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Diane
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About bees

stella1751 wrote:Diane wrote
Even the bees have been hiding from the cold.
I know this is off topic, but check out this news article on AOL that I just read this morning:

[url]https://news.aol.com/article/film-blames-drug-company-for-honey-bees/695515?icid=main|htmlws-main|dl1|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fnews.aol.com%2Farticle%2Ffilm-blames-drug-company-for-honey-bees%2F695515[/url]

I've been worrying about colony collapse disorder for a long time; many of my students have written papers on it at my urging. I think this is interesting. Sorry for disrupting the thread with this tangent, though :oops:

I decided to make a new thread for this topic.
Strange that DDT was banned, but it seems these safer, newer chemicals are worse.
I watched a PBS show about beekeepers. When their bees died they bought new ones and dumped them right into the same bins that the old ones died in.
They did not show any cleaning at all. We wouldn't put people into beds that someone died in from a contagious disease.
Why are all of the bees kept by beekeepers?
There must be a way to atract them into more natural habitats.

In a search I saw a wooden teardrop shaped home for Bumble bees. I plan to buy one or two for next year.
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stella1751
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Thanks, Diane! I'm glad someone was as interested in that news article as I was :D
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rainbowgardener
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I'm definitely interested in bees and what happens to them... much of the plant life of the world depends on them. I have a friend who is a gardener and bee keeper. She keeps her hives very clean and grows tons of flowers and herbs for them organically, and so far they are doing well.

I suspect that the answer to colony collapse disorder is not any one thing, but the combination of exposing our bees to so many different herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, imported pests and diseases. I also think it is a microcosm of what we are doing to ourselves and bees may be the canaries in our mines....

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I thought the collapse was mostly cause by a disease that was brought over from Africa or Australia a number of years ago. But either way the pesticides and herbicides and other chemicals can't be help any. But this year I notice a HUGE amount of bees in my garden and yard. It might have something to do with I'm becoming better at gardening and getting into it more and planting more, or maybe because I've used no chemicals for a few years and they are liking that, or maybe because I had 5 basil plants that took off and grew like wild fires while I was gone on vacation and they bloomed like I couldn't believe. I believe I saw 4 different types of bees on the basil alone! I'm actually planning on planting more basil around the yard next year just for the smell and the flowers.

I have no idea where these bees are living but they sure did come around this summer. I hope to see them next year too!

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smokensqueal wrote: I have no idea where these bees are living but they sure did come around this summer. I hope to see them next year too!
I know where they are living at my bosses house, about amile from me. His hummingbird feeder get's literally swarmed with them.

But if I remember correctly Australia is not having a bee problem so I don't think it came from there. It's really hard to say why they are gong down, everyone is blaming everyone else. So the blamers are to blame more than likely. :x

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I know one of the problems was a type of mite brought over from asia around china, but that's only been found in a small number of cases, just like every other reason. Pollution has lowered the strenght of smell coming from flowers, and has weakened bees, so any number of minor events can cause major problems with bees, thus numerous colapse problems. Either way, something as simple as something killing the queen will cause a colony to collapse.
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Diane
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You're welcome Stella.This is such an important subject.

What I meant by cleaning was, to dump new healthy bees in where the other bees had died. They could easily catch the same illness or mite.

Pollution has been worse. Chemicals have been around a long time. The collapse is more recent.
China has areas with no bees and the people hand pollinate the fruit trees.
That was on a PBS show also.
So....looks like China, that ships so many things here, might have sent the thing that killed their bees. Not on purpose.
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stella1751
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One of my dogs hates bees. I think he must have been stung at some time. (He's not very forgiving, and he doesn't forget.) If a bee or wasp flies anywhere near him, he goes after it. He bites softly and tosses, bites softly and tosses. He's a bulldog mix, and they have a high tolerance for pain. One day, I think he suffered a reaction to being stung on the tongue. Most of the time, though, he just holds his mouth wide for about 30 minutes after the incident.

I yell at him, but he can't help himself. I wish I could teach him to hate green caterpillars :) At least he knows enough not to go directly in the garden bed.

The following quote is attributed to Albert Einstein. (Most experts believe he did not say it, but the attribution is nevertheless made.):
If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.
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Diane
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My Doberman goes after the bees also. Any flying bug that he sees actually. I yell at him and he just looks at me, like, what?
He used to eat them, but like yours might have been stung and now grabs and drops. Often the bee flies away.

I've seen that quote before. I'm not sure I believe it. So many things don't need bees to grow and man could, as they do in China, hand pollinate many things.
It would make food more scarce though and that alone could cause worldwide problems.
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"All the data we have seen so far is inconclusive,"
Quote from the article sums it up. This leads me to believe there is a lot of factors involved. The Insecticides, mites and Nosema certainly are prime suspects.

I am a hobby beekeeper and started keeping bees about 1978. Things always go up and down in beekeeping. A lot of factors can affect the bees or the nectar supply. This year was one of the best years I have had. I have a small operation. This year I had 9 colonies.
Why are all of the bees kept by beekeepers?
The wild honey bees have pretty much died off because of the disappearing bee syndrome and varoah mites. Since beekeepers have procedures to fight those things we can still keep bees with proper management. There are many species of wild bees, but none build to the size of colony as the honey bee.
They did not show any cleaning at all. We wouldn't put people into beds that someone died in from a contagious disease.
The bees do their own house cleaning. There is only one disease I know of that the bees cannot clean up after. That is American Foulbrood. If your colony gets that one you have to kill the bees and burn the hive. As a matter of interest, that disease has not been too prevalent since the wild bees died off. Beekeepers won't and can't tolerate it so the wild colonies were the source of infection.

Honey bees will fly up to a mile easily in their search for water, nectar and polllen. There is no way you can control their movements. They will stick their noses into everything that looks even remotely inviting. This is also why they are so susceptible to insecticides, no matter where they are applied.

Systemic insecticides are the most hideous things ever invented in my book. The chemical actually enters the plants system and goes to all parts of the plant including the flowers and nectar. These types of insecticides are being used lots these days.

Shame on anyone that would put insecticide on a crop in bloom or a corn field when dropping pollen. Boy, have I seen these types of operations kill bees.

Hope this helps.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Diane
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jal_ut wrote:
I am a hobby beekeeper and started keeping bees about 1978.

Systemic insecticides are the most hideous things ever invented in my book. The chemical actually enters the plants system and goes to all parts of the plant including the flowers and nectar. These types of insecticides are being used lots these days.

Shame on anyone that would put insecticide on a crop in bloom or a corn field when dropping pollen. Boy, have I seen these types of operations kill bees.

Hope this helps.
Then you have first hand knowledge of what is killing them!
Have you reported this?

It's a short leap to think this could also kill or damage people.

About the cleaning. If all of the bees in one hive die, then new healthy bees are put into it, won't they also get sick?
The dead bees died before they could clean.
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jal_ut
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Then you have first hand knowledge of what is killing them!
Have you reported this?
Beekeepers all know these things I have mentioned. Careless farmers and or home ownwers could stand some educcation.


It's a short leap to think this could also kill or damage people.
If you would care to look up the MSDS on the chemicals involved you can see what the effects might be to humans. All of these products have warnings on the labels. Google is your friend.

About the cleaning. If all of the bees in one hive die, then new healthy bees are put into it, won't they also get sick?
There are many reasons bee colonies may die. Nosema disease affects the adult bees and weakens the hive. Mites also weaken the hive. Foul brood attacks the brood and weakens the hive. When the hive is weak, it cannot sustain the colony and protect against robbers. In the end, they probably starve to death for lack of foragers and gaurd bees. If they go into winter in a weakened condition, they won't make it to spring.

When you prepare to hive a new package of bees in a used hive, the beekeeper would first inspect the frames to look for signs of disease, and brush off any dead bees, and clean the bottom board. No attempt is made to disinfect the frames. I don't know of any technique that allows this. Just because of the nature of the frames it is not realistic to think it can be done. If American Foulbrood is suspected, the frames are burned and the boxes are scorched out with fire. New frames can then be put in the hive.

I find it hard to believe that minimum amount of preparation was not done in the article you mention.

Aside from what little cleanup the beekeeper does, rest assured that the first order of business when a new batch of bees is introduced to a hive is to clean up. They will go over every exposed surface of the interior of the hive and every cell in every comb and polish it up. The queen will not start laying eggs until she has clean cells to lay in. The beekeeper has the option here to medicate the bees against bacterial diseases and Nosema. There are also treatments for mites.

It may seem amazing to you that the bees can clean up the old frames and do well, but such is the case. Like I said before, American Foulbrood is the only reason I would destroy the frames. The bees cannot clean that one up.
Last edited by jal_ut on Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Diane
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jal_ut wrote:
Then you have first hand knowledge of what is killing them!
Have you reported this?
Beekeepers all know these things I have mentioned. Careless farmers and or home ownwers could stand some educcation.
It's a short leap to think this could also kill or damage people.
If you would care to look up the MSDS on the chemicals involved you can see what the effects might be to humans. All of these products have warnings on the labels. Google is your friend.

quote]

I could look it up. That won't change the overall picture.
I also don't know the names of the chemicals involved.
Are we buying this food that may have this chemical in it? If it is systemic, it will be in the food.

People complained about growth hormones in their milk and now you can buy milk free of this hormone.

Knowledge is power. :)
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I could look it up. That won't change the overall picture.
It would take lots of people learning the facts and the possible consequences, and a change of attitude of the general public toget any changes done.

I live in an area where agricultural spraying is at a minimum. No crops intended for human consumption are grown here. (except for home gardens and orchards) All the agriculture is geared towards animal feed. Farmers still spray weeds in grain crops, and some will spray alfalfa for weevil. That is the operation that often plagues my bees. Orchardists sometimes spray with blossoms still on the trees or dandelions in bloom under the trees. If there is any bloom on the crop when they spray I can count on dead bees.

Home owners often spray for weeds and bugs on their lawns at the same time. If there is dandelions in bloom at the time ...... Dead bees. I have had some words with applicators. :)

I don't know what chemicals are being used either. Like I said though some research could turn up a lot of suspects. I think the next time I go to the Co-Op I will ask what chemicals the farmers are buying.

When my bees get into an area where blossoms have been sprayed with insecticide, they usually make it home and die at the hive. The living bees will toss out any dead bees, and I have many times seen two or three quarts of dead bees lying in front of several, if not all of my hives.
This is not the disappearing bee syndrome. This is insecticide damage.

As far as the safety of the food we eat, we must consider where it came from and what the farming pracitces are there. Unless the product is labeled "Organically Grown" , you can bet some insecticide has been used in its culture to keep the bugs off. Will there be a residue on the product? It seems likely. How dangerous is this? I don't know.

Google is your friend.

For me, and most likely for all of you who garden, one of the reasons to garden is to have a supply of vegetables that we can know and control what goes on them and steer clear of chemicals. We often buy iceburg lettuce when no letttuce is in the garden. If you peel off the outer leaves, I feel you get rid of a residue of any sprays, unless the spray was systemic. I think that systemic sprays are not approved for food crops.

I think that insecticide residue on our food is NOT as big a problem as contamination with certain bacteria. (Salmonela)

In any case we are certainly blessed with an abundance and a good variety of produce in our markets.

This is good dialog, it gets us thinking about the problems.
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Diane
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jal_ut
This is good dialog, it gets us thinking about the problems.


I agree. If you are able to find out what chemicals are being used that are killing your bees, I think that's valuable information.

We keep hearing that no one knows what's killing the bees. You will know what is killing some of yours.

The wild bees went off to die with no one to notice.
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I've been following this thread with interest. I've also sent the link to a bee keeping friend.

What jal_ut said about pesticides -- it confirms my own conviction not to use chemicals in my own garden. My entire back yard is planted to be a butterfly garden, and the lawn there is full of dandelions, clover, and ground ivy :wink:. Bees love them.

Yesterday, I was picking pole beans -- as I was pushing the leaves aside looking for beans, bumblebees were weaving in and out around me looking for flowers. I have a new favorite native wild flower called Eupatorium havanense (white ageratum-like flowers with intensely sweet fragrance). The honeybees are all over these late season blossoms.

I leave overgrown bolted vegetables and herbs way past their time because I can't bear to take them away from the bees. :roll:

Then, there's my giant patch of red shiso (perilla). This was a tricky situation because last year, I let them go too long and the seeds shattered (hence the giant patch). This year, I waited until the flowers were over but the seeds weren't fully ripe to harvest/clean up.

I feel good knowing visiting bees can safely collect nectar and pollen in my garden. :flower:

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Diane
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Mine too. My plan was to have something blooming from early spring until fall. And I do.
For the last week or so I've gone out later than usual and noticed few bees. I was a little worried because I had just cleaned/raked most of my yard and read that they may make their home in the ground.

While thinking I may have disturbed their home, a bumble bee came 10 inches from my face, dancing back and forth so that I couldn't ignore it, then went up to a roof next door and went inside a groove. :)
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rainbowgardener
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I got stung by a bee Monday while gathering herbs; my hand is still swollen. Mostly it makes me feel bad for the bee-- while I never saw the bee, I believe it was a honeybee, because it left a stinger in me, and because right after that I saw another one on the same basil I had been picking. That means I killed a honeybee :cry: . So good news/ bad news. I have honeybees around my herb garden and I killed one of them...

Definitely agree with applestar re no chemicals in a garden that is designed to be a haven for wildlife of all varieties. I have one garden (two really, it's two sort of 20x3' strips on either side of a path) that is all hummingbird, butterfly, songbird plants as well as the herb garden and other stuff that the bees love. Definitely don't want anything around that is bad for them. And like Diane and others, I have worked to be sure that there is something blooming from early spring at least til frost. I recently brought in a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers for the table.

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overdoing it a bit?

Things aren't so bad as folks claim, if we look at world food production, by weight:
Rank Commodity Production (Int $1000) Flag Production (MT) Flag
1 Sugar cane 32090140 A 1590701770 A
2 Maize 38394490 A 791794584 A
3 Rice, paddy 130994000 A 659590623 A
4 Wheat 72917380 A 605994942 A
5 Cow milk, whole, fresh 144976500 A 566850186 A
6 Potatoes 34821630 A 309344247 A
7 Sugar beet 10907030 A 246713216 A
8 Vegetables fresh nes 41856900 A 245079450 A
9 Soybeans 44666580 A 220532612 A
10 Cassava 14051950 A 214515149 A
11 Barley 3265138 A 133431341 A
12 Tomatoes 30327200 A 129942416 A
13 Sweet potatoes 7073337 A 107667971 A
14 Watermelons 9491603 A 97434562 A
15 Indigenous Pigmeat 96440380 A 95235648 A
16 Buffalo milk, whole, fresh 42629460 A 86574529 A
17 Bananas 12065270 A 85855856 A
18 Indigenous Chicken Meat 85618380 A 73402695 A
19 Cabbages and other brassicas 9417104 A 68918014 A
20 Grapes 31183820 A 67221000 A

Only a couple of the top 20 require insect pollination. Bee-keepers are overstating their importance somewhat. If we were instead facing 'cereal crop collapse disorder' that would be a far more dire threat to civilization and humanity. As gardeners we don't grow those crops often because they're dirt cheap and require some specialized hardware to harvest and process for eating, so we have a view of growing food that's somewhat skewed towards fruit and fresh vegetables.

Meanwhile, the thesis of that documentary is pretty weak: namely "With all the other pests and diseases affecting honey bees, systemic pesticides, despite their involvement being far from clear, are the straw that broke the camels back". Oddly, the pesticides in question have been in use since the 80's, yet CCD is a new phenomenon. Even if a weak link is established, that is alone not cause to ban anything, we would first have to look at the relative cost of going without systemic pesticides (meaning more spraying of contact insecticides and losing the ability to grow some crops) and that of improving the health of the bees by better management of other ailments and avoiding areas/seasons where such pesticides are often used. That's a long boring process, but careful deliberation and research is the most reliable way to ensure that the problem is solved in a manner that produces the best outcome for everyone involved.

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organic bee keeping

I came in on just the last two minutes of an NPR show interviewing someone whose name I didn't catch who just published a book called The Disappearance of Bees and the Coming Agricultural Crisis (or some title very close to that). Anyway he was saying the experts at this point don't believe it is any one factor but the cumulative effects of a number of things reaching a tipping point.

He mentioned in one sentence at the very end that they had discovered that as opposed to large scale industrial/commercial beekeeping small scale organic beekeepers working in conjunction with small scale organic farms/ orchardists were not having problems!!

Are we surprised?? I think permaculturists and organic gardeners will not be in the least surprised by this news. Diverse gardens/farms (opposite of monocultures) grown as natural systems without the use of herbicides/pesticides/ synthetic fertilizers will turn out to be the solution to most of the problems we are having today.

I also recently heard a lecture by Michael Pollan author of In Defense of Food, Omnivores Dilemma and others. (I heard him in person--if you get the chance, he is well worth listening to!) He is talking about healthy eating and the relationship between healthy people and healthy agriculture and coming to the same conclusion as above.



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