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Bees Disappearing Across U.S.

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Bees Disappearing Across U.S.

Postby JTWood » Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:16 pm

Considering their role in the food chain, I have a feeling this story is more serious than the dearth of stories would lead us to believe. In some cases, whole hives are disappearing in days.

CBS News wrote:(CBS) In spite of all the advances in agriculture, honeybees remain indispensable. By moving pollen from flower to flower, bees are the only efficient way for many crops to pollinate, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports.

As growing season begins in California's Central Valley, there is nothing quite as busy as a beekeeper. Farmers pay them to put their hives in their fields and orchards.

"It means the difference between profit and loss for them," says beekeeper Lance Sundberg.

But beekeepers like Sundberg have a mystery in their hives this year. Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate.

"Colonies are going down. The bees aren't dead in the box or aren't out front," says Jerry Bromenshenk, a bee researcher at the University of Montana. "They've just disappeared. Just vanished."

Bromenshenk is leading a team of bee researchers looking for a cause. He's even listening to hives for signs of distress. Beekeepers in 22 states have reported bees dying in huge numbers.

Jeff Pettis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture says parasites and disease have killed bees in the past, but never anything like this.

"We went through multiple hives and we couldn't find anything that I would even call a beehive, so it was depressing," Pettis says.

Part of the mystery is that colonies can go from active and healthy to dead and gone within days. For beekeepers, that's a loss that stings.

They "just disappeared," says beekeeper Louise Rossberg. "There's nothing there. There's no bees on the ground anywhere. There's just a completely empty hive."

In just a few weeks, Rossberg has seen hundreds of her hives go empty. "I don't know what to do," she says. "And I'm not alone."

For now, plenty of beekeepers are stacking up silent and empty hives. But scientists are working hard to find the cause and a cure for what's ailing the bees. After all bees do for us, it's the least we can do for them.

Here's a more in-depth article from the National Resource Defense Council.
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Postby JTWood » Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:40 pm

These paragraphs give an indication about why it's so hard to tell what's killing them:

In the summer of 1998, Anderson's hives were stationed on farmland next to hybrid poplar groves managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the International Paper Company. Both sprayed the trees with Sevin to control infestations of the cottonwood leaf beetle, which damages poplars. Soon after, Anderson's bees began to die. He videotaped sick ones as they lay twitching, just outside their hive boxes, in the throes of nerve poisoning from the insecticide. The poisonings would continue long after a Sevin application, he says, because worker bees carried contaminated pollen back to the hive, where it affected the colony for months. More than 50 percent of his bees died.

"I can't comment on the specifics of Anderson's case," says Pettis, "but I do know that Sevin and honeybees do not mix. What he purports could certainly happen. If the bees are storing Sevin in the pollen, when they get to California and feed on it over the winter, it's going to be as toxic as it was when they first picked it up."
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Postby thedude » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:08 pm

Ten years ago killer bees were going to be the end of the American Way of Life, now bees are disappearing...isn't life funny?
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Postby RugbyD » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:23 pm

only a few years ago there was a plague or something among the bee population. what a great summer that was.
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Postby cordscords » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:40 pm

Good. I hate bees.
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Postby JTWood » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:56 pm

cordscords wrote:Good. I hate food.

Me too! :-[
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Postby BGbootha » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:25 pm

JTWood wrote:
cordscords wrote:Good. I hate food.

Me too! :-[


yeah people tend to ignore all the good things that bees do for us, pollinate an abundance of other plants along with honey. One sting when they were 5 years old, and now down with bees
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Postby LukeW9027 » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:46 pm

BGbootha wrote:
JTWood wrote:
cordscords wrote:Good. I hate food.

Me too! :-[


yeah people tend to ignore all the good things that bees do for us, pollinate an abundance of other plants along with honey. One sting when they were 5 years old, and now down with bees

I like honey, but hate bees...

I could sacrifice honey for getting rid of those pests! ;-D ;-)
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Postby teddy ballgame » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:50 pm

LukeW9027 wrote:
BGbootha wrote:
JTWood wrote:
cordscords wrote:Good. I hate food.

Me too! :-[


yeah people tend to ignore all the good things that bees do for us, pollinate an abundance of other plants along with honey. One sting when they were 5 years old, and now down with bees

I like honey, but hate bees...

I could sacrifice honey for getting rid of those pests! ;-D ;-)

;-D
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Postby Old_Style » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:02 pm

Sounds like an act of terrorism to me....
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