Who killed the honey bee?


Good Morning,

I noticed Bert's blog about Wolfram Alpha, then thought that due the importance of the question, I'd post this here along with some background links, to see if we can come up with some "better questions".

Bees are dying in their millions. It is an ecological crisis that threatens to bring global agriculture to a standstill.
BBC 2, Martha KearneyWho killed the honey bee?

Can we increase the chances of finding a solution to the declining bee population?

Here's a few for starters ...

What is the natural predator of Varroa?
Can growing foxgloves and other wild flowers in our urban gardens help bees?
Why are bee populations thriving in Italy?
Can the addition of bio-diverse oasis amidst monocultural environments increase bee survival?
What effect would a global ban on certain pesticides have on bee populations?

How would you frame the question?

Martin



Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

Who killed the honey bee?

Thanks Louis, I totally agree that it's a collective responsibility, a symptom of our mechanised approach, monoculture. Did you see the brilliant documentary A Farm for the Future? Sadly no longer available on BBC i-Player, Rebecca Hosking returns to her family farm in Devon to explore the alternatives to the way of farming her peers have become used to, then contrasts this with the real alternative ... permaculture, which effortlessly out yields monoculture. She also discovers how the practice of over wintering cattle in barns and feeding them on food stored throughout the season, is both unnecessary and can be avoided all together by correct sewing of a combination of grass seed, which in turn means that cattle don't churn up the pasture over winter. (As this is required viewing for us all, here's the film on Viddler) What was evident in this BBC film was how Rebecca's paradigm was completely shifted once she'd experienced permaculture first hand. It was clear that whilst she was skeptical and totally believed the science of agriculture, in comparison with nature, we still have much to learn! The most successful and productive systems emulate nature in its complexity, rather than stripping out just the parts we see as profitable, then trying to kill off the parts we 'think' are problems. The reality is that nature is a whole, interconnected system. And, thank you Lisa, love your re-framing of the question ... Can we increase ways to protect our food resources and food allies? I believe the answer is a resounding YES! This is affirmed through studying the work of the Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton of the PRI, who share a deeper understanding of the need for close relations with the natural world. Here's how they tackle deserts and here's how they work with swales to use water efficiently. And for the longer story here's Bill Mollison in a documentary that shares the big picture in his no-nonsense, Australian logic. And as a footnote to this post, in todays news, an encouraging piece about bee population collapse. Martin

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Lisa Bakker

lisabakker-64498

Who killed the honey bee?

Wow, Martin.... these kind of subjects are really near and dear to my heart....Glad you posed the question. I am enclined to reframe your question into a bigger one; the bee colony extinction is merely a symptom of something entirely different; man's (corporational) greed to exploit nature to it maximum. Fay directs the attention to a field that has been working for the last decade (at least) to control the total food chains worldwide, it's the field of bio-engineering. Corporations like Bayer, Monsanto, Eli Lily are working to engineer seeds, pesticides and plants into a sterile state. These new seeds/plants combined with engineered pesticides can (and are) patented. Thus allowing these corporations to turn a natural gift of mother nature into an exclusive producing unit with legal rights!! De Weerdt stated: Theoretically without honeybees fields will be sterile, economies will collapse, and food shortages will be the norm. In another article Sarah deWeerst taclkes the real issue: Pollination in modern agriculture isn't alchemy, it's industry. Some facts and figures: from a 2007 Bloomberg article: Honeybees pollinate 90 percent of U.S. apples and blueberries, half of the peaches and 25 percent of the orange crop, Johanns said. In a 1987 report of the FAO it was already established that: Yet beekeeping has been sustaining heavy losses through pesticide use since the advent of synthetic pesticides several decades ago. ...worst of all, the pesticides frequently kill bees, reduce colony strength and contaminate hive products. (ie, the pesticide thread on bee colonies has been known since at least the mid 60-ies). Question: do we know how exactely bees are affected by pesticides? yes, we do...from the same 1987 report: worst of all, the pesticides frequently kill bees, reduce colony strength and contaminate hive products. Information known (publicly even) since 1987, we now talking 2009. 22 years have gone by with this info being available. Ben collen (reseacher Zoological society London) stated: "Between 1960 and 2000, the human population of the world has doubled. Yet during the same period, the animal populations have declined by 30 per cent. It's beyond doubt that this decline has been caused by humans." I would refrase the question to: Can we increase ways to protect our food resources and food allies?

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Louis Sequeira

louissequeira-52625

Who killed the honey bee?

Who killed the honey bee? We collectively are doing it. It is the consequence of industrialisation of agriculture. Mainly due to monoculture, it requires a huge amount of support as monoculture depletes the soil and creates an imbalance in the ecosystem. The huge support is in terms of nutrients, requiring artificial fertilisers. The imbalance in the ecosystem requires heavy reliance of herbicides and pesticides. I am not even going to touch on the subject of GM and the rest. How are we doing it collectively? We demand cheap food, and then send about 30% of it to the garbage dumps without thinking about it. We look for alternate forms of energy, instead of balancing our needs and letting our wants to take over, we jump on the enticing renewable energy sources and grow, as Fay has pointed out, acres of rape seed plants and other crops that will give us oil to run our cars. From the old rhyme of "House that Jack built", where it goes, ".......This is the cat that killed the rat, that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built......", we have managed to kill the cat. The issues with the honey bees is just the tip of the iceberg. We will soon be seeing severe problems with fish as well, not just from overfishing but from discharge of fertilisers and pesticides that get washed into the ocean, leached by the rains. Why are bee populations thriving in Italy? Because the Italian bees are of a different species they are resistant to most of the mite. If you look at a hybrid species called the Buckfast Bee, you will see why. The Buckfast bee is a hybrid from Italian bees, that was introduced in Isle of Wight after their bee population was decimated by a mite infestation in the early 1900s. Can growing foxgloves and other wild flowers in our urban gardens help bees? Can the addition of bio-diverse oasis amidst monocultural environments increase bee survival? What effect would a global ban on certain pesticides have on bee populations? Most definitely there would be a positive effect. Not forgetting some of the present day fertilisers as well, bees do need to drink water, they do not live on 'nectar' alone. As to the show the way that the American system of bee keepers treat their bees it's no wonder that the bees are disappearing from all the stress that they are under. I would dispute that statement, bees are not stressed by the way they are housed, fed and transported. They have been doing the same for at least 30 years that I am aware of, moving them across state boundaries to pollinate orchards, without any discernible damage to their population. Also, there was no heavy application of pesticides and new fangled plant feed or fertilisers as there is now. The USA bees move a lot less than bees that are transported from Australia to the USA as replacement for lost bees.

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Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

Who killed the honey bee?

Cool video Zara! Kevin, I heard that one our Government's responses was to build a database of bee-keepers! not their most popular move on farming today! Well done you for doing such important work. Thanks for the link Graham, will check this out. Fay, I must admit, when I heard that the French had banned Gaucho back in 1999 I was shocked to find it's still in use in the UK!, let's hope that there's more pressure on the pesticide producers to green up their solutions! Who knows, they may be next in line for a sound thrashing from Eco-Guardian, Vandana Shiva, who's famous for her dealings with Monsanto, the giants who try to apply patents to seeds so they can charge indigenous farmers for the rights to use what's been around for millennia. Martin

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Fay Olinsky

personalchef-34218

Who killed the honey bee?

Perhaps a little in depth research into the malpractice of the world's 3rd largest chemical company who acquired a certain GM crop company responsible for unleashing forbidden GM Roundup resistant Rape Seed plants in 2000 in UK...which has been proven to compromise the benefits of medicines and applications used to control disease in farm animals....and bees may give you some answers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer#Bayer_Animal_Health The pathetic input by the government agencies to address the viruses etc that endanger world food production in January this year (when the problem has been around since 1987 in US) probably means they don't want anyone to find out about the 'mistake' of this particular 'nasty little bio experiment' being unleashed unchecked in this country!....They seem to be good at 'making mistakes'...this government? I wonder how many shares many of them have in the company in question?....I wonder if the purchase those shares went on 'expenses' by mistake ? F

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Graham Hunt

grahamhunt1-182003

Who killed the honey bee?

Google Spanish scientists and bees and you will find a solution seems to have been found. If you go to the positivity blog below I have the story in there about a month ago Living in Spain * Positivity * Valencia+ * Twitter * Round Midnight Club

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Kevin Meader

amberley-38064

Who killed the honey bee?

Being a newish beekeeper only been doing it for a year and looking at the programme who killed the honey bee, There are a lot of reasons and diseases that can affect bees not just Varroa which is a mite that attaches its self to the bee and feeds of it. So like a mosquito it can take blood from one bee that has say foul brood and then infect another bee that does not so spreading that disease. As to the show the way that the American system of bee keepers treat their bees it's no wonder that the bees are disappearing from all the stress that they are under. Bee keepers in this country are on the main amateur bee keepers in the respect that it's not their full time job and they do it as a hobby. They control the Varroa by keeping the amount of Varroa in the hive down by using different methods available to them but the only way we can make sure that the bees survive is to get the right funding from the government to find out what is causing the death of so many bees from things like American foul brood, CCD, European foul brood, the small hive beetle and tropilaelaps. So better training for beekeepers and better management of the bees should mean that the bees will survive and so will we. Regards Kevin Surrey Bee keeper

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Zara Lockwood

zaralockwood-48406

Who killed the honey bee?

show me the honey ? Get tweeterized! Come and Visit my Camel!

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Anne Quinn

annequinn-127125

Who killed the honey bee?

we dont seem to attract wasps, but there are swarms of bees on the few warm days we've had so far Money Matters Utility Warehouse

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Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

Who killed the honey bee?

Cheers Tom, I agree, it appears that current practices are tied up in commercial rather than ecological rational. And Anne, see if you can ween them onto wasps instead ;-) Martin

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Anne Quinn

annequinn-127125

Who killed the honey bee?

Martin, I confess it's my dogs . They are menaces whenever they see a bee they try to eat it Money Matters Utility Warehouse

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Tom Law

tomlaw-157685

Who killed the honey bee?

Thanks for the links, it's a very interesting story. It's the first time I've heard of portable bee farms. Maybe bees aren't suited for factory work on factory farms. And, if it's a disease, it seems a good way to spread it is to transport the bees all over the country as they currently do. Tom Law

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Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

Who killed the honey bee?

Hmmm! Me neither, just been trying a few different ways of asking the question, the most common answer is "Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input" Ho Hum, back to the drawing board! Unless of course there's a genius here? Martin

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Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

What can save the global bee population?

Thanks Mehmet, I see you'd highlighted this in April. I listen to Farming Today every weekday morning and whilst the plight of bees are constantly mentioned, I've yet to hear a satisfactory response to the issue. How would you word the question for Wolfram Alpha? Martin

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Dr. Mehmet Yildiz

mehmetyildiz-306761

What can save the global bee population?

To BEE or not to BEE: Can we make without HONEY?:-) Regards, Mehmet Dr. Mehmet YILDIZ || IBM || IT Business Philosophy || Paradigm Shift for 2050s|| My blog || Twitter || Linkedin || Yasni

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