Friday, September 7, 2007

The Secret Death of Bees, or Colony Collapse Disorder

Don't know that you've been paying attention to news reports about the dwindling numbers of honeybees, for a few years now; I've been hearing news of this for a few months.

Seems there's a crisis among American beekeepers and the production of honey. For a few years, there has been noticeably fewer honeybees, as reported by beekeepers and the honey industry. So, you say, what's the big deal? A rise in honey prices? Less food for bears? No more stings? No pollination of crops and eventual world starvation? Well, yes.

After the importation of honeybees into the U.S. about four or five years ago (first importations allowed in 80 years), honeybee colonies suffered extreme losses in population. Rumors and theories abound that the honeybee death crisis might be due to global warming, malnutrition (caused by pesticides and/or drought), and work-related stress. (Yes, bees are, in fact, migrant workers: 'industrial' beehives are shipped back-and-forth across the U.S. following seasons and crops. Even bees must live the American work ethic. ugh.)

The death of honeybees may in fact be related to all above named suspected causes. Now scientists are investigating another lethal suspect: a virus, brought in by Australian 'immigrant' bees.

Perhaps this explains my poor tomato garden this year. :-/

detroit dog's advice: Let's bee-friendly now, or we'll be hungry later. (eep. Thanks for putting up with my so-called sense of humor.)

To read the NY Times article, click on this link.

Or check out the bee story at EurekaAlert! (the paragraph below defines them, and is lifted from their web site):

EurekAlert! is an online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society. EurekAlert! provides a central place through which universities, medical centers, journals, government agencies, corporations and other organizations engaged in research can bring their news to the media. EurekAlert! also offers its news and resources to the public. EurekAlert! features news and resources focused on all areas of science, medicine and technology.

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