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Tue Apr 5, 2016, 04:06 PM

Near 20-Year High: Bee-pocalypse Postponed Again, Until 2017

Despite the hype, there’s still no bee-pocalypse. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department Agriculture released its latest count of commercial honeybee hives, and although the figure dipped 2.9 percent from the 20-year record-high set in 2014, the overall count of 2.7 million hives in 2015 remains strong. You wouldn’t know it from the news coverage.

~~~

This is where the bait-and-switch comes into play. It’s absolutely true that there were more managed honeybees in the 1940s. Bees were part of the war effort, producing wax used to coat guns and ammunition. So when the war ended, subsidies were introduced to prop up the beekeeping industry.[3] Thanks to Uncle Sam’s support, bee populations peaked at around 5.5 million in the 1950s, then gradually dropped to around 2.6 million in the mid-1990s.

None of that drop can be attributed to neonics, because they only came on the market in the mid-1990s, and didn’t exist in that five decade period of decline.

Now, the national bee numbers did decline at bit around the year 2005 -- to 2.4 million. That was the year in which colony collapse disorder (CCD) struck. The term that describes the unexplained death or disappearance of a hive’s adult bees.

As USDA puts it, “No scientific cause for CCD has been proven.”[4] Activists see the lack of a clear cause as a wide-open opportunity to come up with their own explanation. So they blame neonics.

Calmer minds reflecting on the evidence conclude that the CCD phenomenon existed long before the scientists who invented neonics were even born. Indeed, the November 19, 1868 edition of the Louisville Democrat described CCD-like symptoms with the headline: “Extraordinary exodus of honey bees—They abandon their winter stores and disappear.”[5] Throughout history, CCD has come and gone, and right now, it has gone. There hasn’t been a case in four to five years.[6]

Pesticide seed treatments didn’t exist in the middle of the 19th century, but disease did ravage hives, just as it does now.[7] The USDA has already identified the primary suspect that has been spreading disease: “The parasitic mite Varroa destructor remains the single most detrimental pest of honey bees.”[8] This blood-sucking creature latches onto young bees, injecting over a dozen types of debilitating viruses that can devastate entire hives.


More with links at the source http://www.science20.com/news_articles/near_20year_high_beepocalypse_postponed_again_until_2017-169496?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

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Reply Near 20-Year High: Bee-pocalypse Postponed Again, Until 2017 (Original post)
progressoid Apr 2016 OP
NickB79 Apr 2016 #1
HuckleB Apr 2016 #2

Response to progressoid (Original post)

Tue Apr 5, 2016, 05:25 PM

1. Personally, I'm more concerned about the decline of native bees

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/21/wild-bees-population-decline-agriculture-farming-california-midwest

The study estimated that wild bee numbers diminished in 23% of the continental United States between 2008 and 2013 in a trend driven by conversion of their natural habitat into farmland including corn for biofuel production.
Pesticides blamed for bee declines widespread in US waterways
Read more

Pesticides and diseases were cited as other factors behind the declines among the roughly 4,000 US species of wild bees.

“Wild bees help pollinate many of our most nutritious crops, support natural ecosystems and contribute over $3bn to the US economy each year,” Ricketts said.

Their decline may prompt greater dependence on commercial honeybee colonies for pollinating crops, but honeybee numbers also are falling, added Gund Institute researcher Insu Koh, the lead author of the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Response to progressoid (Original post)

Fri Apr 22, 2016, 11:50 AM

2. K & R!

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