomato flowers, of which I have many, so perhaps that's why they're here.

  31. #31
    DavidT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    The Burren is a lovely area and almost always deserted when we go for a hike there. Alpine plants, would you believe, and lots of wild goats!
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

  32. #32

    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    As long as you don't take the honey I have no problem with people having hives.

  33. #33
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    In our garden, we have a spot that's completely over-grown with raspberry and blackberry-bushes and during the summer I can always hear the buzzing from the bees, enjoying the berries! I love that sound! It's so... I don't know... calming?

    I'm not sure if keeping those bushes help the bees, but it would be a nice thing if it did! I can't imagine this world surviving without the bees... I've tried going through the whole 'eco-system' speech with my parents and friends, but they just won't get it
    Why kill when you have the choice to avoid it?

  35. #35
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  36. #36
    Aurore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Yes, finally ! It was a product directly implanted in the crops, studies say it's responsible for half of the deaths.

  37. #37

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    Default Re: Bees are dying off at an alarming rate

    Research has now started to show that declining bee population may be due to a lack of honey in their diet, here's an extract:
    "In this new effort, the researchers have found evidence to suggest the real culprit might be high-fructose corn syrup, which beekeepers have been feeding bees as their natural staple, honey, has been taken away from them.Commercial honeybee enterprises began feeding bees high-fructose corn syrup back in the 70's after research was conducted that indicated that doing so was safe. Since that time, new pesticides have been developed and put into use and over time it appears the bees' immunity response to such compounds may have become compromised."


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