Sep 25

bees

Pesticide manufacturers’ own tests reveal serious harm to honeybees:

Bayer and Syngenta criticised for secrecy after unpublished research obtained under freedom of information law linked high doses of their products to damage to the health of bee colonies

Unpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research.

The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request.

Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides and there is clear scientific evidence that they harm bees at the levels found in fields, though only a little to date showing the pesticides harm the overall performance of colonies. Neonicotinoids were banned from use on flowering crops in the EU in 2013, despite UK opposition. Continue reading »

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Jul 21

Jul 13, 2016

Description:

Snow patches across Scotland are the most reported and the thickest since the 1800’s. Bees are dying at an alarming rate due to pesticides and groups are starting across the world to help save the bee population. All Hives Matter. A quick look at drought and wet cycles across North Africa.

Temp swings http://joannenova.com.au/2010/02/the-…
Auroras on Jupiter http://mashable.com/2016/06/30/jupite…
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/01/hea…

Continue reading »

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May 20

bee

Soil Association scientific briefing reveals new data on the impact of neonicotinoids on pollinators:

New data revealed today shows bees can be exposed to more pesticides from contaminated wildflowers than from crops on farms. The research, discussed at a scientific briefing in London on 28 April 2016 organised by the Soil Association, showed a staggering 97% of the neonicotinoids brought back to honeybee hives in pollen could come from wildflowers – not oilseed rape. (1)

The briefing looked at the latest scientific research and its implications for the environment and the future use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the UK. The panel included three leading experts on the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides on our pollinators – Professor Dave Goulson, Dr Lynn Dicks and Dr Penelope Whitehorn. Peter Campbell from Syngenta responded to the presentations from the three scientists.   Continue reading »

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Feb 18

bees

Top German supermarket bans neonicotinoid pesticides linked to mass honeybee deaths:

German supermarket chain Aldi, has become the first major European retailer to ban pesticides that are toxic to bees, including neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. All suppliers of produce sold in Aldi stores across Europe and the U.S. are now required not to use those pesticides during production.

The announcement came on January 1st, and was a great way to start the New Year, with the retailer expecting fruit and vegetable suppliers to comply with their new policy ASAP. The decision comes after a great deal of public pressure, and coincides with the German retailer’s decision to ban the herbicide chemical glyphosate from its produce. Continue reading »

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Jan 10

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EPA Releases Study on Pesticides Killing Bees, Gets Sued Immediately by Beekeepers:

“A single seed coated with a neonicotinoid insecticide is enough to kill a songbird.”

United States — A new study by the Environmental Protection Agency has found evidence through a study that backs what activists and environmentalists have asserted for years: one of the most widely used neonicotinoid pesticides can, indeed, cause declines in honeybee populations. But the agency’s findings are too little, too late for many farmers and food safety advocates, who consider the EPA neglectfully responsible for widespread employment of neonicotinoids.Driving the urgency of the point even further, researchers with Sussex University discovered something far more alarming: wildflowers growing near neonicotinoid-treated crops play host to a “chemical cocktail” which has an impact on bees 1,000 times more potent than previously believed. Continue reading »

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Jul 03

Bees-Hive-Honey-Comb

100,000 beekeepers urge Germany to ban GMOs as biotech industry destroys their livelihood and environment (Natural News, July 2, 2015):

Nearly 100,000 German beekeepers are calling for a nationwide ban on the cultivation of GMO crops. The beekeepers are represented by the German Beekeepers Association (DIB), which is pursuing the ban after the introduction of legislation allowing member states to opt out of GM planting schemes that have been approved at the EU level.

The new law allows a member state to ban GMO agriculture in all or part of its territory. The legislation is strongly opposed by GM proponents and has become a controversial issue throughout the EU.
Continue reading »

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May 27

Related info:

EPA knew pesticides were killing honeybees in the 1970s but punished those who spoke out


honey-bee-small

Suicide By Pesticide (Chris Martenson, May 22, 2015):

What the honey bee die-off means for humanity

As you are aware, honey bees have been suffering from something called Colony Collapse Disorder. In practice, what this means is that the bees simply vanish from their hives, leaving behind their most precious worldly possessions: honey and larvae.

What causes these mysterious vanishing acts has been something of a mystery. But because the phenomenon began really ramping up in 2006, we can focus in on some suspects. Continue reading »

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Jan 19

Related info:

EPA knew pesticides were killing honeybees in the 1970s but punished those who spoke out


bees

Bees: How Their Deaths Are Linked To Pesticides According To A Harvard Study (Thought Pursuits, Jan 17, 2015):

The human race is beginning to realize that actions have consequences. One area that demonstrates this clearly is the effects of the huge amounts of pesticides humans spray on food and other crops. In many countries, particularly the United States, pesticides are used extensively on crops. Scientists have known for many years that spraying some pesticides onto food crops can cause some human health problems and they long thought that it may be related to a the huge numbers of bee deaths in recent years. There have been particular concerns over the neo-nicotinoid pesticides, which are in widespread use right across the world.

A recent Harvard University research study published in the Bulletin of Insectology confirms scientists’ worst fears about bees and neo-nicotinoid pesticides. It shows clearly that they are the cause of colony collapse disorder. The study’s results not only match the findings of a previous study but they also echo the conclusions of that study that bee exposure neonicotinoids, even in doses smaller than that necessary to kill them, is very likely the main cause of colony collapse disorder CCD. (Bulletin of Insectology) Continue reading »

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Sep 26

Flashback: Organic Bees Surviving Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)


beyond-honey-bees

EPA knew pesticides were killing honeybees in the 1970s but punished those who spoke out (Natural News, Sep 25, 2014):

For decades, top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (PEA) were aware that a compound approved for agricultural use in the United States was wiping out the honeybee population, but they chose to ignore the compound’s effects in deference to pressure from agri-giant corporations.

Worse, the agency reacted harshly to anyone within the EPA who attempted to bring the issue to light, including through firings, forced reassignments and other actions. Continue reading »

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Sep 21

beyond-honey-bees

Beemageddon: Syngenta Wants Increase in Pesticide Levels (The Daily Sheeple, Sep 19, 2014):

Syngenta is asking federal regulators to increase the allowable levels of some pesticides, even though experts have linked the chemicals to massive bee die offs.

The company wants the Environmental Protection Agency to pass an increase of 4.9 parts per million of thiamethoxan. The current allowable level is 0.1ppm, Syngenta wants it increased to 5.0ppm. You can read the details on the regulations.gov website which published the request on September 5th. The request itself was filed on August 22nd.

Tiffany Stacker of E&E reports: Continue reading »

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Jul 23

beyond-honey-bees

Beyond honey bees, neonicotinoid pesticides now found to be killing baby birds (Natural News, July 20, 2014):

A class of pesticides widely blamed for a worldwide collapse in pollinator populations is also devastating populations of birds, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands and the Centre for Field Ornithology and Birdlife Netherlands, and published in the journal Nature on July 16.

The chemicals, known as neonicotinoids, have increasingly come under fire for widespread destruction of organisms other than agricultural pests. Continue reading »

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Jul 11
Bees111
Mounting scientific evidence shows that the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides is a leading cause of decline in honeybee populations.

Approval of Bee-Killing Pesticides Challenged in Court (EcoWatch, July 9, 2014):

Environmental and food safety groups yesterday challenged California’s illegal practice of approving new agricultural uses for neonicotinoid pesticides despite mounting evidence that the pesticides are devastating honey bees.

Pesticide Action Network, Center for Food Safety and Beyond Pesticides, represented by Earthjustice, filed the legal challenge in the California Superior Court for the County of Alameda, urging the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to stop approving neonicotinoid pesticides pending its completion of a comprehensive scientific review of impacts to honeybees. The DPR began its scientific review in early 2009 after it received evidence that neonicotinoids are killing bees, but five years later, the DPR has yet to take meaningful action to protect bees.

Meanwhile, the DPR has continued to allow increased use of neonicotinoids in California. Yesterday’s lawsuit challenges the DPR’s June 13 decision to expand the use of two powerful neonicotinoid insecticides—sold under the trademarks Venom Insecticide and Dinotefuran 20SG —despite the agency’s still-pending review of impacts to pollinators. The case underscores these larger problems with the DPR’s unwillingness to comply with laws enacted to ensure that pesticides do not threaten human health, agriculture or the environment. Continue reading »

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Jul 05

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New tests find bee-killing pesticides in 51% of “bee-friendly” plants from garden centers across U.S. and Canada (Friends of the Earth, June 25, 2014):

Washington, D.C. – Many “bee-friendly” home garden plants sold at Home Depot (NYSE: HD), Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees, according to a study released today by Friends of the Earth and allies.

The study, Gardeners Beware 2014, shows that 36 out of 71 (51 percent) of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contain neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides — a key contributor to recent bee declines. Some of the flowers contained neonic levels high enough to kill bees outright assuming comparable concentrations are present in the flowers’ pollen and nectar. Further, 40 percent of the positive samples contained two or more neonics. Continue reading »

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Jun 17

Flashback:

Organic Bees Surviving Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

(More info down below.)


bees-gmo

New York March Against Monsanto. Glynnis Jones / Shutterstock.com

Bee Killers Sponsor National Pollinator Week (And 3 Ways They Are Killing Bees) (EcoWatch, June 12, 2014):

Concerned about the bees and the butterflies? Interested in celebrating National Pollinator Week? It’s happening next week, June 16-22.

And it’s brought to you, in part, by none other than Monsanto and Bayer.

In 2007, the U.S. Senate designated a week in June as National Pollinator Week. Every year, the Secretary of Agriculture signs a National Pollinator Week proclamation. As the public has grown increasingly concerned about the link between toxic chemicals and the die-off of bees and monarch butterflies, National Pollinator Week has evolved into the Pollinator Partnership. The Pollinator Partnership is a nonprofit that describes itself as “the largest organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.” Continue reading »

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Aug 26

We are all terrorists now!



YouTube Added: 25.08.2013

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Jul 09


YouTube

Illinois illegally seizes Bees Resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup; Kills remaining Queens (Global Research, May 24, 2013):

The Illinois Ag Dept.  illegally seized privately owned bees from renowned naturalist, Terrence Ingram, without providing him with a search warrant and before the court hearing on the matter, reports Prairie Advocate News.

Behind the obvious violations of his Constitutional rights is Monsanto. Ingram was researching Roundup’s effects on bees, which he’s raised for 58 years.  “They ruined 15 years of my research,” he told Prairie Advocate, by stealing most of his stock.

A certified letter from the Ag Dept.’s Apiary Inspection Supervisor, Steven D. Chard, stated: Continue reading »

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May 25

EU imposes 2-year ban on pesticides believed responsible for mass bee deaths (RT, May 24, 2013):

The European Commission has adopted a two-year-long moratorium on the use of three necotinoid pesticides believed to be one of the reasons behind a 30 percent annual decrease in bee populations since 2007.

EU member-states will now have to amend their existing legislation on the use of pesticides by September 30 to comply with the ban adopted by the EC on Friday.

Continue reading »

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May 13

What could possibly go wrong?

POLLINATION IN CHINA:


Insanity: US Approves Bee Death Pesticide as EU Bans It (Natural Society, May 12, 2013):

Corporate politics is business as usual inside the United States, as I am once again shocked to report the EPA has sided with industry lobbyists over public health in approving a highly dangerous pesticide that the European Union recently decided to ban over fears of environmental devastation. Not only have neonicotinoid pesticides been linked repeatedly to mass bee deaths, also known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), but the continued use of such pesticides threatens other aspects of nature (and humans) as well.What’s even more amazing is that the decision not only comes after the EU publicly discussed the major dangers surrounding the use of the pesticides, but after the USDA released a report surrounding the continued honeybee deaths and the related effects — a report in which they detailed pesticides to be a contributing factor. Just the impact on the honeybees alone, and we now know that these pesticides are killing aquatic life and subsequently the birds that feed upon them, amounts to a potential $200 billion in global damages per year. We’re talking about the devastation of over 100 crops, from apples to avocados and plums.

And there’s countless scientists and a large number of environmental science groups speaking out on this. The EPA has no lack of information the subject. And sure, there are other contributing factors to bee deaths, there’s no question about that. We have an environment right now being hit with Monsanto’s Roundup even in residential areas, we have chemical rain, we have insane amounts of EMF — but it’s pretty clear that neonicotinoid pesticides are at least a major contributing factor. And beyond that, they have no place in the food supply to begin with.

The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) details the EU ban that came right before the EPA acceptance of the death-linked  pesticide: Continue reading »

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Apr 30


Honeybees are vital for pollinating crops

Bee Deaths: EU To Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides (BBC News, April 29, 2013):

The European Commission will restrict the use of pesticides linked to bee deaths by researchers, despite a split among EU states on the issue.

There is great concern across Europe about the collapse of bee populations.

Neonicotinoid chemicals in pesticides are believed to harm bees and the European Commission says they should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators.

Continue reading »

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Jun 30


YouTube Added: 26.06.2012 von RTAmerica

Description:

Agricultural giant Monsanto is best known for their production of pesticides and genetically modified foods, but they have a controversial history as a chemical company with a slew of toxic cover ups. In addition to their battle against small farmers, the
newest buzz about the corporation is the speculation that their GM seeds are linked to the die off of bees. Abby Martin of RT brings us more on their seedy practices and what they are up to now.

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Mar 26

What kills the bees will kill you too. Pesticides and all the other toxic chemicals that poison the food supply have been proven to cause Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and cancer in animals.

This is one of many reasons why I eat organic food.

Flashback: Organic Bees Surviving Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)


New Study Shows Honeybees’ Pollen And Hives Laden With Pesticides.

Food and Farm Disappearing Bees
In this photo taken Monday, March 22, 2010, Workers, from left, Johan Du Preez, Susan Dupreez and Rouxle Crafford clear honey from dead bee hives at a bee farm east of Merced, Calif. The mysterious 4-year-old crisis of disappearing honeybees is deepening. A quick federal survey indicates a heavy bee die-off this winter, while a new study shows honeybees’ pollen and hives laden with pesticides. Two federal agencies along with regulators in California and Canada are scrambling to figure out what is behind this relatively recent threat, ordering new research on pesticides already in use.
(AP)

MERCED, Calif. – The mysterious 4-year-old crisis of disappearing honeybees is deepening. A quick federal survey indicates a heavy bee die-off this winter, while a new study shows honeybees’ pollen and hives laden with pesticides.

Two federal agencies along with regulators in California and Canada are scrambling to figure out what is behind this relatively recent threat, ordering new research on pesticides used in fields and orchards. Federal courts are even weighing in this month, ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overlooked a requirement when allowing a pesticide on the market.

And on Thursday, chemists at a scientific conference in San Francisco will tackle the issue of chemicals and dwindling bees in response to the new study.

Scientists are concerned because of the vital role bees play in our food supply. About one-third of the human diet is from plants that require pollination from honeybees, which means everything from apples to zucchini. Continue reading »

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Oct 20

There are multiple reasons for the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Here is another one from Germany:

Honey Bees starve to death in the middle of summer.

“The bees in Germany suffer of food deprivation in the middle of summer and would die of hunger, if they would not be kept alive with sugared water. Food scarcity in nature is dramatic,” …

German article:

Honigbienen verhungern mitten im Sommer

“Die Honigbienen in Deutschland leiden mitten im Sommer an Futtermangel und würden verhungern, wenn sie nicht vom Imker mit Zuckerwasser am Leben erhalten würden.  „Der Futtermangel in der Natur ist dramatisch“  erklärt Imkermeister Günter Friedmann, Sprecher der biodynamischen Demeter Imker und Träger des Förderpreises ökologischer Landbau. Beobachtungen an seinen eigenen Bienenvölkern und beunruhigende Meldungen von Imkerkollegen aus ganz Deutschland, veranlassen ihn, jetzt einen Alarmruf zu starten..„ Wenn nicht rasch ein Umdenken  und ein neues Handeln in der Landwirtschaft erfolgt, werden wir stumme Sommer erleben – und sehen, dass die Bienen für die Bestäubung und damit auch für die Ernten unersetzlich sind“.

“Friedmann ist seit 30 Jahren Berufsimker, aber „ mit einer solchen Situation wurde ich noch nie konfrontiert“ betont er,“ obwohl sich diese Entwicklung eigentlich seit mehreren Jahren anbahnt und auch zu den Bienenverlusten der letzten Jahre beigetragen hat“ Nach der Rapsblüte, Mitte bis Ende Mai, beginnt für die Bienen in vielen Regionen Deutschlands eine Zeit des Mangels und oft auch des Hungerns. Gerade in den Jahren, in denen es aus dem Wald keinen Honig zu gewinnen gibt, wird deutlich, dass auf den Feldern und Wiesen mittlerweile zu wenig blüht, um den Insekten ausreichend Nahrung zu bieten.”

Full article: Naturkost


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A new study shows that heat can produce a potentially toxic substance in high-fructose corn syrup that can kill honeybees and may also threaten human health.

Researchers have established the conditions that foster formation of potentially dangerous levels of a toxic substance in the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) often fed to honey bees. Their study, which appears in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could also help keep the substance out of soft drinks and dozens of other human foods that contain HFCS. The substance, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), forms mainly from heating fructose.

In the new study, Blaise LeBlanc and Gillian Eggleston and colleagues note HFCS’s ubiquitous usage as a sweetener in beverages and processed foods. Some commercial beekeepers also feed it to bees to increase reproduction and honey production. When exposed to warm temperatures, HFCS can form HMF and kill honeybees. Some researchers believe that HMF may be a factor in Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious disease that has killed at least one-third of the honeybee population in the United States.

The scientists measured levels of HMF in HFCS products from different manufacturers over a period of 35 days at different temperatures. As temperatures rose, levels of HMF increased steadily. Levels jumped dramatically at about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. “The data are important for commercial beekeepers, for manufacturers of HFCS, and for purposes of food storage. Because HFCS is incorporated as a sweetener in many processed foods, the data from this study are important for human health as well,” the report states. It adds that studies have linked HMF to DNA damage in humans. In addition, HMF breaks down in the body to other substances potentially more harmful than HMF.

Continue reading »

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Jun 02

bees

I know this won’t come as a surprise to many of our readers, nor to the many organic beekeepers that have been commenting on our posts, but there have been several reports of organic bee colonies surviving where the ‘industrial’ bee colonies are collapsing. Here is the latest to come to my attention:

Sharon Labchuk is a longtime environmental activist and part-time organic beekeeper from Prince Edward Island…. In a widely circulated email, she wrote:

I’m on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list. The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies.

Her email recommends a visit to the Bush Bees Web site, where Michael Bush felt compelled to put a message to the beekeeping world right on the top page:

Most of us beekeepers are fighting with the Varroa mites. I’m happy to say my biggest problems are things like trying to get nucs through the winter and coming up with hives that won’t hurt my back from lifting or better ways to feed the bees.

This change from fighting the mites is mostly because I’ve gone to natural sized cells. In case you weren’t aware, and I wasn’t for a long time, the foundation in common usage results in much larger bees than what you would find in a natural hive. I’ve measured sections of natural worker brood comb that are 4.6mm in diameter. What most people use for worker brood is foundation that is 5.4mm in diameter. If you translate that into three dimensions instead of one, it produces a bee that is about half as large again as is natural. By letting the bees build natural sized cells, I have virtually eliminated my Varroa and Tracheal mite problems. One cause of this is shorter capping times by one day, and shorter post-capping times by one day. This means less Varroa get into the cells, and less Varroa reproduce in the cells.

Who should be surprised that the major media reports forget to tell us that the dying bees are actually hyper-bred varieties that we coax into a larger than normal body size? It sounds just like the beef industry. And, have we here a solution to the vanishing bee problem? Is it one that the CCD Working Group, or indeed, the scientific world at large, will support? Will media coverage affect government action in dealing with this issue?

These are important questions to ask. It is not an uncommonly held opinion that, although this new pattern of bee colony collapse seems to have struck from out of the blue (which suggests a triggering agent), it is likely that some biological limit in the bees has been crossed. There is no shortage of evidence that we have been fast approaching this limit for some time.

We’ve been pushing them too hard, Dr. Peter Kevan, an associate professor of environmental biology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, told the CBC. And we’re starving them out by feeding them artificially and moving them great distances. Given the stress commercial bees are under, Kevan suggests CCD might be caused by parasitic mites, or long cold winters, or long wet springs, or pesticides, or genetically modified crops. Maybe it’s all of the above… – InformationLiberation

That’s funny – that’s just what I said…

Let’s hear it for the natural/organic beekeepers out there! I hope this CCD incident will reinforce that natural systems respond far better to imitation and cooperation than reductionist arbitrary control. Work within the system, observe and learn. There’s a lot more to nature than meets the eye, or the microscope.

You Tube has removed the VIDEO

Further Reading:

May 15, 2007

Source: Celsias

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May 17

Beekeepers are pointing the finger at a Bayer CropScience pesticide marketed under the name Poncho, but government tests aren’t conclusive

In Germany’s bucolic Baden-Württemburg region, there is a curious silence this week. All up and down the Rhine river, farm fields usually buzzing with bees are quiet. Beginning late last week, helpless beekeepers could only watch as their hives were hit by an unprecedented die-off. Many say one of Germany’s biggest chemical companies is to blame.

In some parts of the region, hundreds of bees per hive have been dying each day. “It’s an absolute bee emergency,” Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeeper’s Association, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “Fifty to 60 percent of the bees have died on average, and some beekeepers have lost all their hives.”

The crisis hit its peak last weekend. Beekeepers from Germany’s Baden-Württemburg reported hives full of thousands of dead bees. The worst-hit region, according to state officials, was along the upper Rhine river between the towns of Rastatt and Lorrach. The Rhine valley is one of Germany’s prime agricultural regions.

Regional officials spent the week testing bees, pollen, honey and plant materials to look for the die-off’s causes. The Julius Kühn Institute in Braunschweig, a federal research institute dealing with agricultural issues, set up a special hotline for beekeepers to send in dead bees for analysis. Continue reading »

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May 14

“The alarm bells are ringing, folks. We have reached the limit of the planet’s ability to absorb our pollution and environmental devastation. I sadly predict the human species if not mature enough to make the necessary forward-thinking changes, and that it will only learn from disaster. That disaster is coming. Prepare to live in a world where food becomes desperately scarce. Prepare to see the human population collapse in almost precisely the same way the honeybee populations are collapsing.”

“As go the insects, so go humans.”

(There is a ongoing discussion weather Einstein said the following or not:

“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.”

If Einstein never said that, would it be less true then? – The Infinite Unknown)
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(NaturalNews) The ongoing phenomenon of mysterious honeybee deaths is starting to raise alarm in the food industry, which depends heavily on bees to pollinate many critical crops. “Honeybee health and sustainable pollination is a major issue facing American agriculture that is threatening our food supply and endangering our natural environment,” said Diana Cox-Foster of Penn State.

I tend to think that honeybees are simply “on strike.” They’re tired of being slave workers for the very humans who continue to destroy their habitat, pollute their air and water, and steal the labors of their hard work (honey, bee pollen and free pollination services).

Honeybees pollinate 130 different crops, which supply $15 billion worth of food and ingredients each year. One out of every three bites of food on your dinner plate was made possible by honeybee pollination. Continue reading »

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May 08

A survey of bee health released Tuesday revealed a grim picture, with 36.1 percent of the nation’s commercially managed hives lost since last year.

Last year’s survey commissioned by the Apiary Inspectors of America found losses of about 32 percent.

As beekeepers travel with their hives this spring to pollinate crops around the country, it’s clear the insects are buckling under the weight of new diseases, pesticide drift and old enemies like the parasitic varroa mite, said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of the group.

This is the second year the association has measured colony deaths across the country. This means there aren’t enough numbers to show a trend, but clearly bees are dying at unsustainable levels and the situation is not improving, said vanEngelsdorp, also a bee expert with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

“For two years in a row, we’ve sustained a substantial loss,” he said. “That’s an astonishing number. Imagine if one out of every three cows, or one out of every three chickens, were dying. That would raise a lot of alarm.” Continue reading »

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Apr 15

honey-bee-9808

Our previous posts on the mysterious bee disappearances (here, here, and here) have been a very interesting exercise. We’ve had great feedback from farmers, amateur and professional beekeepers, scientists, and dozens of other interested/concerned observers. In the meantime, accumulating reports tell us that the problem is not constrained to the U.S. alone – but that, to one degree or another, empty hives are becoming common in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Poland, and now possibly the UK. Canada, so far, seems unsure if they have the problem, or not. We’ve now also had unconfirmed reports from Brazil.

Personally, I believe situations like this are an opportune moment for reflection – a time to humbly consider a few realities, and perhaps learn a few lessons. Of significance to me is the fact that scientists haven’t got this figured out as yet. It begs the question – which is easier, when dealing with the infinitely complex interactions of nature: 1) predicting specific consequences to our ‘tinkering’ before they occur, or 2) understanding how something happened after-the-fact? I would have thought the latter was the easiest – you know the old saying, “hindsight is a wonderful thing”. Looking back at the results, following the trail of clues, is a lot less challenging than postulating over what could happen. Or, to put it into a framework that might be better understood – if Sherlock Holmes, expert in crime scene deductions, were to turn his attention to predicting crimes rather than solving them, how would he have fared? Short of the kind of psychic predictive skills seen in Minority Report-type science fiction movies, I don’t expect he’d fare so well.

What am I on about, you ask? Simply this – too many people hand scientists the keys to the car, as it were, and bid them take it wherever their employer wishes. Our governments do this, and too many either encourage it, or stand by and let it happen. When the PR departments that front these scientists portray a glorious new world where man manages to, with perfect and meticulous coordination, juggle all the intricacies of the natural world in one hand, whilst cashing in on it and providing world peace and equality with the other – we believe it. Yet, how can we have so much confidence in their ability to read the future, when they are unable to decipher the past and present – a task that should be a damned sight simpler, no?

As Australians are benefiting from an export boom in bees to the U.S., and while the best recommendations from the groups that have been tasked with finding solutions to these problems are to advise which chemicals to use and which not to (PDF), I will list some of the possible causes for the present pollination crisis below (I call it a pollination crisis here, rather than a honeybee crisis, because there are other pollinators that would be lending us a hand – if we hadn’t driven them into exile): Continue reading »

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Mar 26

The pollination of crops by bees is responsible for a third of the food produced in the US.

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The US bee population fell by about 30% last year

One in every three mouthfuls has been touched by their tiny feet; but our six-legged friends are in trouble.

They are getting sick and leaving their hives. Without bees, food gets more expensive – some products could disappear altogether.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) emerged last year, and by spring 2007 bees were dying in huge numbers – over the year as a whole the total bee population fell by 30%.

Some beekeepers lost closer to 90%, and the fear is it will get worse. Continue reading »

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Mar 14

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( Commentary from the Infinite Unknown:
There will be FOOD SHORTAGES very soon !!!

“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.” – Albert Einstein )

Without a trace, something is causing bees to vanish by the thousands. But a new task force hopes to finger the culprit and save the valuable crops that rely on the insects.

Pennsylvania beekeeper Dave Hackenberg was the first beekeeper to report to bee researchers what’s become known as colony collapse disorder (CCD).

In October Hackenberg had delivered honeybees to a Florida farm to pollinate crops. The bees typically return to their boxed hives when their work is done. But this time was different.”I came to pick up 400 bee colonies and the bees had just flat-out disappeared,” Hackenberg said. “There were no dead bees, no bees on the ground, just empty boxes.”

“In almost 50 years as a beekeeper, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

CCD has spread throughout 24 states and ruined hundreds of thousands of bee colonies.

Hackenberg has lost roughly 1,900 of his 2,900 hives. Other operators have lost up to 90 percent of their hives. Continue reading »

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