Tag-Archive for » CCD «

Thursday, March 12th, 2009 | Author:

Although there isn’t any real “news” in this video, it’s important to celebrate the efforts of these two young adults and give props to C-SPAN and them for pumpin’ up the volume! We shouldn’t forget, also, that the Haiti news footage they selected to show “food shortages” comes from the time after the (officially censored) U.S.-sponsored coup of the Haitian government, which has left that already poor country in chaos. Context, context. That country didn’t have much food even before the coup! Better B-roll would have been from the spiking prices in the “First World” supermarkets. Great work, nonetheless. -DNR

Greenwich students win C-SPAN film contest
By Meredith Blake
Staff Writer
Posted: 03/10/2009 11:11:30 PM EDT

After weeks of collecting film clips of honey bee colonies and newsreels on rising food prices and then interviewing leading scientists in the field on colony collapse disorder, Greenwich High School seniors Eliza McNitt and Charles Greene felt ready to complete their documentary for C-SPAN.

Each year the news organization hosts a student documentary contest and this year the topic student films had to address was on the most pressing issue the new president must face.

McNitt and Greene, both 17, chose the problem of the disappearing colonies of honey bees throughout the country and its impact on the cost of food. C-SPAN announced Tuesday that “Requiem for the Honeybee” won first prize out of more than 1000 entries from middle and high school students throughout the country. READ REST…

CAPTION: Greenwich High School seniors Eliza McNitt and Charles Greene received first… (contributed photo)

Requiem for the Honeybee

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 | Author:

British Govt Attempts National Beekeeper DatabaseNational Bee Database to be set up to monitor colony collapse

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:16PM GMT 09 Mar 2009

Britain’s 20,000 amateur beekeepers have been asked to register their insects on a national database in a bid to halt the dramatic decline of the honey bee…

The register, funded by the Department for the Environment, will be used to monitor health trends and help establish for certain whether the £30 million honey industry is under threat from the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder.

Theories about the cause of the decline in the bee population, which has seen nearly one in three hives collapse, include climate change and an infestation by the Varroa mite. READ REST at the Telegraph…

My Questions:

  1. Would beekeepers in the u.S.A ever voluntarily join a national database managed by the U.S. Federal Government?
  2. What does £4.3 million really buy??
  3. Does registering with a government database include creating a GIS from this database? Who owns the data? Since it should be public data, will the database be available in real-time on the Internet for other researchers to use?
  4. Making the data publicly available opens the research potential, but at what costs to the beekeeper’s privacy? How much data are they “invited” to submit to the database?
  5. Don’t privacy concerns about “a beek’s girls” and business interests get trumped by the dire consequences of failing to understand what’s happening worldwide?
  6. Will joining such a database subject the beekeeper to new regulation, oversight and intrusion by (presumably inept) government controllers?

The UK will provide lessons to the North Americans who still can’t get a dime from their government to do real research on the bees. I’m talking federal money for thousands of GPS tagged hives like the rest of the modern world uses to track anything. Basic logic says we need to know where (commercial) hives are going to analyze the data about what they were exposed to, for how long, with which other bees, from where (Australia?), etc. We need data for a GIS, and it can’t be chicken scratched on plastic bags with sharpies, only (dead bees). In the U.S., it seems that the privatized mind thinks that research money should only come from private interests, like Haagan Daaz or the Almond Industry, or the military. Does this opinion come from a jaded viewpoint that federal funding means loss of control and more potential suffocating regulation, a lack of trust in government?

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 | Author:

SavethehivesIt’s been almost a year since I began my CCD Mapping website, which has yet to launch… Nice to get motivated by another fantastic mapping project, the Feral Bee Project, “a site focused on creating a national database of feral honey bee populations.” Ronnie Bouchon built the site himself from the ground up using Google’s API and Google spreadsheets. Hat’s off to this committed human being! Some people in my beekeeping club actually thought it was a bad idea to map feral colonies, out of some fear that people would go mess with them now that they knew where there were. Overprotective bee lovers?

The possibilities of using the Feral Bee Project’s data to build heat maps and do other analysis excites me to get my participatory CCD mapping site off the ground. As Ronnie has done, I am ever-evaluating the mapping technologies and Google’s tools are tempting. I like the benefits of his site design: no “user log-in” or “registration” to thwart the average nature-not-computer lover, no submission approval process (not yet warranted, he reports), and a nice interface for finding your place on the map. But I’ve always been partial to hosting all of my project data on my own sites, instead of relying on Google spreadsheets hosted who knows where. It is fantastic to have all the data in an accessible spreadsheet, however, instead of buried in some SQL database, IMO.

The sensitivity about mapping colony collapse disorder events makes such an open methodology difficult to gain acceptance, I’ve assumed. Perhaps that assumption is wrong. Now that we have something of a definitive list of symptoms and patterns being published this month about how to recognize CCD, perhaps a community-generated dataset won’t be filled with speculative points that may dilute the value and accuracy of the data collected. What do you think? I’ll invite Ronnie Bouchon to comment. His site, Savethehives.com lists another project in the works and it would be great to get an update on how that is going.
Savethehives Map

“With all the media coverage and public awareness of Colony Collapse Disorder, there is still not a single database of reported cases of CCD. The CCD Map would be provide a web-based approach for collecting and presenting reported cases of CCD in a way that could help researchers and government agencies understand this national crisis. This national database of information will be centrally maintained and available to research programs and universities.”

- Savethehives.com

Ronnie, any news about the CCD mapping project? What have been your biggest hurdles and what do your collaborators in the beekeeping world say about creating a CCD map? Comment here for us. ;)

Saturday, February 07th, 2009 | Author:


This snapshot of Colony Collapse Disorder news stories comes from 2007. It’s been the only Colony Collapse Disorder news .kml file on the Net for a long time. Why is that?… It’s become stale, some of the original website source links are broken, but the the summaries exist and it’s interesting none the less. David Grogan was a student at Tufts University when he manually created this map using RSS and google. I’m working on an updated version that automagically updates the map with new stories from google news, similar to how www.healthmap.org works.

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Friday, February 06th, 2009 | Author:

The First Full Accounting of Colony Collapse Disorder
Kim Flottum’s Daily Green – Jan. 1, 2009

“A new study comprehensively describes the early and late symptoms, the visual signs and the progression of the mysterious affliction decimating U.S. beekeepers.

In a full report prepared by this team to be released in the February issue of Bee Culture magazine, Bee Alert’s Scott Debnam and Jerry Bromenshenk from Missoula Montana, David Westervelt from Florida’s Apiary Inspections Bureau, and Randy Oliver, a commercial beekeeper with real-world honey bee research experience from Grass Valley, California detail the symptoms of CCD with respect to where it hits, and when it hits.

To review what’s commonly known:
Colony Collapse Disorder Symptoms: Final Stage

In collapsed colonies

  • Complete absence of older adult bees in colonies, with few or no dead bees in the colony, on the bottom board, in front of the colony, or in the beeyard.
  • Presence of capped brood in colonies during time of year when queen should be laying.
  • Presence of food stores, both honey and pollen, unless a drought or time of year restricts availability of food resources.
  • Absence of pest insects such as wax moth and hive beetle.
  • Lack of robbing by other bees
  • Robbing and return of hive pests is delayed by days or weeks.

In collapsing colonies

  • Too few worker bees to maintain brood that is present.
  • Remaining bee population predominately young bees.
  • Queen is present.
  • Queen may lay more eggs than can be maintained by workers, or is appropriate for the time of year.
  • Cluster is reluctant to consume supplemental food such as sugar syrup and pollen supplement.

However, these are the terminal symptoms. By the time colonies reach this point it is far too late to do anything but bury the dead. What’s needed is being able to spot colonies that are in the early stages of CCD. This could be a real plus because perhaps beekeepers could turn them around if they were discovered early enough. Even though they still don’t know the cause, proper and appropriate management techniques go a long way in helping.

Here’s what the team has found:

Colony Collapse Disorder Symptoms: Early Stages

One year out:
Colonies are “just not doing well” with few other visible symptoms. They seem healthy, but have lackluster honey production.

Six months out:
Symptoms are vague and easily missed. Monthly inspections and careful comparisons are needed. Brood nests are slow to expand, with most in a single hive body. Mid-day inspections show bees dispersed in the colony, but this varies. Population growth slows to stops during growing season when compared to other colonies in the same yard. Honey stores remain untouched, bees are feeding on nectar recently collected. These symptoms are difficult to spot due to the careful comparisons needed.

Three months out:
CCD colonies appear slow to grow and are outpaced by non-CCD colonies in the apiary. There is a noticeable population decrease going from 3 to 2 boxes, or 2 to 1, and often the bees are on only a few frames in the bottom box…and they appear restless. Brood patterns are shot gun pattern because of dead brood removal, and honey stores begin to diminish if it’s late in the season, but if early, the honey remains untouched. Routine maintenance goes undone and no propolis seals are noticeable.

One month out:
Usually 8 frames of bees or fewer remain and they decline rapidly. Brood is produced, but can’t be supported, queen replacement is often tried, and abandoned brood is common. Stored honey depends on the season … in summer it may all be depleted, in winter untouched.

Remaining bees fail to eat supplied food or medications, and it’s mostly young bees that remain now, as the older bees are gone. Queens continue to lay excessively, and the colony usually lacks any aggressiveness at all.

14 Visual Symptoms of a Colony with Colony Collapse Disorder

  1. Just days before its collapse the colony seemed to be strong and fully functional
  2. Mostly young bees remaining in the hive
  3. Bees are not aggressive
  4. Queen is present
  5. Eggs are present
  6. Full frames of brood may be present
  7. Brood may show signs of “shotgun” pattern
  8. Capped honey and fresh nectar are often present, although not in summer collapses, which are uncommon
  9. Fresh pollen has been stored in the hive recently, if external resources are available
  10. Supplemental feed (syrup and extender patties) if supplied, are ignored
  11. No robbing occurs
  12. No secondary pests (small hive beetles, wax moths or ants) are found
  13. No dead bees are noted around entrance of the hive
  14. Bees do not show any signs of winglessness, paralysis or other adult bee diseases.

Colony Collapse Disorder: Management Notes

CCD tends to travel like a wave through a beeyard, and combining affected and unaffected colonies usually gives 2 dead colonies. Adding a package may help, and may not. There is a time lag until secondary pests will move in … using equipment before that time for more bees is risky and the colony may die again. Once these secondary pests move in the equipment seems fine for bees, too.

The Cause of Colony Collapse Disorder remains unknown, but the diagnosis is getting better all the time.

For the full article with additional information see the February issue of Bee Culture on our web site www.BeeCulture.com.

Thanks to Scott, David, Jerry and Randy”

Friday, February 06th, 2009 | Author:

By: www.BeeCulture.com

Researchers in Connecticut, during the 2007 growing season monitored pesticides found in pollen collected in pollen traps. Colonies studied were under normal conditions and were not collapsing or in any other way ill. No colonies died during the experiment.

The researchers collected the pollen twice a week from four locations in Connecticut during the season. 102 Samples were collected and analyzed using HPLC/MS. (High Performance Liquid Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry)

Results: 37 pesticides were detected. 15 insecticide/ acaracides, 11 fungicides, 10 herbicides and 1 plant growth regulator. All samples had at least one pesticide detected.

The most commonly detected pesticide was coumaphos. Carbaryl and phosmet, both highly toxic to bees were the most commonly detected field pesticides. Imidacloprid was detected 30 times, mostly at low levels. The pesticides found at the highest levels were both fungicides: myclobutanil and boscalid.

- www.BeeCulture.com

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 | Author:

Today’s juicy find on da Net delivered via google news alert came from a little story in the Meadville Tribune which included a reference to MAAREC, “a regional group focused on addressing the pest management crisis facing the beekeeping industry in the Mid-Atlantic Region.”

“The focus of MAAREC research has been on the identification of alternatives to chemical controls and promotion of less reliance on chemical pesticides for mite control. (More) http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/

New On This Site:

  • New! “How to Live With Black Bears” by Craig Cella, June 2005 Am. Bee Journal (Part 1, Part 2)
  • New! Participate in NASA sponsored climate and scale hive study (3/11/2008)
  • New! Pesticide Residue Testing (3/11/2008) - (see copy of PDF below)
  • New! Online Beekeeping Course – University of Delaware (3/11/2008)
  • New! Häagen-Dazs recently presented a gift to Penn State to support entomology research and education on the honey bee crisis. (press release) The ice cream company has unveiled a new interactive website promoting honey bee education and research on colony collapse disorder. (2/22/2007)
  • Mid-Atlantic Beekeepers’ IPM Priorities Survey


Pesticide Analysis of Honey Bee Hive Products and Matrixes

Many beekeepers have expressed an interest in having their hive products or other materials within the hive, such as pollen, wax or nectar, tested for pesticide residues. Because these pesticide analyses are costly, we are working with potential funding agencies to generate monies that would allow us to share the cost of the analysis with beekeepers. This program to share the cost of the analysis would have additional benefits. The information from individual samples would become part of a large centralized, and confidential database maintained at Penn State. Pesticide preparation

We could then provide individual beekeepers with their information in light of all samples analyzed up until that point in time (their levels compared to the average levels in the entire data base). We could also provide additional information about the pesticides detected, such as their relative toxicity to bees (LD50).

To date we do not have the monies to fund this program, however we are working to obtain these funds. In the meantime, beekeepers who wish to have samples analyzed can send them directly to the USDA-AMS-National Science Laboratory (see directions below). If you are willing to allow your data to be available to the Penn State research group working on pesticides for inclusion into the overall database, please state this in writing when you send your sample(s) to the NSL. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Maryann Frazier at mfrazier@psu.edu or by phone at 814-865-4621.

Direct testing through the USDA-AMS-National Sciences Lab

USDA-AMS-National Science Laboratory (NSL)
801 Summit Crossing Place, Suite B
Gastonia, NC 28054

The NSL can provide fee-for-service pesticide residue testing of honey bee hive products, including honey, wax, pollen, royal jelly, bees, brood, and bee bread. We can also test other sample types upon request and consultation.

The fee schedule is as follows: Comprehensive pesticide residue testing of 170 pesticides and metabolites – $252.00

Focused pesticide residue testing of Amitraz and its metabolites (2,4-dimethyl aniline and 2,4-dimethylphenyl formamide), Coumaphos and its metabolites (Coumaphos oxon, Chlorferon and Potasan), and Fluvalinate – $126.00

Samples can be submitted directly to the laboratory address above with the attention to Roger Simonds.

The information needed for any sample submittal is as follows:
• Sample type
• Unique identifier
• Type of testing desired
• Contact information of sample submitter

The results will be reported directly to the sample submitter unless permission is given in writing with the sample that PSU or any other party is to also receive the results.

The sample size should be no less than 1 gram if possible, and preferably greater than 10 grams. A larger sample size is more representative and also allows us to subsample and save some of the original material in case a re-extraction is necessary due to a problem during analysis. Samples should be submitted in very clean, leak-proof, crush-proof (preferably not glass), containers.

Does anyone know of other pesticide testing labs and pricing? Comment here.

Amitraz Tick collar
Etofenprox and Methoprene collar
ZODIAC pet warning… yikes!
Carbaryl flea collar
Permethrin Flea collar
Propoxur flea collar

Incidentally, I was in a feed store/hardware store in Mendocino County, CA on March 1, and noticed the flea collars, and remembered reading about neonicotinoids being suspected of lowering honey bee immunity and causing “CCD” and how they are in flea collars and pet products. Well, I took some pics for later research. Turns out fipronil is the active ingredient in FRONTLINE cream, and that was a substance banned in France in 2004 for killing bees! Is this substance under EPA and public scrutiny? Imagine where all those used collars end up… landfills, garbage cans, places where insects and worms are supposed to thrive and do the work of breaking down our waste. Imagine all the places your dogs and cats wander around outdoors, laying, rubbing against, scratching away hairs that contain residues of this chemical. How long does the chemical survive? Is it one of those found in water supplies across the U.S. by the Associated Press Investigative team (followup)? Who’s got a report back on the EPA status of this “active ingredient, fipronil?” A 10 second google search found this public discussion… Comment, please.

Flea collar with fipronil - product name “FRONTLINE”