bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Friday, November 02, 2007

"There's a lot more veterinarians out there than apiculturalists"

Eric Mussen of University of Califiornia, Davis, gave an excellent overview of CCD last month. Here are a few extracts ...

Mussen identified malnutrition, parasitic mites, infectious microbes and insecticide contamination as among the possible culprits. It’s a complex issue, he said, but one thing is certain: “It seems unlikely that we will find a specific, new and different reason for why bees are dying.”

Mussen linked malnutrition as a key factor in CCD. Honey bee nutrition is "weather dependent," he said. "The best-fed bees are the healthiest, while malnourished bees are less resistant."


Malnutrition and climate-linked issues include:

Did local weather events affect pollen-producing plants negatively?
Was there a lack of bloom (nectar and pollen) due to lack of rain or too much heat?
Was there reduced access to flowers due to excess rain?
Did cold nights interfere with meiosis (cell division) that led to "sterile" or "non-viable" pollens?
Do these types of pollen contain the usual proteins, vitamins, minerals and lipids required by the bees?


USDA scientists found the Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), in nearly all of the CCD colonies they tested, but none in the control group. In addition, they found the Kashmir bee virus in all the CCD colonies tested.

Also found in all the CCD colonies tested were the infectious microbes Nosema ceranae and Nosema apis. N. ceranae, a relatively new fungal disease of American honey bees, was imported from the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana. N. apis, its American counterpart, has been around for at least a century.


Among the more "quirky" explanations for CCD: cell phone usage, alien encounters, honey bee "rapture" (where hive populations “ascend to that big honeycomb in the sky en masse”); and chemtrails, aircraft-released vapors. "Some thought chemtrails was a military-industrial complex plan to kill all children and old people—and got the bees and birds by mistake," Mussen said.


During the question and answer period, commercial beekeeper Rich Schubert of the Vacaville-Winters area said that if 5600 dead cows were found in a pasture, instead of 5600 dead bees, people would start paying attention.

Mussen agreed. "There’s a lot more veterinarians out there than apiculturists," Mussen said.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home