Has anyone seen the video of the parasitic fly emerging from the host bee's abdomen?
There are MULTIPLE reasons. Over use of chemical pesticides, herbacides and insectisides, coupled with lack of habitat, and use of cell phones.
WHen any animal is stressed they are more suceptable to diseases, like parasites.
The title is a bit misleading, but the article mentions how cell transmissions stress bees.
You got that right... Stressed plants also invite disease. In the never ending adjustments towards homeostasis, stress is a given. If it's not one thing, it's the other, till the fly knock them off.
I believe the word suspected needs to be inserted between multiple and causes as far as reasons go. Many possible causes have been investigated, some rejected and none embraced conclusively as being even part of causation as I understand it. Cell phones in particular have very flimsy evidence involved IMO, after reading the research and expert analysis. I'm sure Olpea can comment on this more authoritatively than I.
The only way to ID the CCD is when the colony collapses. The bees appear healthy, with good stores of honey, pollen, etc., then one day they are all gone. That's part of the mystery of it, the other of course is the cause, or causes, as you've mentioned...
Native bees and biodynamic beekeeping methods are two possible solutions to this...
And what is the scientific evidence of biodynamic bee keeping being the cure for CCD?
"native bees"? Do you mean ferrals?
While there are many native bees that are wonderful pollinators, there are no native honeybees in North America..at least not for a couple hundred thousand years.
There are some groups keeping tabs on feral bees, with the hopes are finding successful feral colonies to further study them to determine what is making them successful. I have had a feral colony in a tree near my house going on five years now. I am old enough to remember 'wild' bee trees being rather common, and after a bit of concern having a feral colony so near to our habitation, I am estatic as they are gentle and certainly welcome to my gardens and orchard. I notice they work in cooler conditions than kept bees, and have been watching them over the years to see their flower preferences. So far, hands down, it's been the rows of broccoli I let go to seed a couple years ago. Go figure. LOL.
"The only way to ID the CCD is when the colony collapses"
So you're saying that a collapsed colony is exclusively CCD? What is any other qualifying criteria other than absence of evidence? Here we got the fly in the lens like it's a new phenomenon. Isn't this agent bound to challenge some of our assumptions? Paradigm paralysis of the bee's demise.
I've heard of allowing the bees to design their own comb instead of proscribing a pattern for them to mold on as a deterrent to Varroa mites.
First of all, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of native bees in North America. Not feral honeybees, but rather native species. Few of them are managed for honey like the European Honeybee which is a fabulous generalist evolved to build up a large surplus of honey to support a colony of many individuals through the winter.
Most native species are far better pollinators than honeybees since they are more specialized to a certain crop. A few orchard mason bees for instance, do the job of a colony of many thousands of honeybees when it comes to spring flowering fruit trees. Masons, leafcutters, and alkali bees are just a few of the native species now being managed on an industrial scale for pollination.
As far as biodynamic beekeeping methods go, I've just used this title because it encapsulates all of the alternative practices for which the scientific proof is simply that bees experience fewer problems under this kind of care:
1. bees are allowed to design their own comb as Noogy mentioned,
2. not treated with medications,
3. not trucked around the country,
4. not bothered with regular hive inspections,
5. allowed to produce their own queens naturally
6. allowed to forage on pesticide free plantings
The list could go on, and includes many things that people who have never heard of biodynamics are already doing... it's an appropriate term since the biodynamic standards have required all of these things for years.
Ive read research a bit ago. They turned on a cell phone and activly transmitted signals, in a box with bees, and the bees freaked out. They did this with a control box and others, the bees only freaked out in the box with the transmitting cell phone.... Im not saying its THE cause, or its only that, but I havnt heard anything refuting it.
As for the pesticides etc, thats common sence. You strip natural praries/forest habitat, which have massive biodiversity, and replace that with a monoculture. Since you dont want any other plants or animals disturbing your crops, you soak it with insectisicide and herbacides. THis forces you to use massive amounts of synthetic ferts...
Agricultural sprays arent generally species specific. IF they were, we wouldnt have Monsanto GMO food, that is resistant to the agricultural chemicals used.
The bees have no habitat, arent native here, and are being poisoned. I would be stressed too. IT isnt to far off from the fish disease "ich". The fish gets stressed, and gets more suceptible to the parasite, that it wouldnt normaly be bothered by. SOmething with the composition of the water, or husbandry is stressing the fish to the point its getting sick. Not to mention the climate hasnt been its relative "stable" self the last 2 decades.
There are multiple reasons as to why they would bee ( had too ) having problems, and the odds are more then one of those possibilities are a reality.
"first of all" no one said there were not many species of native bees.
But you proposed them as a possible solution to CCD. Since CCD has not been observed in these natives (Although there is some recent concern with Bumbles) I asked you to clarify....how can an unaffected species provide a solution to CCD? A solution to the pollination gap created by CCD sure, but that doesn't help the honeybees. Ferrals on the other hand may offer some resistant/resilient genetics.
I am all for treatment free bee-keeping, foundationles/natural comb, and many of the other things you listed. But folks keeping bees that way are still experiencing substantial colony losses, possibly even more than others(with the exception of the big migratory outfits). Unfortunately there are many variables that are outside of the bee-keepers sphere of influence. At best it can be argued that type of bee-keeping provides a potential path to recovery. I like to believe so and that's why I keep our bees that way.
To address your original post. The Phriod fly has been making a lot of news the last few months. It is news worthy in that no one had realized that it could use honeybees as a host before. And at the end stages bees do fly off and "disappear" to die. But the fly is a native to North America and has been present long before CCD. It could be that stressed bees are more susceptible to it and it might even be a contributor to the problem, but no-one has found an infestation level anywhere near high enough to account for CCD.
I've been pretty busy lately and just catching up on some forum reading.
There was a pretty interesting Webinar a couple months ago regarding new CCD research involving several universities.
The Webinar was 30 min. long. The jist of it was:
1. There still isn't a consensus among on what is causing CCD.
2. Mostly it is thought to be a combination of factors with plain old Varroa mites being the main contributor. Cell phone signals are no longer thought to be of any significance regarding CCD.
3. The new research focused on Neonics. This idea is not new, as parts of Europe banned some seed treatments of neonics and did not see a subsequent reduction in CCD. CCD also occurs in areas where no row crops are grown within foraging distance of the bees.
The part that is new is the study of the lethality index of some of the neonics used in seed treatments in conjunction with how the product is used and the lethal and sub-lethal effects on bees.
Basically seed treatments are something fairly new. They been a boon to farmers as they've drastically reduced damage to crops from not only root feeding pests, but also pests that attack the above ground portion of the plants, thereby reducing the need for field sprayed pesticides.
Two seed treatment compounds are basically used - clothianidin and thiamethoxam. Both have fairly long half-lives and are systemic products. Clothianidin is more lethal of the two, but clothianidin is one of the break-down components of thiamehtoxam.
The problem is that because clothianidin does such a good job at protecting the plants, it's also around when the plant blooms. It's very very toxic to bees when they ingest the pollen.
Another problem is the planters need to be cleaned of dust after use. Planters have built in blowers to accomplish this. Unfortunately with treated seed, the dust is mostly pesticide. It's a fairly concentrated mass that's blown out and can have high concentrations of the compound where it settles. Currently seed planter cleaning does not fall under EPA pesticide application guidelines. I look for this to change soon in the future.
4. The other part of the research focused on residential use of imidacloprid. Apparently this neonic is used heavily by homeowners and landscape professionals to protect ornamental shrubs and trees. It poses the same problem to bees as seed treatments. Blooming plants grown in ground treated with imidacloprid can (and probably will) have pollen toxic to bees.
The issue is the sheer number of acres treated with these compounds. The land planted to seed treated row crops combined with the residential use of imidacloprid covers a sizable portion of bee habitat.
Fruit growing (both hobby and professional) cover a much much smaller area and thereby have a much smaller potential impact. Clothianidin is approved for fruits and perhaps should be required to be re-registered to make sure it does not pose undue risk to bees when used on fruits. It is used after bloom. Because of this new research, I will probably never use Clutch (clothianidin) on my trees. Imidacloprid is approved for fruits but is ineffective against major tree fruit pests and is probably used very little except by homeowners. Thiamethoxam (Actara) is used for tree fruits and is very effective against plum curc and brown mamorated stink bug. It is used after bloom though, and limited to 2 applications per season.
Not all neonics have the same effect on bees, but it's likely some people will lump them together. Other neonics used on fruit, acetamiprid (Assail) ect., have not been implicated. Acetamiprid is much less toxic to bees than clothianidin and is not used before bloom.
Insecticides vary greatly on their insecticidal effect of, not only insect pests, but also non-target insects. There are broad spectrum insecticides like pyrethroids and organophosphates, but there are also more species specific insecticides like diamides that target lepidopterous moths. Intrepid (diacylhydrazine class) is so safe to honeybees, it is approved for use at bloom, yet is very lethal to lepidoptera.
It appears that insecticides may play a role in CCD, but not all insecticides, and not even all neonicotinoids are at fault. Commercial beekeepers also use insecticides on their hives. Although I'm sure there are exceptions, most experienced beekeepers will tell you the days of keeping bees without treating the hives are over. Varroa mites have seen to that.
windfall, I have to apologize for the tone of my last post... after re-reading yours I clearly saw that you were saying there were no native HONEYbees. That's not entirely accurate, since there are several native species of stingless bees managed for honey production in Mexico, but that's in the tropics, and the extreme edge of North America. The reason I seemed testy is that I've seen the "there are no native species here..." quoted too many times in error, including several times about bees. You are obviously very knowledgeable.
Native bees could be a solution to the pollination crisis brought on by the decline of the honeybee, but not for the production of honey. Of the two, I imagine the former service provided by bees is far more important financially and in terms of food production. Maybe honey will become rare and costly... and perhaps valued as the precious resource it is. Certainly then the bees would be treated better than they are today.
I used Thiamethoxam on some PC damaged plums last season. The curative effect is very strong (all the fruit held and ripened). I just hand sprayed a few fruit.
Its too bad they couldn't find a neonic that was just as strong, but not as long lasting (something that breaks down quickly). Maybe it already exists?
I've read that when compared to nicotine, Imidacloprid is 10,000 times as strong an insecticide. No wonder even a small amount can be so deadly to insects.
no worries, tone is tough on the intetnet and we all get touchy about some things.
Thanks for taking the time to provide the synopsis there is some good info in there and I think you boiled it down nicely. As well as the reminder that not all the neonics are created "equal".
I know I have been guilty of lumping them together at times, it is an inaccurate thing to do and just clouds the discussion.
Olpea - "2. Mostly it is thought to be a combination of factors with plain old Varroa mites being the main contributor. Cell phone signals are no longer thought to be of any significance regarding CCD."
Can you link me a legit source of the latter? Again, I try to keep tabs on this situation, and have not found what you stated about the cell phone signals.
"Can you link me a legit source of the latter? Again, I try to keep tabs on this situation, and have not found what you stated about the cell phone signals."
I believe the cell phone theory was somewhat speculative from the beginning. I read new information about CCD when I can and don't see any of the researchers mentioning cell phone signals as a viable link.
According to the USDA (link below) "...do cell phones have anything to do with CCD?"
The short answer is no.
There was a very small study done in Germany that looked at whether a particular type of base station for cordless phones could affect honey bee homing systems. But, despite all the attention that this study has received, it has nothing to do with CCD. Stefan Kimmel, the researcher who conducted the study and wrote the paper, recently e-mailed The Associated Press to say that there is "no link between our tiny little study and the CCD-phenomenon ... anything else said or written is a lie."
I think the problem with the cell phone studies is that they are not peer reviewed. Probably because placing a cell phone in or underneath a bee hive then measuring the bee's response isn't very realistic, since in real life no one places telephone calls from those locations.
Even Favre, whose tests with cell phones keep this theory alive, acknowledges his tests do not demonstrate any link between cell phones and CCD.
Here is a link that might be useful: ARS - Questions & Answers on CCD
This thread needs the link below, which updates the topic. High fructose corn syrup laced with imidicloprid is a major factor. It interferes with the bees' ability to find their way home. These new studies involved numerous home and commercial beekeepers in Massachusetts.
Biodynamic beekeepers allow bees to keep much more of their own honey for winter use, and do little supplemental feeding, and then they use honey rather than sugar. A local biodynamic beekeeper says his bees are doing fine.
Here is a link that might be useful: honeybees and high fructose corn syrup
Great article below
Bees got 99 problems but a beeotch aint one!