Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The honey bee demise?

You've likely heard about how the U.S. honey bee population is plunging.  Reports say bees are dying at the rate of a billion a year.  It's estimated that 10 million bee hives have been lost in the last six years alone, and the problem isn't getting better either.

Aside from honey bees being the producers of honey, honey bees also are responsible for pollinating many U.S. food crops such as soybean, apple, peach, brocolli, squash, zuchini and all citrus fruits. Their role is crucial!

Sadly, a condition called CCD (colony collapse disorder) is causing the vast majority of bee deaths, but  researchers have yet to determine CCD's cause. 

A new Department of Agriculture report noted that the absolute cause of CCD wasn't found, but that they eliminated that there was one single cause.  Instead, they determined that several factors such as drought conditions, poor nutrition and parasites were just a few of the causes. 

Others have suggested that crop dusting, pesticide dusted seeds or simply the over-use of pesticides by the general population are causes of the honey bee demise.

When a friend in the horticulture industry told me a few years ago about how the honey bee population was being depleted, he pointed out that if I looked around, I'd notice that there are far less honey bees around. 

I did notice and have been more aware of honey bee sightings which is why as I was walking through my neighborhood last night, I was totally taken aback as I rounded the corner and heard a loud "buzzzzzzzzzzz."  There, buzzing around my neighbor's two trees in their front yard, had to be hundreds of bees, primarily honey bees.  I haven't seen that many honey bees in years.

Searching online I couldn't figure out exactly what type of trees these were, but every summer they bloom with white, odd-looking flowers.  The trees also always have a very pungent sweet smell.  It's quite strong.  Although, the strong aroma may be coming from the sheer size of these two trees with their thousands of flowers.  The trees easily must be at least 25 feet tall.

I stood there in awe for quite awhile taking photos of the bees, watching them traverse from flower to flower as I wondered if all of these bees would be in bee heaven next year?

I certainly hope that researchers can solve the mystery of what is killing honey bees because not only are they instrumental in pollinating our nation's food supply, they truly are one of the small wonders of the world.

I'm planning to stop by the local university's garden this afternoon to see if the director can identify this tree, but if you recognize it, please leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Julia

    Unfortunately I am not familiar with your tree, however for it to have so many bees it must have a very high sugar content within the nectar The design of the leaf and flower is similar to Ivy.

    May I take this opportunity to clear up some miss-informed flawed data that has reached the media and mainstream public which is causing gloom and doom everywhere in the western world about neo-nicotinoids.

    Somebody needs someone to blame as long as it is not themselves!

    Beekeepers, Chemical Companies, Honeybee Science who is too blame?

    I have known the answer to the above and the cause of CCD for many years however as an individual it is difficult to be heard.

    Below is a summary, re neo-nic`s, which is part of my next book that I can send a draft copy manuscript to anyone with a interest in the truth about the honeybee demise. My email address is below.

    Look at the facts re honeybees versus pesticides(neo-nicotinoids);

    Bumblebees were used in the experiment NOT honeybees .

    France banned neo-nicotinoids in 2008 and yet the honeybee decline continues.

    Laboratory tests overdosed the bumblebees with pesticides, however an opinion was formulated so an assumption was made to what is happening in the wild to ALL bees.

    When field tests were done it was found to be inconclusive.

    Pollen tested from beehives near to neo-nic`s, only a millionth of a millionth was found on a pollen grain, this is not enough to give any honeybee an upset stomach rather than kill 80,000 honeybees in each of my colonies

    If it was neo-nic`s it would be local, within 2 miles, to that area where it is grown, not widespread across continents.

    My colonies are by and where pestisides are used and yet my honeybee colonies are NOT dying.

    The paracitic varroa mite is the key reason for the honeybee demise.

    There is one other phenomena, (EMF), that kills or saves honeybees but allow the honeybee to control varroa mites.

    I have that answer. It has taken over 20 years of my 33 years beekeeping career to find.

    John Harding