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Bees Seem To Be Dying Across USA

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Albert Einstein: "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."

Species under threat: Honey, who shrunk the bee population?

Across America, millions of honey bees are abandoning their hives and flying off to die, leaving beekeepers facing ruin and US agriculture under threat. And to date, no one knows why.

It has echoes of a murder mystery in polite society.
There could hardly be a more sedate and unruffled world than beekeeping, but the beekeepers of the United States have suddenly encountered affliction, calamity and death on a massive scale. And they have not got a clue why it is happening.
Michael McCarthy reports
Published: 01 March 2007. The Independent, UK
The Independent, UK


Across the country, from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific, honey bee colonies have started to die off, abruptly and decisively. Millions of bees are abandoning their hives and flying off to die (they cannot survive as a colony without the queen, who is always left behind).

Some beekeepers, especially those with big portable apiaries, or bee farms, which are used for large-scale pollination of fruit and vegetable crops, are facing commercial ruin - and there is a growing threat that America's agriculture may be struck a mortal blow by the loss of the pollinators. Yet scientists investigating the problem have no idea what is causing it.

The phenomenon is recent, dating back to autumn, when beekeepers along the east coast of the US started to notice the die-offs. It was given the name of fall dwindle disease, but now it has been renamed to reflect better its dramatic nature, and is known as colony collapse disorder.

It is swift in its effect. Over the course of a week the majority of the bees in an affected colony will flee the hive and disappear, going off to die elsewhere. The few remaining insects are then found to be enormously diseased - they have a "tremendous pathogen load", the scientists say. But why? No one yet knows.

The condition has been recorded in at least 24 states. It is having a major effect on the mobile apiaries which are transported across the US to pollinate large-scale crops, such as oranges in Florida or almonds in California. Some have lost up to 90 per cent of their bees.

A reliable estimate of the true extent of the problem will not be possible for another month or so, until winter comes to an end and the hibernating bee colonies in the northern American states wake up. But scientists are very worried, not least because, as there is no obvious cause for the disease as yet, there is no way of tackling it.

"We are extremely alarmed," said Diana Cox-Foster, the professor of Entomology at Penn States University and one of the leading members of a specially convened colony-collapse disorder working group.

"It is one of the most alarming insect diseases ever to hit the US and it has the potential to devastate the US beekeeping industry. In some ways it may be to the insect world what foot-and-mouth disease was to livestock in England."

Most of the pollination for more than 90 commercial crops grown throughout the United States is provided byApis mellifera, the honey bee, and the value from the pollination to agricultural output in the country is estimated at $14.6bn (£8bn) annually. Growers rent about 1.5 million colonies each year to pollinate crops - a colony usually being the group of bees in a hive.

California's almond crop, which is the biggest in the world, stretching over more than half a million acres over the state's central valley, now draws more than half of the mobile bee colonies in America at pollinating time - which is now. Some big commercial beekeeping operations which have been hit hard by the current disease have had to import millions of bees from Australia to enable the almond trees to be pollinated.

Some of these mobile apiaries have been losing 60 or 70 per cent of their insects, or even more. "A honey producer in Pennsylvania doing local pollination, Larry Curtis, has gone from 1,000 bee colonies to fewer than eight," said Professor Cox-Foster. The disease showed a completely new set of symptoms, "which does not seem to match anything in the literature", said the entomologist.

One was that the bees left the hive and flew away to die elsewhere, over about a week. Another was that the few bees left inside the hive were carrying "a tremendous number of pathogens" - virtually every known bee virus could be detected in the insects, she said, and some bees were carrying five or six viruses at a time, as well as fungal infections. Because of this it was assumed that the bees' immune systems were being suppressed in some way.

Professor Cox-Foster went on: "And another unusual symptom that we're are seeing, which makes this very different, is that normally when a bee colony gets weak and its numbers are decreasing, other neighbouring bees will come and steal the resources - they will take away the honey and the pollen.

"Other insects like to take advantage too, such as the wax moth or the hive beetle. But none of this is happening. These insects are not coming in.

"This suggests that there is something toxic in the colony itself which is repelling them."

The scientists involved in the working group were surveying the dead colonies but did not think the cause of the deaths was anything brought in by beekeepers, such as pesticides, she said.

Another of the researchers studying the collapses, Dennis van Engelsdorp, a bee specialist with the State of Pennsylvania, said it was still difficult to gauge their full extent. It was possible that the bees were fleeing the colonies because they sensed they themselves were diseased or affected in some way, he said. This behaviour has been recorded in other social insects, such as ants.

The introduction of the parasitic bee mite Varroa in 1987 and the invasion of the Africanised honey bee in 1990 have threatened honey bee colonies in the US and in other parts of the world, but although serious, they were easily comprehensible; colony collapse disorder is a deep mystery.

One theory is that the bees may be suffering from stress as beekeepers increasingly transport them around the country, the hives stacked on top of each other on the backs of trucks, to carry out pollination contracts in orchard after orchard, in different states.

Tens of billions of bees are now involved in this "migratory" pollination. An operator might go from pollinating oranges in Florida, to apples in Pennsylvania, to blueberries in Maine, then back to Massachusetts to pollinate cranberries.

The business is so big that pollination is replacing honey-making as the main money earner at the top end of the beekeeping market, not least because in recent years the US has been flooded with cheap honey imports, mainly from Argentina and China.

A typical bee colony, which might be anything from 15,000 to 30,000 bees, would be rented out to a fruit grower for about $135 - a price that is up from $55 only three years ago. To keep the bees' energy up while they are pollinating, beekeepers feed them protein supplements and syrup carried around in large tanks.

It is in these migratory colonies where the biggest losses have been seen. But the stress theory is as much speculation as anything else. At the moment, the disappearance of America's bees is as big a mystery as the disappearance of London's sparrows.
----------------
Vanishing bees threaten US crops
By Matt Wells
BBC News, Florida, USA
news.bbc.co.uk

It is officially called Colony Collapse Disorder, but a more pithy way of describing it would be Vanishing Bee Syndrome.

The Hackenbergs and their hives
Bees are driven around Florida to help pollinate early crops
All over America, beekeepers are opening up their hives in preparation for the spring pollination season, only to find that their bees are dead or have disappeared.

Nobody, so far, knows why.

The sad mystery surrounding the humble honeybee - which is a vital component in $14bn-worth of US agriculture - is beginning to worry even the highest strata of the political class in Washington.

"Hillary Clinton's got interested in this in the last week or so," said David Hackenberg, the beekeeper leading the drive to publicise their plight.

"And she's not alone," he said. "There's a lot of Congressmen have called...wanting to know what's going on. It's serious.

Bees in a hive
Before: a healthy beehive....
"It's not just affecting the beekeepers, it's affecting the farmers that produce the food, and in the end it's going to affect the consumer," he added, sighing deeply.

What makes our interview slightly surreal is that we are standing next to an orange grove, in rural Florida, while about 70 hives of bees buzz angrily behind us, as if to emphasise their predicament.

Dead and dying bees in affected hive
...and after: a hive with CCD

Mr Hackenberg is suffering along with his bees. Like many in his rather neglected profession, he and his son spend the summer and autumn in the north of the country, driving their bees down south during the winter, to kick-start the early fruit and vegetable crops.

In a matter of weeks, he lost just over 2,000 of his 3,000 hives. The yard of his small honey farm near Tampa Bay, is littered with empty boxes, which normally would be full of worker bees, doing what they do best.

As we speak, his mobile phone chirps constantly, with yet more beekeepers across the US, reporting losses of up to 95%.

Pesticides?

Federal scientists, the National Beekeepers Association and state researchers have come together to form an emergency working group to try and halt the disastrous trend.

There are as many theories as there are members of the panel, but Mr Hackenberg strongly suspects that new breeds of nicotine-based pesticides are to blame.

"It may be that the honeybee has become the victim of these insecticides that are meant for other pests," he said. "If we don't figure this out real quick, it's going to wipe out our food supply."

Just a few miles down the sunlit road, it is easy to find farmers prepared to agree with his gloomy assessment.

In the old days, crops would be pollinated by bees living in the woods around the fertile fields, but housing developers have gobbled up much of the natural habitat, according to Carl Grooms, who runs Fancy Farms Inc.

"The squash crops that we grow have a male and female bloom, and the bee has to visit...to make it pollinate and produce," he said.

"We're going to have a hard time finding rental bees to aid in this pollination and if it's as critical as it looks like it will be, I probably won't even plant anything this spring."

Back at the Buffy Bee honey farm - the Hackenberg's Florida base - two members from the working group checked in to pay their respects, and take some bee samples on their way back to Washington.

Crazy theories

Dennis van Engelsdorp, a Pennsylvania-based beekeeper and leading researcher, walks over to an isolated group of hives, and pulls out two different wooden frames that would normally be covered in bees, busy making honey.

The difference is obvious. While one is teeming with insects, the other is virtually uninhabited. "The adult population totally disappears," he said. He shakes his head in frustration.

Nathan Rice and Dennis van Engelsdorp take samples from a hive
The US Department of Agriculture is working on finding the cause

He runs through the long list of possible causes, ranging from new mite infestation to new chemicals, but he is adamant that it is too early to pin the blame on insecticides.

"We have no evidence to think that that theory is more right than any other...There's stronger evidence for some other things really," he said.

He points to the fact that the Colony Collapse Disorder is inconsistent even within localised regions. Some beekeepers have managed to retain completely healthy hives.

His caution is backed up by Nathan Rice, from the Department of Agriculture's bee research laboratory.

"While there is a lot of this crazy guessing going on, people get kind of concerned," he said. "We're here to try to figure out why it's happening."

Future fears

The sensitivity of the beekeepers themselves is easy to understand. For the Hackenbergs, their livelihood is at stake, not to mention the millions of bees that have died.

David Hackenberg's son, Davey, 35, is angry and frustrated that there are no answers yet. "We're working hard at it every day, and we're going to keep working hard until the bank comes and says, 'hey, we're taking the place,'" he says with a defiant edge.

As a father of four, he thinks that the time may have come to get out of the bee business.

Tales abound around the Hackenberg breakfast table of beekeepers who have already given up after a calamitous few months trying to pollinate the huge almond crop in California.

Some bankrupt beekeepers do not have the money to get themselves home, let alone their equipment.

A bumper-sticker on one of the family trucks shows support for the Bush-Cheney ticket in the 2004 election, but Davey is now wondering whether anywhere near enough has been done by governments - and everybody else - to keep his fragile industry and environment going.

Honey Bee Die-off Alarms Beekeepers
Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News
dsc.discovery.com

Feb. 5, 2007 — Something is wiping out honey bees across North America and a team of researchers is rushing to find out what it is.

What’s being called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has now been seen in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and way out in California. Some bee keepers have lost up to 80 percent of their colonies to the mysterious disorder.

"Those are quite scary numbers," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s lead apiarist. Whatever kills the bees targets adult workers which die outside the colony — with few adults left inside, either alive or dead. The disorder decimates the worker bee population in a matter of weeks.

Aside from making honey, honey bees are essential for the pollination of tens of million of dollars worth of cash crops all over the United States. That’s why almond growers of California, for instance, are taking notice and pledging funds to help identify and fight the honey bee disorder.

Among the possible culprits are a fungus, virus, or a variety of microbes and pesticides. No one knows just yet. On first inspection, the pattern of die-offs resembles something that has been seen in more isolated cases in Louisiana, Texas and Australia, vanEngelsdorp said.

"Right now our efforts are on collecting as many samples as possible," said vanEngelsdorp. Bees that are collected are carefully dissected and analyzed to see what might have killed them.

Other researchers are keeping track of the problem using Google Earth, as well as cutting edge hive-sniffing and eavesdropping technology to investigate the problem.
We’re trying to sort out the myriad of variables," said Jerry Bromenshank of the University of Montana and Bee Alert Technology, Inc. "We’ve sent teams to Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, and California. The scenario was about exactly the same everywhere we looked."

The locations of the bees are put on a global database to see it there is any geographic pattern. Bromenshank also uses a groundbreaking audio analysis technique that allows them to hear specific changes in bee colony sounds when specific chemicals are present. Chemical air sampling in hives is also being planned, he said.
Just how bad the bee problem is right now is unknown, since the first cases came at the end of 2006 and many colonies in northern states are not active yet.

As spring awakens honey bee colonies, it will be vital that beekeepers send information to the scientists, regardless of how well or poorly their bee colonies are faring, said Bromenshank. For that purpose the scientists have put together a confidential beekeeper survey on their Website, http://maarec.org.

"Beekeepers overwintering in the north may not know the status of their colonies until they are able to make early spring inspections," said Maryann Frazier, apiculture extension associate in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. "This should occur in late February or early March.

"Regardless, there is little doubt that honey bees are going to be in short supply this spring and possibly into the summer."

Mystery Ailment Strikes Honeybees

_ Although the bodies of dead bees often are littered around a hive, sometimes carried out of the hive by worker bees, no bee remains are typically found around colonies struck by the mystery ailment. Scientists assume these bees have flown away from the hive before dying.

_ From the outside, a stricken colony may appear normal, with bees leaving and entering. But when beekeepers look inside the hive box, they find few mature bees taking care of the younger, developing bees.


By GENARO C. ARMAS
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 11, 2007; 11:17 PM

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination.

Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called Colony Collapse Disorder.
Washington Post
washingtonpost.com

Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some affected commercial beekeepers _ who often keep thousands of colonies _ have reported losing more than 50 percent of their bees. A colony can have roughly 20,000 bees in the winter, and up to 60,000 in the summer.

"We have seen a lot of things happen in 40 years, but this is the epitome of it all," Dave Hackenberg, of Lewisburg-based Hackenberg Apiaries, said by phone from Fort Meade, Fla., where he was working with his bees.

The country's bee population had already been shocked in recent years by a tiny, parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which has destroyed more than half of some beekeepers' hives and devastated most wild honeybee populations.

Along with being producers of honey, commercial bee colonies are important to agriculture as pollinators, along with some birds, bats and other insects. A recent report by the National Research Council noted that in order to bear fruit, three-quarters of all flowering plants _ including most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs and fuel _ rely on pollinators for fertilization.

Hackenberg, 58, was first to report Colony Collapse Disorder to bee researchers at Penn State University. He notified them in November when he was down to about 1,000 colonies _ after having started the fall with 2,900.

"We are going to take bees we got and make more bees ... but it's costly," he said. "We are talking about major bucks. You can only take so many blows so many times."

One beekeeper who traveled with two truckloads of bees to California to help pollinate almond trees found nearly all of his bees dead upon arrival, said Dennis vanEnglesdorp, acting state apiarist for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

"I would characterize it as serious," said Daniel Weaver, president of the American Beekeeping Federation. "Whether it threatens the apiculture industry in the United States or not, that's up in the air."

Scientists at Penn State, the University of Montana and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are among the quickly growing group of researchers and industry officials trying to solve the mystery.

Among the clues being assembled by researchers:

_ Normally, a weakened bee colony would be immediately overrun by bees from other colonies or by pests going after the hive's honey. That's not the case with the stricken colonies, which might not be touched for at least two weeks, said Diana Cox-Foster, a Penn State entomology professor investigating the problem.

"That is a real abnormality," Hackenberg said.

Cox-Foster said an analysis of dissected bees turned up an alarmingly high number of foreign fungi, bacteria and other organisms and weakened immune systems.

Researchers are also looking into the effect pesticides might be having on bees.

In the meantime, beekeepers are wondering if bee deaths over the last couple of years that had been blamed on mites or poor management might actually have resulted from the mystery ailment.

"Now people think that they may have had this three or four years," vanEnglesdorp said.
http://www.heyokamagazine.com/HEYOKA.7.BEES.htm


NewsTarget.com printable article
Originally published March 21 2007
Mysterious collapse of honeybee populations threatens national food supply
by Christian Evans
newstarget.com

The honeybee population in the United States is currently suffering a devastating collapse. Honeybees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply never returning to their colonies. Have they all been kidnapped by mad beekeepers, or is something more frightening occurring with the pollinators in our ecosystem?

During the final three months of 2006, a distressing number of honeybee colonies began to diminish from the United States, and beekeepers all over the country have reported unprecedented losses. According to scientists, the domesticated honeybee population has declined by about 50% in the last 50 years.

Reports of similar losses to the honeybee population have been documented before in beekeeping literature, but are widely believed to have occurred at this scale previously only at a regional level. With outbreaks recorded as far back as 1896, this is regarded as the first national honeybee epidemic in U.S. history.

The phenomenon, referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is not yet well understood. Even the existence of the disorder remains in dispute. Nevertheless, what cannot be denied is that a shortage of honeybees in the continental U.S. has affected cropowners from California to the New England states.

"There are shortages [like this] that pop up from time to time," said Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist at Princeton University. "Whether there are more [shortages] than there were 20 years ago, one would guess yes, as there are fewer bees to go around, but it's not well documented."

Subsequent investigations suggest these outbreaks of unexplained colony collapse were experienced by beekeepers for at least the last two years. Are the honeybees dying in the fields they pollinate, or do they simply become too exhausted and disoriented to find their way back home?

Why honeybees are the invisible link to an abundant food supply
Whatever the reason, why should we care so much? Why should it matter at all to Americans?

When entire bee populations seem to disappear or die out in alarming numbers, the ramifications can be astounding. Bee pollination, which most farmers depend on, is responsible for as much as 30% of the U.S. food supply.

"Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food," said Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation.

A Cornell University study has estimated that honeybees annually pollinate more than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States. These include such diverse food sources as almond blossoms, pumpkins, cucumbers, raspberries, avocados, and alfalfa. Unless something is done to protect the honeybee population soon, many fruits and vegetables may disappear from the food chain.

"The sudden and unexplained loss of honeybee populations is an early warning sign for coming disruptions in modern agriculture," explained Mike Adams, executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center non-profit group (www.ConsumerWellness.org). "If we continue to lose honeybees at this rate, we may find ourselves in a dire food supply emergency that will not be easily solved," Adams said.

"During the last three months of 2006, we began to receive reports from commercial beekeepers of an alarming number of honey bee colonies dying in the eastern United States," said Maryann Frazier, a senior extension associate in the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Since the beginning of the year, beekeepers from all over the country have been reporting unprecedented losses. This has become a highly significant yet poorly understood problem that threatens the pollination industry and the production of commercial honey in the United States," she said.

Honeybees are killed by synthetic chemicals
Scientists, for now, have primarily attributed the honeybee decline to diseases spread as a result of mites and other parasites as well as the spraying of crops with pesticides. It may also result from the treatment of forests, rangelands and even suburban areas to control a wide variety of pests.

"There is no question that the extremely irresponsible use of synthetic chemicals in modern farming practices is significantly contributing to this devastating drop in honeybee populations," said Mike Adams. "The more chemicals we spray on the crops, the more poisoned the pollinators become. And the fact that honeybees are now simply disappearing in huge numbers is a strong indicator that a key chemical burden threshold has been crossed. We may have unwittingly unleashed an agricultural Chernobyl."

In order to deal with this devastation, a newly formed CCD working group has been organized in hope of finding a solution to the dwindling honeybee population. According to the CCD mandate, the group will explore "the cause or causes of honeybee colony collapse and finding appropriate strategies to reduce colony loss in the future."

Comprised of university faculty researchers, state regulatory officials, cooperative extension educators and industry representatives, the working group hopes to develop management strategies and recommendations for this epidemic. Participating organizations include the USDA/ARS, the Florida Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania State University, and Bee Alert, Inc., a technology transfer company affiliated with the University of Montana.

Research involving the value of honeybees to agriculture could be beneficial to both the beekeeper and the grower. The knowledge formed from such research maximizes the likelihood of finding answers that will aid beekeepers in promoting good health for honeybees within the pollination industry. It should also keep the grower well informed about the process of pollination and the relative damage of different pesticides to honeybee populations.

A detailed, up-to-date report on Colony Collapse Disorder can be found on the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium Web site at http://www.maarec.org

The pesticide link to honeybee populations
Pesticides, specifically neonicotinioid pesticides, including imidacloprid, clothianiden and thiamethoxam, poison the bee while it is in the process of collecting nectar and pollen. The poisoning may occur when the material is ingested, or it may be transported to the hive where it poisons other bees in the colony.

According to a recent report, "Pesticides in Relation to BeeKeeping and Crop Pollination, even organic insecticides -- the chlorinated hydrocarbons, organophosphates, and carbamates -- vary in their toxicity and are not recommended."

Pesticides can also damage wild bees, but the toxicity level of a specific insecticide to honeybees and wild bees is not always the same. Even among wild bees, some materials are more toxic to one species than to another.

According to the CCD report, "If bees are eating fresh or stored pollen contaminated with these chemicals at low levels, they may not cause mortality but may impact the bee's ability to learn or make memories. This could cause the colonies to dwindle and eventually die."

So far a few common management factors have been found, but no common environmental agents or chemicals have been identified. There is no one substance currently being branded as the culprit.

Not limited to the United States, this problem is complex and the ramifications are alarming. Such a loss to the honeybee population can occur in other countries that have highly developed agricultural infrastructures.

This only begs an even deeper question for society to answer: If we are so dependent on honeybee pollination for our food supply, what happens when the bees are wiped out? Mike Adams calls our current food production situation a "food bubble" and explains that as mankind disrupts nature and destroys sustainable ecosystems, the natural backlash will impact the food supply first. "Following a century of synthetic chemical poisoning of planet Earth, the human race is in for a rather abrupt population correction. The collapse of pollinators is merely a sign of things to come. Humans will either find a way to live in balance with the planet, or they may ultimately face the same fate as the honeybees."

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When Bees Disappear, Will Man Soon Follow?
Apr 5th, 2007, 7:45 AM
http://omega.twoday.net/stories/3545166/

Jean-Claude Gerard Koven

Last week I received an email from a friend reporting a sudden, devastating collapse in America's bee population. The message triggered an immediate unpleasant shiver through my body as I recalled the ominous quote attributed to Albert Einstein: "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."

Being a bit skeptical, I assumed this was just another piece of alarmist misinformation finding its way onto Internet distribution lists. A few minutes' research not only confirmed the story, but made me realize that the problem is far from local. In official circles, the condition is called either Fall-Dwindle Disease or, more commonly, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

The communication I received stated: "Honeybees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply never returning to their colonies.

During the final three months of 2006, a distressing number of honeybee colonies began to diminish from the United States, and beekeepers all over the country have reported unprecedented losses. According to scientists, the domesticated honeybee population has declined by about 50 percent in the last 50 years. Reports of similar losses to the honeybee population have been documented before in beekeeping literature, but are widely believed to have occurred at this scale previously only at a regional level. With outbreaks recorded as far back as 1896, this is regarded as the first national honeybee epidemic in U.S. history."

The topics grabbing headlines these days leave little room in the news for the plight of an insect. What we fail to appreciate is that without an abundance of bees to pollinate crops, the United States could lose as much as 30 percent of its food supply. According to Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation, "Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food."

There is no doubt about what is happening - or its consequences if the situation is not rectified. What remains murky is the cause. According to Walter Haefeker, director of the German Beekeepers Association, CCD has four possible causes: the varroa mite, introduced from Asia; the widespread practice of spraying wildflowers with herbicides; the practice of monoculture (a single crop covering a large area); and the controversial yet growing use of genetic engineering in agriculture.

However, it is the thinking of one of the cell phone industry's former scientific hired guns that caught my attention. When George Carlo, M.D., the celebrated author of "Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age" and current chairman of the nonprofit Science and Public Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., weighs in with an opinion, we'd all be fools not to listen carefully.

On a recent conference call, Dr. Carlo laid the blame for the sudden demise (often within 72 hours) of entire bee colonies on the recent proliferation of electromagnetic waves (EMF). He cited the startling statistic that, at present, there are some 2.5 billion cell phone users around the world. While this (plus the explosive growth of cell phone towers) used to be the major concern, the problem has been significantly exacerbated by the recent introduction of satellite radio. Imagine being closeted in a confined environment filled with chain smokers; it would be impossible for you to get a breath of clean air. It is becoming equally difficult for you to avoid the now-measurable damage from EMF exposure.

Dr. Carlo commented that the constant electromagnetic background noise seems to disrupt intercellular communication within individual bees, such that many of them cannot find their way back to the hive. His conclusions are confirmed by a recent study conducted by three departments of Panjab University (India), which has found that cell phone towers - the dominant source of electromagnetic radiation in the city of Chandigarh - could well be the cause behind the mysterious disappearance of butterflies, some insects (like bees), and birds.

Andrew Weil, M.D., author of "Spontaneous Healing and 8 Weeks to Optimum Health," fully agrees: "Electromagnetic pollution may be the most significant form of pollution human activity has produced in this century, all the more dangerous because it is invisible and insensible."

In some countries, up to 10 percent of the population suffers from a serious EMF-induced condition that Dr. Carlo and others call membrane sensitivity syndrome. In a recent address to the Health, Social Services and Housing Sub-Panel in the United Kingdom, Carlo explained:

"Originally, this type of condition was the result of high chemical exposures; we used to call it chemical sensitivity. Now we have identified the same type of condition in patients who are exposed to various types of electromagnetic radiation. It is a medical problem.

People who have membrane sensitivity syndrome have internal bleeding.

They can be in a room where somebody puts on a cell phone, and they will end up having an immediate reaction; they will go home and they will bleed and in their stool they will have blood. This condition is very debilitating. It prevents these people from being able to work; they cannot earn a living, they have difficult relationships with their children, their spouses give up on them. .. It is a very, very serious medical problem."

The bees are the modern-day counterpart of the canaries that miners used to carry with them as they descended into the mine shafts. If the birds died, it was an early warning of a buildup of toxic gases in the mine.

When canaries die or bees disappear, we are being cautioned that we too are in immediate danger. It is time to listen to the message nature is telling us. Denial - the favorite ploy of those whose profits are being threatened - is no longer an option. As Arthur Schopenhauer said, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

I shudder to think of what will become of humankind if we linger too long in stage two: "no more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

----- End forwarded message -----


Millions of Bees Die - Are Electromagnetic Signals To Blame? eeng.net


Informant: smileycoyote

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Ecological Apocalypse: Why Are All The Bees Dying?
prisonplanet.com/

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Keepers fear mystery bee illness
buergerwelle.de


I also wrote to the London bee keeper man as follows,

Dear John Chappel

Statement from Ingrid

There is a huge body of research on bees from Germany that has never been considered in the UK.

This research shows that bees carry magnesomes in their underbelly and are thus highly sensitive to magnetic fields. They communicate and navigate via electromagnetic frequencies.

The German researchers consider bees to be bio indicators for the biological effects of radiation. They are the canaries in the coal mine.

The current environment with microwave radiation levels billions of times higher than the natural background levels is like putting a fish in a poisoned pond.

The bees try to escape the radiation and get lost and exhausted.

Ingrid Dickenson
Director hese-UK
hese-project.org

Dr Warnke is one of the leading researchers in Germany in this area. He is convinced of the harmfullness of the phone masts to bees and has been saying so for years.

Please feel free to contact us if you want any information.

We are currently translating a Swiss research paper summarising the effects on bees.


Re are mobiles killing our bees?

Andrea has spoken to Dr Warnke. He is convinced of the radiation being the cause.

See one of his early papers:

Effects of electric charges on honey bees
Dr Warnke
Bee World vol 57 no 2 1976 hese-project.org

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Cell Phones May Be Wiping Out Bees, say Scientists
http://www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/cell_phones_may_be_wiping_out_bees.htm

http://omega.twoday.net/search?q=bees
http://freepage.twoday.net/search?q=bees
http://omega.twoday.net/search?q=Carlo
celsias.com

March 15, 2007 · Filed under Agriculture & Food, Environment & Wildlife by Craig Mackintosh

Here is an update to the brief bee story we did a few weeks ago. I’ve been keeping an eye on the Colony Collapse Disorder phenomenon that is causing a lot of furrowed brows in the U.S., as this may well become the biggest issue of 2007.

Things are getting dire on the U.S. agricultural front, and there are similar reports beginning to filter through from countries in Europe. Disappearing by the billions, on a worker strike we do not know how to negotiate

The sad mystery surrounding the humble honeybee - which is a vital component in $14bn-worth of US agriculture - is beginning to worry even the highest strata of the political class in Washington.

“Hillary Clinton’s got interested in this in the last week or so,” said David Hackenberg, the beekeeper leading the drive to publicise their plight.

“And she’s not alone,” he said. “There’s a lot of Congressmen have called…wanting to know what’s going on. It’s serious. - BBC

There’s still no concrete evidence about what is killing the millions and billions of bees around the country, but there are a lot of guesses.

The phenomenon is recent, dating back to autumn, when beekeepers along the east coast of the US started to notice the die-offs. It was given the name of fall dwindle disease, but now it has been renamed to reflect better its dramatic nature, and is known as colony collapse disorder.

It is swift in its effect. Over the course of a week the majority of the bees in an affected colony will flee the hive and disappear, going off to die elsewhere. The few remaining insects are then found to be enormously diseased - they have a “tremendous pathogen load”, the scientists say. But why? No one yet knows.

… The disease showed a completely new set of symptoms, “which does not seem to match anything in the literature”, said the entomologist.

… the few bees left inside the hive were carrying “a tremendous number of pathogens” - virtually every known bee virus could be detected in the insects, she said, and some bees were carrying five or six viruses at a time, as well as fungal infections. Because of this it was assumed that the bees’ immune systems were being suppressed in some way. - The Independent

There are as many theories as there are members of the panel, but Mr Hackenberg strongly suspects that new breeds of nicotine-based pesticides are to blame.

“It may be that the honeybee has become the victim of these insecticides that are meant for other pests,” he said. “If we don’t figure this out real quick, it’s going to wipe out our food supply.”

Just a few miles down the sunlit road, it is easy to find farmers prepared to agree with his gloomy assessment.

… Dennis van Engelsdorp, a Pennsylvania-based beekeeper and leading researcher… is adamant that it is too early to pin the blame on insecticides.”We have no evidence to think that that theory is more right than any other…” - BBC

Urban sprawl and farming also have taken away fields of clover and wildflowers, as well as nesting trees.

Pesticides and herbicides used in farming and on suburban lawns can weaken or kill bees.

Caron said a new class of pesticides used on plants, called neonicotinoids, don’t kill bees but hamper their sense of direction. That leaves them unable to find their way back to their hives.

… Because these bees aren’t returning to their hives, researchers don’t have a lot of evidence to study.

Those dead bees that have been found nearby have only deepened the mystery.

“They are just dirty with parts and pieces of various diseases,” said Jim Tew, a beekeeping expert with the OSU Extension campus in Wooster. “It looks like a general stress collapse.”

Similar disappearances have occurred over time. Tew said he remembers a similar phenomenon in the 1960s. Then, it was called “disappearing disease.”

“It was exactly the same thing,” he said.

But this one, Caron said, apparently causes hives to collapse at a much quicker rate and is more widespread.

Cobey said it could be from too much of everything: bad weather, chemicals, parasites, viruses.

“If you give them one of these things at a time, they seem to deal with it,” she said. “But all of these things, it’s too hard.

“I think the bees are just compromised. They’re stressed out.” - Columbus Dispatch

Whatever the cause, some farmers are getting desperate, to the point of not bothering to plant their crops.

“The squash crops that we grow have a male and female bloom, and the bee has to visit…to make it pollinate and produce,” he said.

“We’re going to have a hard time finding rental bees to aid in this pollination and if it’s as critical as it looks like it will be, I probably won’t even plant anything this spring.” - BBC

Huge monocrop farming systems and specialisations, and the spread of suburbia across natural habitat, are removing natural diversity. Bees have been lumped together in the millions, in a factory farm type environment not so unlike that of our chickens and other livestock animals. Many of these bees are transported across several states to perform pollinations in orchards and farms around the country. Today they are in contact with substances they shouldn’t have to deal with - pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and pollen from genetically modified crops. Researchers are scrambling to find answers, and as the spring season is upon us, time is running out.

Honey bees, which are not native to the U.S. incidentally (they were imported for crop pollination), are tasked with the pollination of approximately one third of all U.S. crops.

… scientists are very worried, not least because, as there is no obvious cause for the disease as yet, there is no way of tackling it. - The Independent

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Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?
news.independent.co.uk
Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame for mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees

By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet Shawcross
Published: 15 April 2007- The Independent & The Independent on Sunday

It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail.

They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world - the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well.

The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.

The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.

Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: "There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK."

The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world's crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".

No one knows why it is happening. Theories involving mites, pesticides, global warming and GM crops have been proposed, but all have drawbacks.

German research has long shown that bees' behaviour changes near power lines.

Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr Jochen Kuhn, who carried it out, said this could provide a "hint" to a possible cause.

Dr George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government and mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the Nineties, said: "I am convinced the possibility is real."

The case against handsets

Evidence of dangers to people from mobile phones is increasing. But proof is still lacking, largely because many of the biggest perils, such as cancer, take decades to show up.

Most research on cancer has so far proved inconclusive. But an official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side as they held the handset.

Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish research revealed that radiation from mobile phones killed off brain cells, suggesting that today's teenagers could go senile in the prime of their lives.

Studies in India and the US have raised the possibility that men who use mobile phones heavily have reduced sperm counts. And, more prosaically, doctors have identified the condition of "text thumb", a form of RSI from constant texting.

Professor Sir William Stewart, who has headed two official inquiries, warned that children under eight should not use mobiles and made a series of safety recommendations, largely ignored by ministers.

Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril
New York Times
New York Times link

 


This is a very serious problem. We need to bring massive media attention to this. It could be the last straw holding together civilization. Please contact your government or an NGO. See that attention is being paid to this (unnoticed) emergency in your area. This seems to be a worldwide plague that could wipe us all out.... and it is hardly getting any attention! PLEASE HELP!

Thanks,
Yvette