taxlady: (bjørn)
I heard about this a few months ago, but it was on the news tonight. It's really pretty shocking and the implications are scary. Huge numbers of honey bees are dying. It's mostly in North America and it's as much as 75% of the colonies in some places. What will happen to our food crops without honey bees? What the heck is causing it? They have been interviewing the bee keepers whose hives have been affected and it's hard to find things the hives had in common. It seems likely that it is a combination of factors.

Is it some of all the hideous things we have done to the environment? Is it mono-culture of crops, insecticides, GM crops? Is it a pathogen or parasite? They don't usually find the dead bees. But, when they have found some of the bees, they have been laden with diseases and pathogens, which would indicate a weakened immune system. A German study found that if bees were fed pollen from genetically modified "Bt corn" and were infested with a parasite, far more bees died than if they were infested with the parasite, but not fed the GM "Bt corn" pollen. "Of course, the concentration of the toxin was ten times higher in the experiments than in normal Bt corn pollen." They had to discontinue the study because of lack of funding.

Another oddity with CCD is normally, if a hive dies off, other bees, or hive pests will move in and rob the hive of honey and food stores. Other hives aren't doing this and the hive pests only move in after a delay.

Wikipedia article about CCD

I wish the politicians would get off their arses and fund some more research into this. We're not just looking at unemployed honey bee farmers and higher honey prices. Our whole food supply is being threatened.


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