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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:05 PM
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Honeybees Try to Protect Hives Against Pesticides
Honeybees 'Entomb' Hives to Protect Against Pesticides, say Scientists

By sealing up cells full of contaminated pollen, bees appear to be attempting to protect the rest of the hive
by Fiona Harvey

Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert.


'Entombed' pollen is identified as having sunken, wax-covered cells amid 'normal', uncapped cells. Photograph: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon bees "entombing" or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighbouring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees.
"This is a novel finding, and very striking. The implication is that the bees are sensing and actually sealing it off. They are recognising that something is wrong with the pollen and encapsulating it," said Jeff Pettis, an entomologist with the US Department of Agriculture. "Bees would not normally seal off pollen."

But the bees' last-ditch efforts to save themselves appear to be unsuccessful the entombing behaviour is found in many hives that subsequently die off, according to Pettis. "The presence of entombing is the biggest single predictor of colony loss. It's a defence mechanism that has failed." These colonies were likely to already be in trouble, and their death could be attributed to a mix of factors in addition to pesticides, he added.
Bees are also sealing off pollen that contains substances used by beekeepers to control pests such as the varroa mite, another factor in the widespread decline of bee populations. These substances may also be harmful to bees, Pettis said. "Beekeepers - and I am one need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask what we are doing," he said. "Certainly have effects on bees. It's a balancing act if you do not control the parasite, bees die. If you control the parasite, bees will live but there are side-effects. This has to be managed."

The decline of bee populations has become an increasing concern in recent years. "Colony collapse disorder", the name given to the unexplained death of bee colonies, is affecting hives around the world. Scientists say there are likely to be numerous reasons for the die-off, ranging from agricultural pesticides to bee pests and diseases, pollution, and intensive farming, which reduces bee habitat and replaces multiple food sources with single, less nutritious, sources. Globalisation may also be a factor, as it spreads bee diseases around the world, and some measures taken to halt the deaths such as massing bees in huge super-hives can actually contribute to the problem, according to a recent study by the United Nations.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/04/06-6
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:08 PM
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1. Not putting it in the ocean. More of a sense of community than humans? (nt)
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Dennis Donovan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:14 PM
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2. The Honeybees. We need them:
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:29 PM
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3. They're fighting to live and we're murdering them.
We are insane.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:38 PM
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4. Recommend
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nc4bo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:43 PM
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5. The bees are the main reason why I let my turnip, kale, collard, broccoli and rape go to seed
in the garden. Looks messy until you get up close and there are tons and tons of bees of every sort gathering pollen.

Love my honeybees - happy to say they are plentiful and I hope they stay that way.

Back OT - mankind, yet again, on a path of self destruction.
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crikkett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. You're my hero today ;)
yay bees!
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 01:06 AM
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7. +100!
:yourock:
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