Bees Vanishing, but are they Dying

zephyrayMay 18, 2007

In the thread "Colony Collapse Disorder & food crops - List?" ccrb1 says In fact, this is a bumper year so far for me for swarm pick up calls.

This is what I've been reading. I am wondering though if perhaps this might represent something else. In other words, everyone's been assuming that the bees are dying (which may be the case, I don't know), but I'm wondering if perhaps what's happening is that the bees are simply abandoning their contaminated hives and relocating enmasse, some to the countryside others to the city. All people really seem to know is that they are "vanishing" but they are not finding piles of the little guys. I've seen lots of stories lately about large bee swarms in town. Unfortunately some bozos are panicing and spraying them on sight.

Some links:

http://www.kfdm.com/news/bees_20379___article.html/bee_apartment.html

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=189093

http://www.oxfordmail.net/display.var.1394161.0.swarm_of_bees_invades_houses.php

http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=67491

http://www.helenair.com/articles/2007/05/04/helena_top/a01050407_01.txt

http://www.chicoer.com/oroville/ci_5789094

http://www.kxly.com/news/?sect_rank=1§ion_id=559&story_id=10888

http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/viewarticle.aspx?id=493405

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=75293

http://www.kvbc.com/Global/story.asp?S=6514278&nav=15MV

http://cbs4denver.com/topstories/local_story_137085020.html

http://wcbstv.com/watercooler/watercooler_story_133183332.html

http://www.caboodle.hu/nc/news/news_archive/single_page/article/11/firefighters/?cHash=53bc2c0731

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/oddities/story.html?id=d02c9353-ee44-4090-8ff5-75a6ac7c5a0a&k=93126

http://www.courierpress.com/news/2007/may/14/bees-swarm-sapling-new-chandler'>chandler-subdivision/

http://www.napavalleyregister.com/articles/2007/05/15/opinion/commentary/iq_3951568.txt

Another beekeeper has noticed the increase and says "I think with all these wild bees that are invading the homes, it's possible we have something very positive going on here" http://www.dailynews.com/santaclarita/ci_5883227

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joel_bc(z6 BC)

Who knows? I certainly don't. The local honey-bee population in my valley - kept by small-scale farmers and gardeners - seems healthier than it was five years ago.

Nevertheless, the issue still stands: if the honey bees are depended upon for pollination in the various regions of North America (and elsewhere) where large-scale, agribiz beekeeping is the conventional method, then pollination may well be reduced in those areas due to the bees not being where the big agribiz farms/orchards need them to be. The result, then, may be low levels of harvest, crop failues, etc. And that in turn would no doubt drive prices up for some food and forage items. Here I'm just discussing possible impacts on status-quo farming & orcharding.

This isn't a message in favor of big-scale beekeeping or agribiz, though. I like modest-scale farms, home-scale gardening and beek keeping, etc.

Joel

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 4:07PM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

I've picked up about 7 swarms so far this spring, and my losses last winter were about 30%, the same for the previous two years.

It looks like our state has just turned RED on the CCD map but that only takes one beekeeper and isn't verified with an inspection or analysis.

I did read that 2007 is a bumper year for almonds. Go figure.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 12:15AM
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joel_bc(z6 BC)

Quote: "I did read that 2007 is a bumper year for almonds. Go figure."

Does that simply mean (at this stage, in the spring) that there were a lot of blossoms on the almond trees? Or are the trees past that stage and showing developing nut pods?

Joel

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 10:02AM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

I'm not sure I understand the question. Almonds bloom in February, so I think the report is more than wishful thinking. I don't know if they've been harvested or not, but the point is, pollination was good.

Considering an absence of honeybees means crop failure, this news flies in the face of the general news about honeybees.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 9:45PM
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joel_bc(z6 BC)

Okay, thanks. I don't live in almond country, so I didn't know when the bloom time was. What you're saying is that when the trees bloomed, they were adequately pollinated. Great to hear.

Even among those states where CCD has been reported, it probably almost never means ALL of the agricultural areas throughout the whole state being impacted. From what little info I've been able to find and read (or hear on the radio), CCD is something that's being taken very seriously; but it's not affecting every place or every scale & form of bee keeping.

As you are saying, "the general news" is simply that: the GENERAL news. There seem to be lots of exceptions.

Joel

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 3:23PM
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jamesg(konahawaii)

I remember when the russians, er I mean the African bees were coming. Whatever happened with that? I will never forget the scientists who wanted to erect a 'trap barrier' somewhere in the isthmus (Central America) to stop the assault of the African bees.
Somehow, bees arouse a lot of interest/controversy, and the bees disappearing is 1--good press and 2--a good reason to get grant money to 'study' the situation.
My bees are doing fine. So, call me a skeptic. I don't believe it's the end of the bee world.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 8:24PM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

well my state just got turned red on the map. The researcher in charge of the map said, that does not necessarily mean there is a current state of CCD in Indiana.

I had one dead out, that looks like it could have been CCD except there was no brood left in it. No matter what it *could* be I placed a swarm in it, and if they survive it's not CCD.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 1:34AM
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joel_bc(z6 BC)

Well, it's spring 2008 now. There was a lot of press & a lot of discussion about CCD last year. But this thread of ours seemed to dispel all distress or concern... Pollination, in general, was just fine in 2007 -- there were bumper crops. No worries.

So is this how the judgment stands? Honey bees don't matter very much to the large-scale ag industries?

Or the CCD problem was more hype than reality?

Joel

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 11:09AM
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vancleaveterry

I'm curious too. Let's see some reports from people in this forum.

My grandfather had a small honey company in the 1940's through 1970's in Edgewood Iowa. I hope to someday follow his footsteps.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 10:29AM
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slinky

bump this thread- any more news to report so far this spring?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 3:17PM
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