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Vanishing Honeybees Will Affect Future Crops

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the bee-gone dept.

Bug 322

daninbusiness writes "Across the US, beekeepers are finding that their bees are disappearing — not returning while searching for nectar and pollen. This could have a major impact on the food industry in the United States, where as much as $14 billion worth of agriculture business depends on bees for crop pollination. Reasons for this problem, dubbed 'colony collapse disorder,' are still unknown. Theories include viruses, some type of fungus, poor bee nutrition, and pesticides."

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It's Global Warming! (1, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170130)

Where's my check?

Haha, just kidding. I believe in anthropogenic global warming, but I can't resist an easy shot like that.

Re:It's Global Warming! (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170374)

Here in France, Genetically Engineered Organisms are blamed for that.

Re:It's Global Warming! (5, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170388)

I know you're joking, but a slightly warmer climate definitely can impact susceptibility to fungal infections, etc.

I kept bees for quite a few years (in NJ) but stopped because of a mite that destroyed my colonies. My last extraction (in 2001) produced less than six pounds from each super, I had been getting 22-25 pounds in the early 90s. The Beekeepers Quarterly had an article at the time suggesting that the red mite was limited in it's northern expansion due to temperature, but that a succession of a few warm winters allowed it to reach nearly all the continental US -- only a harsh winter will kick it back down south.

None of this, by the way, provides any insight into why a slashdotter would keep bees, which is a mystery better left unexplored.

Re:It's Global Warming! (2, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170512)

None of this, by the way, provides any insight into why a slashdotter would keep bees, which is a mystery better left unexplored.

Because honey in the comb is a wonderful thing? There were beehives on my family's farm when I was a kid.

Re:It's Global Warming! (3, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170598)

The Beekeepers Quarterly had an article at the time suggesting that the red mite was limited in it's northern expansion due to temperature, but that a succession of a few warm winters allowed it to reach nearly all the continental US -- only a harsh winter will kick it back down south.

I read an article about a similar scenario that is happening in Colorado. Some species of beatle is eating the redwoods. In the past it wasn't as big of a deal because the frost would come through every winter and kill the bastards off. These days it doesn't get cold enough to kill them so they are just laying waste to huge swaths of the forest. =(

Re:It's Global Warming! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171114)

Some species of beatle is eating the redwoods.

Is anyone else picturing Ringo chewing on a redwood log?

Re:It's Global Warming! (1)

GJSchaller (198865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170696)

Honey for Mead hombrewing? That's why I'd do it.

That, or a new packet transport method...

Re:It's Global Warming! (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170716)

It would be interesting to see if the two harsh winters we've had on the east coast since 2001 have changed anything.

Re:It's Global Warming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171016)

Erm...Hate to say it, but a harsh winter on the east coast feels pretty damn mild in the midwest. Tons and tons of snowfall aren't harsh - a week of 40 below zero nights are getting there.

Re:It's Global Warming! (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170422)

...I believe in anthropogenic global warming...

So, what, it's a religion now?
Are you a born-again believer, or did you grow up in a anthropogenic global warming household?

Re:It's Global Warming! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170700)

I grew up in a Newtonian gravity household. Einstein is the devil. Space-time is myth! Anyone can plainly see that space and time are two different things.

Anthropogenic global warming, on the other hand, is like Buddhism. You can tack it onto anything. On Falling Apple Day, we used to bake an apple pie using a solar oven as a tribute to Saint Gore.

Re:It's Global Warming! (0)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170602)

I swear--check my comment history, subscribers--this is the first time I've ever done this. But, wth...

In soviet russia, the globe warms you.

Ahhhhhhhhh...... I've been holding that in for a while.

Re:It's Global Warming! (0)

alta (1263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170722)

Damn you beat me to it! I can't belive it's not there, coming from such a liberal biased rag as the NYT!

Freaking liberals. Lets send them to the moon, no warming there yet.

Re:It's Global Warming! (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170882)

The NYT is liberal like CNN is conservative, i.e. not very. There is no liberal bias. There is corporate bias, and there is laziness, and that is all you need to know to explain the media.

Logical fallacy (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170920)


Damn you beat me to it! I can't belive it's not there, coming from such a liberal biased rag as the NYT!

I don't recall my philosophy classes well enough to remember if this is a defined formal fallacy. ie: A) subjective stipulation; B) Evidence that contradicts a; C) regardless, assertion of a. In this example: A) NYT is a "liberal biased rag", B) NYT fails to advance a "liberal" cause in this case, C) Nevertheless, NYT is liberal. For why, exactly? For failing to advance the liberal cause?

Damn birds (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170146)

Obviously it is the resurgence in bird populations that is killing the bees.

We have to bring back DDT.

This is simply a matter of the birds and the bees.

Re:Damn birds (1)

JamDonut (1068924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170440)

Bees get on my chimes anyway. The fuckers always want to sting me. =(

Re:Damn birds (5, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170754)

Bees get on my chimes anyway. The fuckers always want to sting me.

Have you considered wearing pants?

Re:Damn birds (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170554)

man bear pig is killing them. get al gore!

Colony Collapse (1, Flamebait)

hooded_fang (964565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170170)

Ive saw a story on this on the news a few weeks ago here in British Columbia. The fungus seems particularily effective in warmer climates. Still, saying that they're worried about it wiping out Canadian colonies as well.

Hmm, maybe its time our world leaders started thinking more effectively on how to curb our fatal overconsumption lifestyle. And maybe the rest of us should put up mason bee homes to do our part to help

Re:Colony Collapse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171108)

Why do you need world leaders to do your thinking for you?

please... (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170188)

Oh please. Like bees have anything to do with crop production...What are these so-called "scientists" going to try to convince us of next?

Re:please... (1, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170282)

please tell me that's a joke.

As the article stated, bees are very important for polination on many species of plants. In english: The bees help the plants have sex.

Severly reduce the bees, and you have less seeds. Less seeds means less plants. Oh, and most fruits are just elaborate seed casings, so fewer bees -> fewer seeds -> lower fruit output of such plants -> lower crop.

Re:please... (1)

ShadoHawk (741112) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170902)

So if I start making plant pr0n I need to hire some bee fluffers?

Re:please... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170930)

definetly!

Re:please... (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170996)

Less seeds means less plants.
No, less seeds means you don't know the difference between less and fewer [llrx.com] .

Re:please... (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170322)

I hope that was satire. Many crops are NOT self-pollinating and it takes bees to spread the pollen. You will get some pollination from wind but bees are the best. Yields have increased 2-3X when orchards bring in bees versus just letting whatever ones are around do the job. Beekeepers actually lease hives to fruit/vegatable producers and make significant money for such (plus they get to keep the honey). The decline of bees is a BAD thing, it could really affect crops and thus the prices we pay for food.

Re:please... (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170498)

Sounds like your parents never taught you about the 'birds and the bees'.

Re:please... (4, Insightful)

CaseyG (97275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170622)

I hope you have learned from this that there can be no sarcasm so obvious that it will not be taken seriously.

  -c.

Re:please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170638)

Even if these "scientists" are right, it's only 60% of the crops. We can simply plant more of the other 40% and we'll be fine. Mankind can solve any problem, so why worry about things going wrong. That's the problem with Liberals, they are always trying to plan for the future. *wink*

Scientists? (2, Funny)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170656)

Scientists? Please.

These are the people who don't believe in the book of Genesis, for chrissake.

<cite: bill maher>

Reason for disappearance (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170192)

Al Gore eat them.

Re:Reason for disappearance (0, Offtopic)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170268)

That...or more likely eaten by the engines of his jet as he flies across the world to spread the information in his slides.

Sucked in....and Al Gore, two things I don't want to really relate together.

Re:Go back to Digg, take your grammar with you! (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170620)

It's either:
Al Gore ate them. (as in past tense)

Or

Al Gore eats them. (as in present tense)

Re:Go back to Digg, take your grammar with you! (1)

wgaryhas (872268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170794)

or
Al Gore, eat them. (as in telling Al Gore to eat them)

like going out to get cigarettes... (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170198)

Across the US, beekeepers are finding that their bees are disappearing -- not returning while searching for nectar and pollen.

Maybe they just don't like their family.

They're heading back.. (2, Funny)

bagboy (630125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170222)

across the border into Mexico.... They heard the pollen there is sweeter and more abundant.. Plus they can get health care for free..

It sucks. (5, Insightful)

frakir (760204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170224)

Albert Einstein's: "if bees were to disappear, man would only have a few years to live".
Bees pollinate about 60% of crops in US and Europe. Note that exact same disappearing colonies fenomenon happens in Portugal and Poland.
We are doomed.

Children have little fingers (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170276)

We could put them to work in the fields, pollinating plants. Feed them enough sugar and they'd even buzz around like bees.

You people worry to much. No matter how much we fuck things up, we'll always find a way to fix it that doesn't hurt anyone that matters.

Re:Children have little fingers (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170448)

We could put them to work in the fields, pollinating plants. Feed them enough sugar and they'd even buzz around like bees.

Or we could just feed our sons and daughters all the royal jelly we have left and get new bees. Ever read Roald Dahl's extremely disturbing short story "Royal Jelly" (collected in Kiss Kiss [amazon.com] )? And I for one welcome our new man-bee hybrid overlords.

Re:It sucks. (1)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170358)

Soylent Green anyone?

Re:It sucks. (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170768)

"fenomenon"

The first sign of this collapse is the loss of spelling skills.

lifestyle (1)

treak007 (985345) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170228)

What does it say about our current lifestyle when even the bees are over stressed?

Re:lifestyle (5, Insightful)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171006)

What does it say about our current lifestyle when even the bees are over stressed?

It says some people don't wait for the investigation or the science to start before they pronounce a verdict. The idea is more or less "Behind every bad thing happening in the world, the US must be responsible for it, and if not the US, then surely humanity." I'm not sure this says anything about our current lifestyle, considering the research and investigation has barely begun. But don't let that stop you from rushing out to make a conclusion.

Duh... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171036)

What does it say about our current lifestyle when even the bees are over stressed?

That we need to make smaller Prozac pills?

American honeybees... (4, Funny)

zstlaw (910185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170238)

Why would they come back? Chinese and Indian honeybees do it cheaper. Rather than wait for their jobs to be outsourced, American honeybees are moving on to greener pastures.

Re:American honeybees... (4, Funny)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170354)

So are you proposing bringing in a bunch of Chinese and Indian bees under an H1-Bee visa or something?

Re:American honeybees... (1)

ameline (771895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170542)

All your bees are belong to us.

(sorry :-)

Re:American honeybees... (2, Funny)

superstick58 (809423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170854)

I believe the legal term is "H1-Beesa."

Re:American honeybees... (2, Funny)

georgewad (154339) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171028)

Let's not bring Jar-Jar in to this.

Dick Cheney (1)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170256)

Reasons for this problem, dubbed 'colony collapse disorder,' are still unknown. Theories include viruses, some type of fungus, poor bee nutrition, and pesticides.

No one wants to talk about the real reason.

So long and thanks for all the pollen. (1)

jusDfaqs (997794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170262)

quoting "Savage" but funnay as shite :-)

I think it's pretty clear what happened here. (2, Funny)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170274)

Clearly the introduction of Africanised bees resulted in some sort of bee-AIDS epidemic.

Those promiscuous pollen pilfering pests!

I realize that this post is supposed to be a joke (3, Informative)

Ynsats (922697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170520)

Like most of the un-funny posts to this article already. However, you managed to hit on something that it seems the article missed. Africanized (Killer) Bees have been a problem reported by bee keeps over much of the southern United States for over a decade now and the problem seems to creep farther north every year.

The problem stems from the Killer Bees infiltrating a colony of another type of bee and wiping out the colony. Since the killer bees do exhibit the same food gathering and other critical behaviors to pollination, the lost colonys have a bigger impact. I can see the fungus, virus, pesticide and other aspects causing problems in climates farther north but I would not doubt that Killer Bees could be a large contributing factor to this problem.

It may seem silly but it is a critically important roll that the bees have to crop production. Many grains and vegetables do not require external pollination to produce a crop but there are plenty of other fruit and vegetable crops out there that do. The crops may not go away completely because bees are not the only way they are pollinated but they are one of the most efficient ways.

Re:I realize that this post is supposed to be a jo (3, Funny)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170970)

It may seem silly but it is a critically important roll that the bees have to crop production.
It's not silly at all! I, like you, believe in the great insectoid pastry from whence all food production pours forth!

It's obvious. (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170300)

This whole "No Drone Left Behind" thing is a failure. The bees are heading out of the country for better educations, free health care and fewer 'reality' programs on the tele.

Re:It's obvious. (1)

green menace (806773) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170928)

And the reality tv shows that they do have show boobs!!

internet addicts (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170302)

ever since those bees got their FiOS connections they just don't go out like they use to.

Or maybe they got a WII or PS3 for Christmas.

It's a conspiracy! (4, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170328)

No, really. The bees are being captured by the government and kept in secret facilities where they are pollinating a secret genetically engineered type of plant, which causes them to become carriers of the smallpox virus and be more aggressive. The bees are then used to spread smallpox where needed, without causing an immediate biological warfare panic.

That's why the bees are disappearing from private bee farms.

That non-registration link didn't work too well. (3, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170350)

Try this non-registration link [nytimes.com] .

Traveling hives (4, Insightful)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170372)

I find it difficult believe that roving hives are still allowed. Sure it saves a bit of cash, but the potential effect it has on the spread of disease and parasites(that afflict bee's) should not be overlooked.

Again, we sell of future potential for short term gain.

Days behind (1)

nra1871 (836627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170384)

I heard this on Coast to Coast AM the other night, with a much more in depth story and interviews.

Re:Days behind (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170456)

Have they been abducted? Do you think we can use remote viewing to find them?

Re:Days behind (1)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170660)

Or quite possibly they have vibrated (buzzed) into a higher dimension. Or maybe they have discovered the singularity. I for one personally think this is a direct result of the Chupacabra http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chupacabra [wikipedia.org]

Re:Days behind (1)

nra1871 (836627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170812)

I suspect more Reptoid involvement.

They're playing WoW (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170402)

Yep...WoW addicts. A new expansion just came out...so they're all out there grinding.

I blame Ayn Rand (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170436)

One bee reads "The Fountainhead," blabs about it to her hive sisters, and in a week all of them starve to death while arguing about who's really a pirate, the false doctrine of altruism, and the best way to privatize royal jelly production.

Bee Monoculture (0, Troll)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170452)

Here is a perfect example of the utter and complete failure of the American free-market mantra. A select few people raising bees were made richer with no economic consideration for the risk to the food production chain by adopting a bee mono-culture.

Now what?

Re:Bee Monoculture (2, Interesting)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170626)

Um, not really. A typical independant bee keeper makes around $30k per year. Honey prices have bottomed out due to cheap foreign imports and the cost of keeping bees has tripled over the last several years. Now that hives are disappearing, I'm sure that prices will rise (supply/demand and all that). But I think your free-market jab is unfounded, at least in this case.

Obligatory Simpsons quotation (2, Funny)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170462)

Beekeeper 1: Well, sure is quiet in here today.
Beekeeper 2: Yes, a little too quiet, if you know what I mean.
Beekeeper 1: Hmm...I'm afraid I don't.
Beekeeper 2: You see, bees usually make a lot of noise. No noise --
                          suggests no bees!
Beekeeper 1: Oh, I understand now. Oh look, there goes one now.
Beekeeper 2: To the Beemobile!
Beekeeper 1: You mean your Chevy?
Beekeeper 2: Yes.

Re:Obligatory Simpsons quotation (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170648)

Beekeeper 2: To the Beemobile!
Beekeeper 1: You mean your Chevy?


No, I mean to the Datsun B-210 Honey-B!

Laws !!! (0, Troll)

sskinnider (1069312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170480)

It is now time to act! The only way we can stop this scourge is to pass a ton of laws to ban everything that could possibly cause this "Colony Collapse Disorder" Congress should act now to pass laws based solely on speculation.

California Almonds (1)

CalibanCaliban (1001278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170482)

"the production of numerous crops, including California almonds, one of the nation's most profitable." Is this a new euphemism for pot?

Re:California Almonds (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170568)

No, California almonds really are one of the nation's most profitable.

Genetically Modified? (1, Insightful)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170516)

An interesting question to ask. How many crop fields in the affected areas are growing genetically modified crops? Didn't we see results in the past where genetically modified corn caused majorities of Monarch butterflies local to the corn fields to die.

I know, I know. GM food is safe. heh.

Re:Genetically Modified? (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171032)

Yes, but it wasn't local to a specific field. There were enough GM crops that the entire North American population was affected. There were other factors that caused the huge decline in population (75% decrease in 2004 from the number in the 2003 migration) but the main cause is believed to be genetically modified crops.

So remember.. If your children have birth defects.. It's not because you didn't eat your vegetables, it's because you did eat them =)

KIller Bees (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170530)

Not so long ago, it was killer bees moving north from Central America that were going to mix with the more docile honey bees in the US. I wonder if there's any connection ...

Re:KIller Bees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170570)

They're secretly recruiting all the non-Africanized bees in the alleyways and behind the trees when they go out.

Inbreeding (5, Interesting)

zakarria (948686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170544)

This is what you get when you breed monocultures of plants or animals. A single disease or problem that wipes out your entire supply. Trying to determine the specific cause is all well and good, but ultimately somewhat beside the point. If we don't want to have this kind of problem we need to purposefully breed for biodiversity so that one pathogen is less likely to destroy an entire industry. I sincerely hope the entire agricultural industry, and others, really comprehend what it is they should be learning from this and change their priorities a bit before the same thing hits say, the entire corn supply.

Re:Inbreeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170984)

So you're suggesting we all go out and shag a bee?

genetics? (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170556)

May be it's because bees are eating Genetically Modified plants?

Humor? (5, Insightful)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170560)

It's interesting to look at how many of the above responses are lame/decent attempts at humor.

Is this because there's nothing in the article for us to all argue about, or because everyone thinks this is funny? What if herds of cattle started vanishing mysteriously out of fields, or cell colonies for research mysteriously all started to plate really poorly?

Maybe the topic just lends itself to jokes--I had to try pretty hard to not make a cattle abduction joke up there.

Re:Humor? (4, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170776)

It's interesting to look at how many of the above responses are lame/decent attempts at humor. Is this because there's nothing in the article for us to all argue about, or because everyone thinks this is funny?

When a superior man hears of the Tao,

he immediately begins to embody it.

When an average man hears of the Tao,

he half believes it, half doubts it.

When a foolish man hears of the Tao,

he laughs out loud.

If he didn't laugh,

it wouldn't be the Tao.

Re:Humor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18171004)

It's because every other day there's a new "OMG WE'RE FUCKED" headline, and after a while you just begin to tone them all out.

Re:Humor? (4, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171084)

It's interesting to look at how many of the above responses are lame/decent attempts at humor.

Is this because there's nothing in the article for us to all argue about, or because everyone thinks this is funny?


This is slashdot.org, not beedot.org. There aren't many people here with knowledge of the beekeeping industry. If this was about CPU fabrication, you'd see a thread full of detailed discussion on operations per cycle and whatever else.

Instead, it's bees, so all we can do is crack bee jokes. Lack of knowledge => lack of insightful commentary.

In other news... (1)

purify0583 (1063046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170600)

Today, on the lawn of the white house, onlookers noticed a crudely written message in honey that read "So long and thanks for all the pollen."

P.S. love how this got tagged bug :)

ou'll release the dogs, or the bees, or... (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170628)

Don't tell me the dogs DID inhale???

A proven cause of the decline in Europe (2, Interesting)

Toffins (1069136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170644)

Giant Asian Hornets [telegraph.co.uk] arrived in Europe in 2004 and are voracious predators of honeybees and wasps. There were two colonies of wasps in my family's house's roof space in summer 2005. In mid August, we suddenly started seeing giant hornets entering our house in the evenings after dusk (they have excellent night vision). I captured one in a glass jar to get rid of it and put it outside and measured its body length as 5.5cm. I killed another one that started hitting on my wife for no apparent reason. It was certainly a hornet. I also saw them entering the roof space through gaps next to the guttering. One week later both of the wasp nests were completely empty of life and we also saw no more hornets in the house that summer. A local entomologist said the hornets had eaten the wasps and then left in search of more food. Contrary to what the article says, I can confirm from personal experience that they do have a heck of a sting (in addition to a painful bite). Keep well away from these critters!

GMO crops are a likely culprit. (0, Troll)

voxelman (236068) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170650)

The seed manufacturers (read Monsanto) have integrated herbicide and pesticide resistance genes into major grain crops like corn and soybeans. I also think they have added genes to cause the plants to produce their own herbicide. Now a major food chain dependency is collapsing and they wonder why.

Bees collect and consume pollen. Pollen is concentrated genetic material from plants. Is it any wonder that this could be having a negative effect on bees?

They are in the middle of war! (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170724)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africanized_bee [wikipedia.org]

Those poor honey bees are in middle of war! TFA said it was illness by mites that are the main thing. Well, that's just what the Africanized bees want us to think. The Africanized bees are bringing their mites to do biowarfare against the lowly honey bee! Oh no! We are being invaded and losses in our domesticated bee population are terrible! We need to support our commerical allies the honey bees in their war aganist Africanized bees and their bio warfare mites before our agriculture collapses!

GE & Pharma Crops? (1)

renota (5196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170738)

I wonder if it could be the genetically modified plants (eg pesticides & herbicides spliced in) or pharma crops (drugs spliced into plants).

We could create (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170764)

Hummingbird factories. Hummingbirds have a farther reach than most bees and will do most of the same job. We just have to create heated homes for them and train them to take over the job that bees have been doing for years.

Why we need bees when we have the Mexicans? (0, Flamebait)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170784)

The agro business will just let it be known to the coyotes that they will be need more hands to do the pollinating because the bees are all dead. The coyotes will deliver more poor desperate Mexicans to the farms. The farmers will pay them as much as they pay the bees now. They have to just suck nectar from the blossoms. No social security, no payroll tax, no workman comp, no time-and-a-half overtime ... The talk radio will denounce the illegal Mexicans taking away the job that used to be done by the American bees. They will be strangely silent on the rich, educated Legal American employers flouting the law and focus exclusively on the law breaking by the poor illiterate despo Illegal Immigrants. Sorry I was shooting for funny but more likely ended up as flamebait.

Sounds like it might be pesticides (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170786)

I came across an interesting article at http://www.everythingabout.net/articles/biology/an imals/arthropods/insects/bees/aa/vanishing_part1.s html [everythingabout.net] which discusses pesticide use and bees.

All it takes is for a field within the range of the bee hive to use a pesticide which can harm the bees and all the bees will suffer, since workers carry it back to the hive.

Preliminary ecological correlations (0)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170790)

I wasn't able to get quantitative data on the geography of CCD but I was able to get a map of states reporting CCD has occurred there. So I ran these correlations at the level of state ecologies [laboratory...states.com] :

        42 with log(YugoslavianPercapita1990)
        42 with -log(PrisonerDeathsPerInCustody1983)
        41 with -log(PrisonerDeathsMalePerInCustody1983)
        41 with -IrishPercapita1990
        37 with SwissPercapita1990
        36 with log(CostOfLivingRank2000)
        36 with sqrt(DanishPercapita1990)
        35 with log(FoodInsecureWithHungerPercentage3YearAverageSt arting2000)
        35 with log(HungerPercentage3YearAverageStarting2000)
        35 with log(NorwegianPercentOfWhites)
        34 with log(FinnishPercapita1990)
        34 with -DefenseExpendituresPercapita1997
        33 with log(NorwegianPercapita1990)
        33 with log(AirTrafficPercapita1999)
        32 with log(DutchPercapita1990)
        32 with sqrt(AirTrafficScheduledPercapita1999)
        31 with log(MalesPer100Females2000)
        30 with log(InjectedIllegalDrugUsingPercentHighSchoolFemal es2001)
        30 with log(CostOfLivingTransportation2000)
        30 with log(AdultMalesPer100AdultFemales2000)
        30 with SwedishPercapita1990
        30 with -French_CanadianPercapita1990
        30 with AustrianPercapita1990
        29 with PrisonerDeathsFemalePerInCustody1998
        29 with -log(PrisonerDeathsFemalePerInCustody1994)
        28 with -FrenchPercapita1990
        28 with log(AirTrafficNonScheduledMailTonsPercapita1999)
        28 with -log(PrisonerDeathsFemalePerInCustody1995)
        28 with log(WhiteYearsSchooling2000)
        28 with -IllegalSteroidUsingPercentHighSchoolMales2001
        27 with log(Other_groupsPercapita1990)
        27 with -HateCrimeEstimatedPercapita2000
        27 with AgeUnder18Percentage2000
        27 with log(ImmigrantsMexicoPercapita1998)
        27 with -MethamphetamineUsingPercentHighSchoolMales2001
        26 with WelshPercapita1990
        26 with sqrt(AirTrafficScheduledMailTonsPercapita1999)
        26 with log(AirTrafficPassengersPercapita1999)
        26 with sqrt(AirTrafficMailTonsPercapita1999)
        26 with -log(Age44To64Percentage2000)
        25 with log(AirTrafficNonScheduledFreightTonsPercapita1999 )
        25 with -log(AlcoholAbstainersPercentage1988)
        25 with -log(MedianAge2000)
        25 with -sqrt(United_States_or_AmericanPercapita1990)
        25 with log(FoodInsecureWithOrWithoutHungerPercentage3Year AverageStarting2000)
        25 with log(CostOfLivingHealthCare2000)
        25 with sqrt(BelgianPercapita1990)
        24 with -FedExpendituresPerDollarOfTaxes2002
        24 with -FedExpendituresPerDollarOfTaxesSansDC2002
        24 with ExportsManufacturedPercapita2003
        24 with PrisonerDeathsFemalePerInCustody1984
        24 with sqrt(PrisonerDeathsFemalePerInCustody1993)
        24 with -log(AlcoholConsumedPerDrinker1988)
        24 with log(AirTrafficScheduledPassengersPercapita1999)
        24 with -log(ImparingWaterPollutantsNutrientsMilesPercapit a2003)
        24 with log(GermanPercapita1990)
        24 with log(Other_racePercapita1990)
        23 with log(AirTrafficNonScheduledPercapita1999)
        23 with -PrisonerDeathsFemalePerInCustody1983
        23 with -log(PrisonerDeathsPerInCustody1994)
        23 with RomanianPercapita1990
        23 with -log(PrisonerDeathsMalePerInCustody1994)
        22 with sqrt(SlovakPercapita1990)
        22 with log(HispanicsPercapita1990)
        22 with log(CzechPercapita1990)
        22 with sqrt(PrisonerDeathsMalePerInCustody1986)
        22 with -log(AlcoholConsumedPerDrinker1989)
        22 with log(ChlamydiaPercapita1999)
        22 with log(AirTrafficFreightTonsPercapita1999)
        22 with -PrisonerDeathsMalePerInCustody1997
        22 with LarcenyTheftPercapita2001
        22 with -PrisonerDeathsFemalePerInCustody1987
        22 with sqrt(PrisonerDeathsPerInCustody1986)
        21 with sqrt(AutismPercapita1992)
        21 with -log(PrisonerDeathsPerInCustody1978)
        21 with sqrt(PrisonerDeathsFemalePerInCustody1992)
        21 with -log(PrisonerDeathsMalePerInCustody1978)
        21 with log(AirTrafficNonScheduledPassengersPercapita1999)
        21 with -log(PrisonerDeathsPerInCustody1980)
        21 with -PrisonerDeathsPerInCustody1989
        20 with log(FoodInsecureWithoutHungerPercentage3YearAverag eStarting1996)
        20 with -log(PrisonerDeathsPerInCustody1988)
        20 with -PrisonerDeathsPerInCustody1997
        20 with ImparingWaterPollutantsSedimentationMilesPercapita 2003 ...

Maybe it's the mosquito poison (1)

dudeX (78272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170800)

I live in Manhattan, New York City and every summer used to be a chore because bees would love to hang out in my apartment and I am afraid of bees. Then there was the West Nile Virus scare in the late 90's and the Mayor Rudy Guiliani decided to spray deadly melathione poison to kill mosquitoes. Subsequently every summer after that one, I rarely had bees come in through the window into my apartment.

In fact, I barely see any bees hanging out by the garbage bins since the late 90s, and probably seen more bees of the giant variety in park areas.

There's something wrong with the environment, and I can't say for sure what it is, but it may have to do with new pesticides, or even GM food. Who knows...

Actually (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171040)

It's just that not even the bees can afford to live in Manhattan anymore.

Causes - GMO? (1)

duplo1 (719988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170944)

I didn't read TFA, but NPR reported this a few weeks ago. According to the NPR report, they performed autopsies on the few bees that were found dead in the vicinity of the colony. Apparently, they suffered from odd cysts and internal lesions. One possibility that hasn't been discussed is that genetically modified crops might be part the equation. I know we all love CRM'd (Crop Rights Management??) crops, but it wouldn't be the first time that an ecosystem has been threatened [newswithviews.com] by a combination of GMO crops and the over-application of herbicides.

Possible reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18170968)

Biggest problem is that the bees were bred to have short life spans and to polinate over production of honey. The other big problem is the hives are only in one place for a short time creating an orientation problem for the bees. Almond producers should have flowering ground cover that would allow bees to have a hive in the same location all year if they are serious about the problem.
Also bringing back older strains of bees would help. Ones that make more honey and less polination but are more hardy and live longer.
Having delt with the bee industry I can say the days of truck loaded honey bees will end one day.

Science and reality are liberal plots (0, Flamebait)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18171052)

Tune in to Fox News and hear the truth. Science and Reality are evil plots to turn your kids into muslim lesbian liberal queer feminists.
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