Honeybee Mystery: Solved?

For years now, scientists have been trying to determine why honeybees are suddenly falling off the face of the earth, and activists have been demanding a solution. Honeybees don’t just provide us with the sticky sweetener Winnie the Pooh loved so much – they are essential pollinators for many of our most important crops. Without pollinators, it is impossible for the agriculture of certain plants to occur on the scale necessary to sustain our population. This team of French scientists has apparently pinpointed the widespread use of insecticides as the cause of dwindling honeybee populations. Why has the production of fruits and vegetables come to these drastic measures? Are they really necessary? In the past, natural solutions were the only ones available for natural problems – to me it seems that reverting to the old ways (with a few possible improvements) is the only viable option if we want to save the bees (and therefore ourselves).

5 thoughts on “Honeybee Mystery: Solved?

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  2. I think the best report I have heard about the problems honeybees are having relates to the various stresses they have. Pesticides are just one. Reduction in variety of forage is another. (Less variety in what farmers grow, moves towards monoculture and fewer hedges which give good mini ecosystems) the fact that hives in places like London, UK are doing quite well rather supports this – lots of gardens and parks give variety. The varroa mite is a third – the mites feed on the fluids in both the adult bees and the larvae weakening the bee and making it susceptible to viruses. The mites can also carry the viruses to the weakened bees.
    In the UK it is believed that few feral colonies of bees could exist as the treatments given by the beekeepers help them survive – no beekeeper to treat them means eventual death of the colony. Ron Hoskins in Swindon has bred bees that groom themselves (hence getting rid of the mites) and the mesh floors we now use in beehives means the mites are less likely to just climb back up. There was a great countryfile video article about the way Ron artificially inseminates the bees having discovered varieties that were grooming off the mites – Ron Hoskins is trying to flood his area with male bees with the tendency to groom. There is an interview with Ron on you tube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU0DBZgf4_s

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