Monday, March 09th, 2009 | Author:

This blog gets a fair amount of traffic, and this commentary on “colony collapse disorder” from a well-known pollination broker in California deserves attention. Also interesting is to read what he had to say about the idea of “beekeepers receiving government subsidies” almost 10 years ago in 1999. This topic is current again in the news.

–DNR

http://www.beesource.com/pov/traynor/bcdec2008.htm

DECEMBER, 2008 issue BEE CULTURE

Joe Traynor

The following is distilled from the reams of disparate dispatches from the CCD front. I have tried to condense this mass of information into a coherent whole. None of what follows is original — all has been expressed in one form or another by others.

When CCD first came on the stage in 2006-2007, a number of possible causes entered the stage at, or close to, the same time:

Drought in many areas
Difficulty in controlling varroa mites
Nosema ceranae (believed to be widespread since at least 2006)
Decreased bee pasture + increased corn acreage
Chemical buildup in comb
Neonicotinoid pesticides

A good argument can be made for any one of these as the main, or sole cause of CCD; a better argument for a combination of two or more. If only one of the above had occurred, it would have been much simpler to either designate or eliminate it as the cause of CCD.

Based on field reports, CCD can devastate a given apiary in a short period of time, sweeping from one end to the other, leaving previously populous colonies with only a handful of bees and a queen. Since rapid decline of an organism (consider, as many have, a honey bee colony to be an individual organism) is typical of a pathogen, current thinking is that a pathogen, either N. ceranae or a virus (or a combination of both) is the basic cause of CCD.

If a virus causes CCD, is it a new “super” virus, or one of the known bee viruses – Kashmir, DWV, APV et al. — or perhaps a mutation of a known virus to a more virulent form? We don’t know, but assuming that a virus causes CCD allows us to speculate on remedial measures.

Consider other CCD-like problems in humans and plants:

Target
Disease
Pathogen
Main Vector
Humans
Flu
virus
humans
Humans
Malaria
protozoa
mosquitoes
Humans
W.Nile virus
virus
mosquitoes
Humans
Lyme
bacteria
ticks
Citrus
Greening
bacteria
psyllid
Grapes
Pierce’s
bacteria
sharpshooter
Tomatoes
Mosaic
virus
aphids

In each of the above instances, the Target can withstand the Vector in the absence of the Pathogen – mosquitoes are a minor concern to us if they don’t harbor a pathogen; without a READ THE REST…

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3 Responses

  1. 1
    Rachel Resnikoff 

    What if almond growers and others needing bees were encouraged/trained/compensated for keeping their own bees? Planting lavender and other year-round bee attractants? How much would it coast to take out of row of trees and plant flowers vs. shipping bees across the country to end up dying before they make it home?

  2. 2
    Cheryl Hill 

    My husband and I watched with much interest and concern, the programme shown on the BBC.
    We saw that some beekeepers were strengthening their bees by giving sugar supplements; knowing the beneficial qualities of Manuka, (certainly antibacterial, possibly anti-viral and fungal?) could it not be an idea to
    supplement with Manuka while the cause of the die off is still unknown?
    My husband wondered if there might even be a plant with similar qualities to the Manuka tree that could be grown near to hives? I’m thinking gentian, lavender, tea-tree or something?
    I noticed mention of acid to help against mites, and I’m sure Manuka’s special ingredient is some sort of acid. Is it known for bees in Manuka areas in New Zealand to be affected?
    I thought it was a question worth asking?
    My own feeling, is that monocultures in general will never be the healthiest of places, and that diversity is better all round; you know… all your eggs in one basket??
    It has been found that hedgerows provide a bit of healthy competition, and I have heard that they are possibly even more effective than pesticides.
    Pesticides pose too much of a risk all round.

  3. I am in total awe of Joe Traynors vast knowledge concerning CCD and the medical benefits of honey. His books have been a constant inspiration to me. There are so many reports in the media surrounding the possible causes concerning the loss of our bees. Losing the honey bee who of course is a master pollinator will mean more than just losing the pollination of our food crops. It goes far beyond the realms of most peoples understanding. Joe I thank you for your efforts in helping to bring this to the attention of many who would be otherwise unaware.

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