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Scientists Isolate and Treat Parasite Causing Decline in Honey Bee Population

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the buzzing-with-excitement dept.

Science 182

In a recent report, a team of scientists from Spain claims to have isolated and treated the parasite causing honey bee depopulation syndrome. Their hope is to prevent the continued decline of honey bee populations in Europe and the US. "The loss of honey bees could have an enormous horticultural and economic impact worldwide. Honeybees are important pollinators of crops, fruit and wild flowers and are indispensable for a sustainable and profitable agriculture as well as for the maintenance of the non-agricultural ecosystem. Honeybees are attacked by numerous pathogens including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites."

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A Day in the Life of Debbie Gibson (1, Offtopic)

Reikk (534266) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707683)

A Day in the Life of Debbie G1bs0n

A silver tear rolled down Debbie's perfect cheek as she slowly lowered her
sleek young body into the white marble bathtub. When she was younger, a nice
hot bubble bath was all she needed to raise her spirits, but now it seemed that
nothing would calm her troubled soul. Life wasn't easy for the teenage singing
sensation. It seemed that no matter what she did, no one would take her work

"Trite," the critics had called her last album. "Trite, cheesy and
sappy." Debbie shuddered and began to weep harder. These were her innermost
feelings they were poking fun at. If "Lost in Your Eyes" and "No More Rhyme"
weren't heartfelt reflections of the depth of the human soul - she didn't know
what was. And surely "Electric Youth" was the most inspirational song about
youthful potential since David Bowie's "Changes." But still her finest works
were ridiculed by those too emotionally and intellectually immature to fully
understand them.

But Debbie's musical career wasn't what was bothering her, and she knew it
all too well. Her real problem was that she could no longer go on ignoring the
feelings that were swelling inside her body. She was blossoming into woman-
hood, but could not realize her fantasies in fear of tarnishing her image as
the fresh, innocent pop starlet. It wasn't so much to preserve her career -
she knew in her heart of hearts that she could make it on her talent alone -
but she felt she owed it to her fans. She wanted to be a role model to young
girls, to tell them that it's cool to just say no to sex and drugs - to follow
their dreams and to be individuals. But at the same time, Debbie was finding
it harder and harder to resist the powerful desires coursing through her veins.

Yes, Debbie was a virgin, but it was more by circumstance than conscious
choice. She was curious, but didn't want to just hop into bed with the first
guy that came along. And since her busy career prevented any kind of real
romance from developing, it seemed that she was doomed to chastity forever. It
had been months since the last time she had been touched in a sexual manner. A
smile crept across her face while her mind replayed once again that delicious

She washed the tears from her face while her slender toes slipped around
the tiny chain on the rubber stopper in the tub. A gentle tug and the water
began slowly draining away. Debbie began gently caressing her taut young body
as the water lowered, exposing her soft flesh to the cool air. Bubbles
crackled and popped on the delicate surfaces of her small, pert breasts -
sending tingling pleasures from her tiny pink nipples to her moist womanhood.

"Kirk," she whispered to herself. "Oh... Kirk...."

To most people, Kirk Camer0n was just another television star. He played
Michael on the popular sitcom "Growing Pains" - a winsome youth with an
irresistible smile and a keen wit. But he was more than this to Debbie. Much

By now the water had reached the floating curls of her soft blonde pubic
hair. Debbie ran her slender fingers through the tiny locks and remembered
that night at the Emmys.

By mere chance they had been seated next to each other. They talked a
little, mostly about being mobbed by hordes of twelve year old fans whenever
they went out in public. But while they spoke, Debbie could feel Kirk
undressing her with his eyes - tracing her curves and taking obvious glances at
her tight skirt. He had an air of hungry confidence about him, and she felt
desires welling up inside her that she had never felt before. The lights went
down in the room, and the ceremony began. Kirk took Debbie's hand and began
gently stoking it. Then he suddenly let go, and instead put his hand on her
knee. Slowly he began to move it up her leg, stroking and caressing her inner
thigh; making Debbie swoon in shameful anticipation.

Lying in the bathtub, Debbie's mind played over the delicious image of
Kirk gently slipping his fingers underneath her silk panties, his manicured
nails lightly grazing her swollen rosebud - all the while looking into her eyes
and coyly mocking her obvious passion. She pictured that face, those fingers,
penetrating over and over....

And then it boomed over the sound system, "And the winner for best actor
in a Family-Oriented Situation Comedy is... KIRK CAMER0N!"

Kirk removed his hand from Debbie's sopping underwear with admirable
swiftness, only a split second before the roaming cameras would whirl to meet
his ever-charming smile.

Debbie began thrashing about in the bathtub, shuddering violently with
orgasmic tears, but only a second after her muffled cries began to escape her
ruby lips - the wooden door into the room blew into a thousand pieces under the
force of a strategically-placed tactical plastique explosive.

Into the room jumped an unholy trinity of nefarious evildoers. The
central figure was a fully clad ninja warrior - armed with razor sharp
precision weapons and dressed in the black eelskin Shinomo garb that only
outfitted the assassins of kings. The ninja was flanked by a pair of Nazi
frogmen in gray-green wetsuits and flippers - each carrying a deadly speargun
whose purpose was all too obvious. On their chests was the unmistakable emblem
of Adolph Hitler's Third Reich. Without hesitation, the two frogmen advanced
while the figure in black stood back to survey the carnage. Debbie had the
sudden feeling that she might be in trouble.

What only Debbie's adoptive family and a handful of others knew, however,
was that this young nightingale was far from defenseless. When Debbie was only
a few months old, she and her natural family had been in a shipwreck - and
Debbie, the only survivor, washed up on the shores of a small uncharted isle
somewhere between the Fiji and Easter Islands. She was raised by wolves for
the first few years of her life, until she unwittingly came across the only
other human being on the island, an aging Shaulin Martial Arts Master named
Bruce who taught her the ways of man and the art of self defense. After ten
years of rigorous training, Debbie decided to once again rejoin the real world,
and fulfill her destiny as the best-loved pop starlet of all time. On a
makeshift outboard canoe, Debbie sailed to New York, where she was soon adopted
by a nice upper-middle class Protestant family, who introduced her to record
producer Fred Zarr - and the rest was history.

Debbie leapt from the tub in a flying summersault, barely avoiding a
forked spear that fiercely penetrated the four foot luffa only inches from
where her sinewy young form had just been. Even in mid-flight, she was able to
identify the deadly curare poison coating her opponents' barbed projectiles.
They were playing for keeps. She spun to meet the evil duo, and remembered the
words of her master... "The less effort expended, the more powerful the
connection." An indescribably graceful spinning crescent lunge kick underneath
the chin of her first opponent neatly severed his head and sent it flying into
the bidet.

She ducked a slice from the second frogman's nine-inch serrated hunting
knife, and with a deafening cry of "WAX ON!" she plunged her open hand through
the Swastika emblem on his chest - and with a similar yell of "WAX OFF!" she
withdrew his still-beating heart. As the body slumped to the floor, Debbie
whirled to meet the stoic gaze of the remaining figure in black.

"Who are you?" she cried, "And what do you want with me!? I broke a nail
on your lame-ass frogman's collarbone, and I'm really pissed off!"

"You have killed two of my finest warriors," intoned the ninja. "And as
you die, I want you to know who is killing you." The figure pulled off its
sinister hood, and out poured a cascade of fiery red hair.

It was T1ffany. Debbie's arch-rival in the musical netherworld of teenage
pop icons, and the very figure of evil incarnate. Her fans thought of her as a
quiet young girl with modest dreams of stardom, when in reality she was a
brazen harlot who would stop at nothing to have the whole of the music industry
under her wicked thumb.

"T1ffany!" cried Debbie. "I should have guessed!"

"You were expecting maybe Chuck Norris?" quipped back the red haired
vixen. "I mean, Chuck's pretty hard up - but he's got better things to do than
nail a prissy little WASP like you!"

"What are you doing here? What do you want with me?" screamed Debbie,
falling back into a defensive posture.

"You ruined my career! I was on the verge of creating a musical empire...
I'd taken the first few steps to establishing myself as the hottest young thing
around - when all of a sudden you came around singing those insipid little
ballads of yours and stealing my thunder! Next thing I knew, I found myself
classified and categorized as a flash-in-the-pan little tart like you."

"What?" gasped an amazed and unbelieving Debbie. "You honestly thought
you could make it big by covering Beatles' tunes for the rest of your life?

"You untalented little blonde tease!"

"You plagiarizing red haired slut!"

"Slicing your throat open is too quick a death for you!" sneered T1ffany,
dropping her weapons' belt to the floor. "I'll crush you with my bare hands!!"
She let loose a double reverse snake punch aimed at Debbie's naked torso.

But Debbie was too fast for her and did a double backwards somersault to
the other end of the room. As T1ffany sped towards her, Debbie crouched down
and threw her lower body upwards for the little known Shaulin upside down
spinning helicopter kick for which there is no known defense - except, of
course, for the even lesser known Japanese flying supersonic blur-hand in which
T1ffany had been expertly schooled. The two clashed together in a tangle of
limbs and flesh, leaving them locked in a strangling embrace - pitting will
against will in a struggle to the death.

But as Debbie's hands closed around her opponent's neck, she found herself
mesmerized by the tender fierceness in her eyes. She suddenly remembered what
it was that she was doing before this rather startling interruption, and the
proximity of such a beautiful, healthy young body pressing against hers sent an
unexpected flash of heat through her loins. This took Debbie completely by
surprise. I mean - she shaved her legs and had long hair and everything - she
never dreamed that she might be a lesbian! But her body cared very little
about her mind's outdated ethics as she pressed her firm young bosom into

As she did so, both her and T1ffany's grip loosened, and their snarls of
anger transformed into faint moans of pleasure. Debbie found herself entranced
with the delicate lips of her opponent, and before she could stop herself she
was kissing them. For a moment it occurred to Debbie that T1ffany's acceptance
of this might be a ruse to get the upper hand - but then she felt a soft, warm
tongue slide into her mouth, and she knew she had a willing and eager partner.

"I wanted you so bad," whispered T1ffany between kisses. "So bad I wanted
to destroy you, because I didn't think I could ever have you."

"Mmmmmm..." replied Debbie. "I never thought it could be like this...."

T1ffany's hands roamed freely over Debbie's supple body, as Debbie neatly
removed her black ninja garb. Underneath she wore nothing, and Debbie swooned
as she uncovered a figure not unlike her own - save for a wild growth of fiery
red hair between her legs.

"I never believed you were a real redhead," quipped Debbie tenderly, as
she slowly kissed down her torso.

"That's OK," countered T1ffany, gingerly swinging her partner around into
a sixty-nine. "I never thought you were a real blonde."

Re:A Day in the Life of Debbie Gibson (1, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708601)

Wow... Just wow.

That was actually pretty awesome.

Re:A Day in the Life of Debbie Gibson (1)

Cally (10873) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709325)

Such a superb O/T troll deserves a full -2. I can't wait for the sequel, starring members of a popular boy-band as Navy SEALs, kicking the door down and making with the smoke grenades and the raspberry-flavoured lube, and all.

Hope (-1, Flamebait)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707723)

I just hope that whatever they do doesn't end up upsetting the balance and put humans at risk of swarms of deadly furry yellow death. As long as they kill other people and not me I'm not really too bothered.

Re:Hope (5, Informative)

tarpitcod (822436) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707763)

You know bees are useful for fertilizing plants and not just the sticky yellow stuff right?

Re:Hope (5, Funny)

puppetman (131489) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707803)

Pollinating, not fertilizing.

Unless you kill them, crush and compost their bodies, and add the compost to the plants, that is.

Re:Hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708031)

Not neccessarily. You see, I eat the honey, then I walk over to the fields..

Re:Hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708147)

Not neccessarily. You see, I eat the honey, then I walk over to the fields..

You're not a zoo bear I take it?

Re:Hope (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708225)

No, he posts on slashdot. He's clearly smarter than the average bear.

Bees (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707849)

You know bees are useful for fertilizing plants and not just the sticky yellow stuff right?

Bees, along with butterflies and other insects, are essential for pollination.


Honeybees displace more efficient pollinators (3, Informative)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708263)

You know bees are useful for fertilizing plants and not just the sticky yellow stuff right?

But not as useful as more efficient, native pollinators, which in North America honeybees displace.

Re:Honeybees displace more efficient pollinators (1, Interesting)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708385)


Re:Honeybees displace more efficient pollinators (4, Interesting)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708549)

Bumblebees [scienceblogs.com].

Re:Honeybees displace more efficient pollinators (1)

lordtoran (1063300) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708969)

Here in Europe, they are very common everywhere with a lot of species. However they are too big to pollinate many important plants, as opposed to bees.

Survival of the strongest (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27707799)

They can't keep handing out antibiotics to bees. If they have identified the cause, they should find resistant bee strains and breed those.

Nosema is a fungus... (5, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707883)

A parasite. Not virus or bacteria.
Breeding resistant bees is kinda like breeding humans that are resistant to tapeworm.

You kill or surgically remove parasites - you don't develop antibodies to fight them.

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (3, Interesting)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708033)

You kill or surgically remove parasites - you don't develop antibodies to fight them.

So what? Are we looking at another grape blight? [wampumkeeper.com] Are we going to have to kill off 99% of the commercial bee population and start over?

We're probably in some deep trouble if so. But maybe we should infect killer bees before we wipe this parasite out?

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708265)

Are Africanized bees even susceptible to CCD? I am pretty sure they are resistant to a number of other honey bee diseases.

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708579)

It is believed that larger bees are more susceptible to mites, because the bees are easier for the mites to get into. Giving the bees an artificial wax starter foundation with larger cells than they normally make increases the ratio of honey to wax, but also means that the bees will produce larger brood to fill the cells, which results in larger adult bees...

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709317)

Giving the bees an artificial wax starter foundation with larger cells than they normally make increases the ratio of honey to wax, but also means that the bees will produce larger brood to fill the cells, which results in larger adult bees...

which in turn will have larger cells and the cycle will continue till we get insanely large bees

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709357)

Wouldn't the fix for that be to use different density foundation in the honey harvesting section and the breeding section? (IIRC behives usually have two sections, one with the queen for breeding and one the queen can't reach for harvesting honey)

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709509)

The fix is to let the bees make their own combs without interference, which reduces honey output but produces healthier bees... or so it has been asserted. This is the approach we will soon be applying. Wish us (and the bees) luck! I get along great with the bees in the garden.

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708293)

Hopefully not.

We would be a little more fucked than just running out of good wine and facing the destruction of the French economy.
Not every country has billion+ people to use as pollinators [beesfordevelopment.org] for its food supply.

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (4, Informative)

frieko (855745) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708267)

[citation needed]. My dad breeds sheep, and yes, you can select for parasite resistance. You'd be surprised at the things your body can fight off.

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708387)

Not quite true. There are many single cellular parasites too. For example malaria and tick fever. Antibodies and antibiotics can fight them.

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (2, Insightful)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708411)

Although science is great, that would feel to me like it is just pushing the problem off in to the future when something else will evolve to kill the bees. Why not just have sustainable environmental practices, (which seem to help according to that Scientific American article on the subject)?

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (3, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709491)

"Why not just have sustainable environmental practices"

So in order to avoid production being reduced tenfold we will use practices that will reduce production tenfold.

Re:Nosema is a fungus... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708563)

Some parasites are defeated by immune systems. Look at heartworms. They kill dogs, but humans and cats can both get them, but human and feline immune systems fight off the infestation in its early stages.

Re:Survival of the strongest (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708377)

Or maybe someone is using Microsporidia as an insecticide already. From Cornell university:

Some microsporidia are being investigated as microbial insecticides, and at least one is available commercially, but the technology is new and work is needed to perfect the use of these organisms.

http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/pathogens/protozoa.html [cornell.edu]

But according to this paper, it is naturally present in insect populations, and that other factors allow it to multiply to fatal levels.

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713568331~db=all~order=date [informaworld.com]

HoneyWell (2, Funny)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707901)

"Honeybees are attacked by numerous pathogens including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites."
The Honeybees role 15d6 to defend -

Death to the Fungi!

Re:HoneyWell (3, Funny)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708285)

Seriously, people.

It's a 1d20, and they can add half their hit dice plus CON bonus, if any.

Re:HoneyWell (1)

FrostPaw (1189257) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708705)

Considering I have first hand experience with these marvellous buzzing wonders of pollination that gives us our sweet sticky morning treats... For fun and factoring in the CON score of bees in general in this case, all I'm hoping for is a natural 20 roll. *crosses fingers* Still, any serious empirically valid science is valued at this point to beekeepers. Beekeepers in my area are still dealing with the varroa problem. The colony collapse disorder has yet to hit people here.

Oh god no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27707781)

Oh god no! Not the bees! Not the bees!!! AAAAAAAAUUUUGGHH!!!

Science wins again. (1)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707793)

Where would we be, in today's world, without science? There's all sorts of potential catastrophes just waiting to happen. Our high population isn't helping, but hey, what can you do. Just saying. Without hordes of well-paid scientists, we would be so hosed right now. We might still be hosed! But at least we're figuring SOME things out before it's too late, mostly.

Re:Science wins again. (1)

tarpitcod (822436) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707865)

You could use your post as the marketing copy on a bottle/can of Paraquat.

Wonder why it took so long to figure it out - the article doesn't really say.

Re:Science wins again. (2, Informative)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707963)

Of course the article doesn't say. Bad for business. But if you read between the lines:

...scientists from Spain analysed two apiaries and found evidence of honey bee colony depopulation syndrome (also known as colony collapse disorder in the USA). They found no evidence of any other cause of the disease (such as the Varroa destructor, IAPV or pesticides), other than infection with Nosema ceranae. The researchers then treated the infected surviving under-populated colonies with the antibiotic drug, flumagillin and demonstrated complete recovery of all infected colonies.

In other words, they didn't think Nosema ceranae was the cause at first. After they ran out of "top ten" suspects, they started going after the more "ordinary" organisms inside the bees one by one.

Re:Science wins again. (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708155)

Just great. Now with this cured, there is nothing to keep the bee population in check. Expect the Earth to be overrun within 5 years.

Science solves science's problems? (-1, Flamebait)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708475)

But how many of those problems are science caused?

It's entirely possible if not likely that this bee crisis is tied into something else science has done.

After all. Bees were around for millions of years--so to all of a sudden coincidentally start going away during the industrialized era is suspicious.

Re:Science solves science's problems? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708559)

The bees in question were brought to North America (and elsewhere, from Europe), which was a crude sort of science (someone figured out how to make a colony portable and then they carried it somewhere).

So in parts of the world, yeah, science did create this problem.

Re:Science solves science's problems? (2, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709259)

Err, no. What you refered to as "a crude sort of science" was really a crude sort of technology. The bees were not bought to North America as part of a scientific experiment from which they escaped. They were brought for specific commercial purpose, and that purpose wasn't to expand our knowledge of how the world works (in other words, not for science). So, no, science did not create the problem you cite, either. People did, but they were not scientists nor were they in any way doing science, nor was science in any way involved.

Re:Science solves science's problems? (2, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708919)

While bees have been around for a very long time, I'm not so sure it's been the same type of bees for millions of years. Commercial beekeepers are using only a very few varieties of bees.

In those millions of years it could well be that there have been many instances where a single variety of bee has been wiped out.

Or nearly wiped out. A 10 year recovery period may not show up in fossil records. But 10 years for recovery is a big deal for the fruit industry and other industries that depend on bees.

Also "past performance is not an indicator of future success". The fossil record has plenty of species that have been around for millions of years and then got wiped out. Some could have just been very unfortunate. Modern human society is actually very fragile and highly dependent on many things going right. We could go from billions of humans to millions in a very short time.

Re:Science solves science's problems? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709193)

Not really all that suspicious. Populations expand and contract all the time naturally, and have been doing so for millions of years. Long before humans invented science, they noticed both dramatic increases and dramatic collapses in populations of many organisms. It seems highly unlikely that science had anything to do with it this time, save that in ancient times we didn't understand why this sort of thing happened, and now we know about the constant arms races between various organisms and the microorganisms that can plague them.

Re:Science solves science's problems? (5, Insightful)

duffel (779835) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709199)

This sort of thing infuriates me. Flamebait be damned, this needs saying.

Science is not a cause, nor a goal, or agent. Science is a framework for gaining knowledge while discarding falsehood. That is all. Saying science is the cause of some evil is saying that learning is the cause of some evil.

There are consequences to the knowledge that science unlocks, it is true. Some of these consequences are detrimental, it is true. However, to condemn the best process of learning because some of the things we have learnt have been used in a less than ideal fashion is to condemn all the good things we have learnt through it as well, and on balance, I'd say we're ahead.

And finally, to bitch about science, from the shelter of your science-made walls that house your your electricity-powered home, via quantum mechanical communication equipment, and with you alive in no small part due to a plethora of antibiotics and immunisations - is the worst disrespectful hypocrisy. Next time a doctor saves your life think hard on that.

Not Cell Phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27707805)

I remember when some dumbass said that the honeybees were being killed off by cell phones and WiFi internet.

Re:Not Cell Phones (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708309)

I'd heard it was global warming.

Of course, M. Night Shyamalan tells us that it's "...an act of nature, and we'll never fully understand it."

Re:Not Cell Phones (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708671)

Of course, M. Night Shyamalan tells us that it's "...an act of nature, and we'll never fully understand it."

You mean someone else watched that movie? My condolences.

Re:Not Cell Phones (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708327)

If they go anywhere near my womenfolk in the house, they'll be killed off by the nearest object at hand (mouse, keyboard, newspaper, magazine, vacuum cleaner), let alone a cell phone or WiFi router. In any case, the WiFi router is bolted to the wall just for this reason.

Re:Not Cell Phones (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709271)

I remember when some dumbass said that the honeybees were being killed off by cell phones and WiFi internet.

It's true. They catch this fungus from using cell phones (which haven't be disinfected).

Scientists *From* Spain? (2)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707837)

So where are they now?

Re:Scientists *From* Spain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27707959)

You realize that people travel sometimes, right? One or all of them may not be in Spain at this particular moment in time.

Wherever they are, I hope for their sake that they're lucky enough not to be next to a myopic twat of a pedant; reading your post has reminded me of how unfortunate that situation can be.

Re:Scientists *From* Spain? (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708103)

Well, the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. So I'm guessing they've headed into the hills where it's dry enough for the bees.

Re:Scientists *From* Spain? (3, Funny)

clem (5683) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708171)

With the Girl from Ipanema?

Re:Scientists *From* Spain? (1)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708275)

Wow, that was a deep joke! Not only playing with the mistake between Portuguese and Spanish, but also moving the good woman from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Spain. You sir are a master!

Sweeeet! (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707851)

This should bee a positive step for farmers everywhere who depend on these critters for pollination of their crops. I'm buzzing with joy!

Re:Sweeeet! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708871)

Not to mention all of us that depend on the food grown by the farmers...

Opposing study (5, Informative)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707885)

This story is in direct disagreement with a recent article in SciAm, where they find colony collapse is MORE like caused by IAPV, and NOT the nosema parasite.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=saving-the-honeybee [sciam.com]

And since the scientists in the SciAm article looked at a lot more than two apiaries, I am gonna have to give them a lot more credence.

Re:Opposing study (0, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707961)

Since these guys have a working treatment, we can get the fucking answer rather than internet arguing.

Quite so... (4, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27707967)

Nosema seems to be just a part of the equation - not the solution to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_bee_depopulation_syndrome#Nosema [wikipedia.org]

A study reported in September 2007 found that 100% of afflicted and 80% of non-afflicted colonies contained Nosema ceranae.

Link to the September 2007 SciAm article about the study:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=bees-ccd-virus&page=1 [sciam.com]

Re:Quite so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708415)

You do realize that removing part of the problem may in fact be a whole solution?

Re:Quite so... (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708477)

You do realize that removing part of the problem may in fact be a whole solution?

No, because CCD occurs in colonies with and without Nosema. It may be PART of the solution, though, which is great.

Re:Opposing study (5, Informative)

alanrw (1125955) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708035)

For anyone interested in CCD, I strongly recommend the book "Fruitless Fall" by Rowan Jacobsen. In it, he suggests, just like the SciAm article does, that CCD is likely a combination of multiple factors, including IAPV, nosema, pesticides, industrial farming, and other contributors. While this study is a good start, I won't hold my breath that CCD is over until we have much more evidence.

Re:Opposing study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708159)

Fruitless Fall is a very good book.

Re:Opposing study (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709011)

Fruitless Fall eh? Sounds (not so) surprisingly like "Silent Spring". Rachel Carson managed, indirectly, and presumably inadvertently, to commit the largest act of biological warfare against a specific racial group in the history of mankind with that one. Look it up

Read further down the story (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708133)

Interestingly, the story itself contains a quotation not so favorable to the story's summary, and even its own text is less optimistic:

There have been other hypothesis for colony collapse in Europe and the USA, but never has this bug been identified as the primary cause in professional apiaries.

"Now that we know one strain of parasite that could be responsible, we can look for signs of infection and treat any infected colonies before the infection spreads" said Dr Higes, principle researcher.

A critical read of these statements (remember to parse it as English) and the rest of the article as well tells us that this particular parasite was identified as the sole cause in two professional apiaries. The principal researcher (they say "principle" in the article... reading "news" causes me physical pain these days) is saying one strain of parasite could be responsible. But what has actually happened is that they have identified a single parasite that was active in two apiaries with hives suffering from underpopulation. That does not mean a single parasite caused the dieoff (the bees suffering from some other parasite, infection, or other distress might be the ones that departed) and it does not mean that the "cure" for colony collapse disorder has been identified.

Re:Opposing study (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708425)

The executive summary of the SciAm article is this: There is no smoking gun for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), however there have been multiple factors that seem to increase the chances of it happening. Beekeepers that are being more gentle with their bees and being more aggressive about keeping the hives clean have been able to reduce the occurrences of CCD. The gist is that bees were already stressed by parasites, viruses, and just being moved around the country to pollenate, the addition of one more factor in several areas seems to have pushed them over the top.

Humanity interfering... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708069)

... in yet more affairs which they should not be interfering with. Why do we interfere so much with the natural progression of life of this planet?

Oh yes, sorry. I forgot that bees "are indispensable for a sustainable and profitable agriculture". Profit is to be made. Must do whatever is necessary to fill wallets.

Re:Humanity interfering... (5, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708169)

Don't be an idiot.

Honeybees are a domesticated species. Like crops, cows and cats. There is no more "natural progression of life" to interfere with here, because the life in question is that of living things we've bred, sheltered and tamed (as much as we can say an insect is "tame").

Plus, if it weren't for "filling wallets", the dying colonies wouldn't exist in the first place. Do you honestly think we go out and take honey from wild beehives? Are you that ignorant?

The colonies that are dying mostly weren't those wax and paper numbers you see hanging from tree branches, they're wood and wire mesh numbers built for the express purpose of farming the bees for honey. Wild bees were also dying, but it's the domesticated ones we noticed first.

Hell, the disease itself might not have anything to do with this moronic concept of "natural progression" you ignorantly put forth, and everything to do with us creating a situation in which the fungus can more easily infect domesticated bees than wild ones.

Your argument might make some sense if we were referring to a wild species that was dying off from a cause unrelated to human activity. As it stands, what you're saying makes about as much sense as saying we shouldn't treat bird flu in the chicken population.

Plus the concept of "natural progression" is a fools notion, put forward by idiots who'd have flunked out of bio 101 if they'd ever tried taking it. Evolution isn't about progress, nature isn't some sacred ineffable god, and mankind is only morally obligated to minimize the environmental impact of our own actions. We are not bound to do what is evolutionarily best, because the concept of one outcome being "best" for evolution is meaningless, and in any event we should not be using the principles of biology as moral grounds.

Re:Humanity interfering... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708827)

The colonies that are dying mostly weren't those wax and paper numbers you see hanging from tree branches, they're wood and wire mesh numbers built for the express purpose of farming the bees for honey. Wild bees were also dying, but it's the domesticated ones we noticed first.

Wild bees are being hit less. Anecdotally, there's an absolute shitload of them in my garden already. I've assembled four top-bar beehives from kits (actually we are using only supers, and using four of them per hive) and we will be putting in some bees soon.

(coincidentally, while waiting for the recent post delay to time out, it began raining and I had to run out and put the currently-unpainted hives into the carport. whee)

Re:Humanity interfering... (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709009)

Be sure to triple up on the fumagillin (not flumagillin as the article states). At that dosage, it is effective against N. ceranae.

Re:Humanity interfering... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#27709395)

They are already fairly certain that the diseased hives are a result of these keepers trucking these bees hundreds or even thousands of miles all over the country, exposing them to all sorts of non-native bacteria, fungus, parasites, etc. They are mixing and merging with other colonies from all over the place and without any sort of interstate controls.

It also explains why wild bees are not nearly as affected by this as domesticated bees. They truck these things all over the nation in trucks and let them pollinate crops for a fee where they then mix, mingle, and do what bee's do with other infected colonies and local flora/fauna. It's no wonder these domesticated bees are carrying all sorts of disease to each other.

Cars. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27708113)

Every day I find dozens more dead bees splattered over the front of my car, and it's the same with every other car I see.

Multiply those insect deaths by the number of cars travelling the roads every day and it adds up to a lot of dead bees.

I'm not suggesting the decrease in bee numbers is attributable to this cause, but the decline in bee population does happen to coincide with the massive increase in world motor vehicle numbers of the last decade or so.

Yes, yes, I know, correlation does not equal causation...I'm just saying.

No, don't treat the parasites (4, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708139)

Don't treat the parasites, kill them. The parasites are the problem, and the last thing we need is to treat them. Treat the bees, kill the parasites.

Best news I've heard all day (3, Interesting)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708301)

Reading the other comments here, it's clear this isn't a case closed situation, but, this has been one of the single most frightening changes in nature in recent years and its reassuring to know that there at least seems to be progress.

Spanish researchers, we are the best!!!!!! (0, Troll)

fitash (1368347) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708357)

While we are not sleeping the siesta... (an there is also the well known fact that many of our best brained people have died bullfighting :( )

Regarding the scientists treating bee parasites (1)

Hailth (1479371) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708403)

Glad to hear those parasites are doing better now! But how are the bees doing?

Can we just transfer the parasites to the RIAA? (1)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708689)

Is it possible to transfer the parasites to the RIAA lawyers? Or are they not as evolved as the honey bees and therefore immune? Can you give a parasite to another parasite?

Re:Can we just transfer the parasites to the RIAA? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708781)

The parasites would all just get job offers and increase the power of the RIAA. After all, what judge would rule against parasites with the power to destroy the world's bee population?

Thank the Gods (3, Funny)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708881)

I was worried there would be a mead shortage...and a decline in pagan moon shine is a bad thing...

I expected... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708917)

"In a recent report, a team of scientists from Spain claims to have isolated and treated the parasite causing honey bee depopulation syndrome. "

When I read that summary heading I expected the opening line to include the word "us".

How much more parasitic could our relationship with honeybees possibly get?

RF interference (1)

Massacrifice (249974) | more than 4 years ago | (#27708985)

Phew, at last I can turn my cell phone back on, cause it's not the RF interference that kills the bees. I feel like I've been on a 2 year long plane takeoff.

Donna Noble tried to warn us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27709025)

The Doctor: Donna, c'mon think! Earth. There must have been some sort of warning. Was anything happening back in your day? Like electrical storms, freak weather, patterns in the sky?

Donna: Well how should I know? Um... no. I don't think so, no.

The Doctor: Okay, never mind.

Donna: Although... there were the bees disappearing.

The Doctor: "The bees disappearing"? The bees disappearing. The bees disappearing!

Shadow Architect: How is that significant?

Donna: On Earth we have these insects. Some people said it was pollution or mobile phones.

The Doctor: Or they were going back home.

Donna: Back home where?

The Doctor: Planet Melissa Majoria.

Donna: Are you saying bees are aliens?

The Doctor: Don't be so daft! Not all of them.

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