Bees go AWOL

In my days as a ‘current events avoider’, I still managed to a fear of the loss of honey bees.  As the greatest, most diverse , and most widespread pollinator, we owe this little creature just about everything we eat, grow, or wear.  Outside of the value of honey as a crop, beekeeping can provide additional income to those who travel with their hives to aid crop fertilization, making it a lucrative profession both in America and third world countries.  But it seems like there’s always a threat to these ventures:  mites, fungus, Africanized bees, or even pesticides.

A recent survey of 19% of the commercial bee industry in the U.S. showed losses of 32% over the past year.  True, this survey investigated only the largest operators, but a general trend can be induced from the study.  Just imagine if 1/3 of the people in your office died over the course of a year, or 1/3 of the businesses in your area were closed.  Now imagine that, in addition to rising food prices and the scarcity of certain crops due to their use as biofuel, the loss of 1/3 or more of this year’s crop due to a lack of fertilization.

The most interesting part of the situation, however, is the loss of bees and entire hives to CCD, colony collapse disorder.  Basically, the bees of a hive get fed up, or depressed, or disillusioned with the leadership of their hives, and wander off on their own.  They die alone, the queen dies by herself, and honey production stops, starving off the next generation.  Science has yet to determine a cause, but I have my own theory:  we’ve taught them well.

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5 Comments

  1. Craig Vallelunga said,

    May 7, 2008 at 9:46 am

    I don’t know about you, but this scares the hell out of me. I don’t know why more people are not paying attention to this. They sure as heck will when the can no longer put food on their table because crops aren’t being pollinated. This is a SERIOUS issue that needs to be addressed.

  2. kevin said,

    May 7, 2008 at 9:57 am

    …prepare your hearts and your minds. we haven’t much time left…

  3. Barry said,

    May 7, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I was reading someplace that a new pesticide had been developed that didn’t kill insects but destroyed thier short term memory and made them forget what they where doing. so they would just fly away.
    If true it could be whats happenoing to the bees.
    I havent been able to investigate this further or find anything else about it.
    anybody else see this?

  4. Amy said,

    May 7, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I agree with Kevin – we are living in the last days of earth existence – and we are crying over oil? Go figure… the Lord promised to return – he’s closer that we all think.

  5. Susan Mix said,

    May 19, 2008 at 11:56 am

    All kinds of creatures no longer live on this earth, (thanks to mankind) but we only worry about the ones that we find useful. I don’t think it is the last days of the planet, but maybe the last days of the most invasive species – humans.


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