In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Bees Dying Without Cause

Posted by seumasach on March 19, 2010

Establishing Why Bees Die Off


11th January, 2010

For likely cause of death click here

Over the past three years, millions upon millions of bees have perished all over the world, leaving naturalists, biologists and the bee industry astonished. Cataloged as one of the largest colony-collapse disorders in known history, the decline began in 2006, and experts immediately set out to discover the cause behind these events. Though preliminary investigations bore no fruit, scientists have finally managed to crack the riddle. However, they have discovered that no single problem can be blamed for the disaster. The research group has identified a heavily intertwined web of issues that causes the bees to die off

Bee scientist Frances Ratnieks, from the University of Sussex, in Brighton, the UK, says that no single substance, virus or natural cause can explain the mass demise of bee colonies. Britain is one of the countries most severely affected by this decline, with a large proportion of its bee populations already dead or dying. In a review published in a recent issue of the top journal Science, the expert believes that factors ranging from the loss of foraging grounds to the increased exposure to global pathogens may be playing a role in this extinction.

“We may conclude that colonies are dying for different reasons in different parts of the world and I would say that if that is the case, I would not be the least bit surprised,” she tells Wired. “It is certainly a case in the modern world, pathogens can be transmitted from one corner of the world to an another quickly.” The expert also says that she believes the problems bees have are systematic, and that they cannot be treated with a simple pesticide, or similar approach. For example, numerous pests, viruses and parasites have been identified as stressors to bees, and each of these microorganisms can circle the world very fast, due to the ease of travel we enjoy.

“Even though the U.S. is a big country, what shows up in one part of the country shows up in the other parts of the country in no-time flat,” Ratnieks says of the pathogens. “It’s harder to keep a hive alive now. It used to be with bees in America, if the hive was alive and thriving, chances are the hive would be alive and thriving the next year. Now, they are feeding their hives with supplements and feeding them with chemicals, they are having to peddle pedal quite hard just to keep their hives alive,” she adds. Further loss of bee colonies would be devastating. Crops and wild vegetation relies on them for pollination, and if that doesn’t happen, we may unwillingly witness an agricultural disaster of epic proportions

One Response to “Bees Dying Without Cause”

  1. Gerry Collins said

    Frances Ratnieks is a man so why use the word “she” in this report. Someone has not done their homework !

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