Beekeepers around the country have been averaging losses of approximately 30 percent of their colonies each year, causing a significant economic impact, affecting the availability of hives for pollination, and leading to reductions in honey production. But what is the cause of such losses and what we can do to reduce the problem, not only with honey bees, but with other pollinators, as well? Understanding the issue and researching a solution is much more productive than inciting panic in mainstream media.
yet intensive agriculture and increased urbanization have led to a loss of bee forage in many areas. Poor nutrition reduces the ability of a colony to deal with environmental stresses.
Because the problems of bee health are complex and have clearly been affected by human activities, we should be calling for more sound, scientific research and coming together to do our part to minimize our impacts on the environment and help reverse the trend of colony decline.
Richard Fell is professor emeritus in the department of entomology at Virginia Tech and pollinator health advisor to the National Pest Management Association. His research and teaching interests are in apiculture and insect behavior and recent research projects have involved the study of a honey bee pathogen, Nosema ceranae, the within colony distribution of the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, the effects of pesticides and pesticide residues on honey bee health, and the pollination of cultivated crops.
of several structural pests including termites, cockroaches, and bed bugs, and have been blamed as the source of colony losses.
Nonetheless, pesticides may play a role in the declines we see in colony health. More than 120 different pesticide residues (which include herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) have been identified in samples taken from beehives around the country. Most of these occur at extremely low levels parts per billion or at a level equivalent to a pinch of Nike Sneakers 2018 For Men salt in about 10 tons of potato chips. Individually these residues probably have little effect on bee health, but what we do not know is how they might interact. Interestingly, the most common residues found in beehives are chemicals used by beekeepers to control parasitic mites.
The question of causation is difficult to answer since there is no simple solution or single factor that can be identified as the primary cause of colony decline. Those of us involved in bee research see the potential effects of a number of factors that could interact to affect colony health.
Our understanding of colony decline is unlikely to be solved by looking for single factors and placing blame. Honey bee health needs to be examined within the context of the colony's environment Nike Shoes High Tops Price
Unfortunately, there are some who see the problem in more simplistic terms and want to point to a single factor and place blame. One of the current targets is a group of widely used insecticides called neonicotinoids. These insecticides are used extensively in agricultural applications and in the treatment Nike Sneakers Old School
Yet the data to support such claims are poor at best, often relying on studies that use unrealistically high dosages, unrepresentative of what bees encounter in the field. The fact that Europe has placed a two year moratorium on the use of some neonicotinoids is more the result of politics than good science, especially since these compounds have been used in Australia with little evidence of problems.
apocalypse on the horizon
The varroa mite is a major problem to colony health and many beekeepers feel that chemical control is necessary for colony survival, but there is also evidence that some of these miticides affect bee health, reducing adult longevity, increasing disease susceptibility and affecting reproduction.
In recent months, I've been concerned about the level of credence being given to some reports covering honey bees and colony decline, especially those that claim that a bee apocalypse is coming and that bees will most definitely be extinct within a few years. Considering researchers, academics and beekeepers have been dealing with the problem of serious honey bee colony losses for the past 10 years, we might say that a bee apocalypse has already arrived, if we wish to term it as such.
and the interaction of factors that impact the colony, such as nutrition. We know that honey bees need a diversity of nectar and pollen sources for optimal health, Nike Shoes Skateboard
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