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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    at home

    Mystery Illness Kills Thousands of U.S. Honeybees

    Mystery Illness Kills Thousands of U.S. Honeybees

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (Feb. 11) - A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination.

    Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called Colony Collapse Disorder.

    Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some affected commercial beekeepers - who often keep thousands of colonies - have reported losing more than 50 percent of their bees. A colony can have roughly 20,000 bees in the winter, and up to 60,000 in the summer.

    "We have seen a lot of things happen in 40 years, but this is the epitome of it all," Dave Hackenberg, of Lewisburg-based Hackenberg Apiaries, said by phone from Fort Meade, Fla., where he was working with his bees.

    The country's bee population had already been shocked in recent years by a tiny, parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which has destroyed more than half of some beekeepers' hives and devastated most wild honeybee populations.

    Along with being producers of honey, commercial bee colonies are important to agriculture as pollinators, along with some birds, bats and other insects. A recent report by the National Research Council noted that in order to bear fruit, three-quarters of all flowering plants - including most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs and fuel - rely on pollinators for fertilization.

    Hackenberg, 58, was first to report Colony Collapse Disorder to bee researchers at Penn State University. He notified them in November when he was down to about 1,000 colonies - after having started the fall with 2,900.

    "We are going to take bees we got and make more bees ... but it's costly," he said. "We are talking about major bucks. You can only take so many blows so many times."

    One beekeeper who traveled with two truckloads of bees to California to help pollinate almond trees found nearly all of his bees dead upon arrival, said Dennis vanEnglesdorp, acting state apiarist for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

    "I would characterize it as serious," said Daniel Weaver, president of the American Beekeeping Federation. "Whether it threatens the apiculture industry in the United States or not, that's up in the air."


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    I saw this on TV the other day. The wildest thing was the bees that completely disappeared! What's with that?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    hasn't this been going on for a while? i've been reading about this a lot in recent years. funny how many people are completely unaware that bees are responsible for pollinating many of the foods we need to survive... not to mention all kinds of other flowering plants... so they aren't just for honey. i sure hope scientists can figure out out.

    yeah, strange how they disappear.. maybe bees that are sick leave the hive? any beekeepers here.....?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Many moons have passed me by, but I read a fictional book called DUST and it actually provided references and it was about how if a few insects that we rely upon are removed from the circle, it would lead to the end of the world, as we know it. Actually in the book, the mites took over and had a feeding fest on humans, but it still boils down to the fact how we take for granted the "Circle" and if one thing changes that, it has repercussions throughout.

  5. #5
    whoa, i hadn't heard this.....good point about the "Circle", Meduza...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003


    I have not heard of any bee losses in Colorado, I may have missed it if there were. I have been watching the news about the bees.

    In Denver however, we are finding many many dead ducks. Last week a group of 500 ducks were found dead on city waste water treatment water. There have been large groups of ducks found dead prior to last weeks find.

    No cause has been announced or found the last that I have heard, for the dead ducks..

    There must be something killing the bees that is in common use that we are ignorant about so far. OR the terrorists are doing 'it'.

    Opinions expressed by me, are mine, based on life experience, and known facts of any given case.

    """I am just a pixel in the universal plan."""