This bee article was in The Tennessean today... www.tennessean.com I don't know much about beekeeping but the article is very interesting. ~ Glenda
Beekeepers fear sting of imported hives
U.S. starts examining Australian insects
"...Beekeepers who are battling a mysterious ailment that led to the disappear≠ance of millions of honeybees now fear that imported Australian bees could outcompete their hives and might carry a deadly parasite unseen in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Agri≠culture has allowed shipments of Australian bees to resume despite concerns by some of its own sci≠entists..."
"...domestic bee stocks have been waning since 2004, when scientists first got reports of the puzzling illness that has claimed up to 90 percent of com≠mercial hives and has been labeled colony collapse disorder.
Thatís also the year the USDA allowed imports of Australian hives, and scientists have been investigating whether Australia was a source of a virus tied to the bee die-off..."
wow ... it's the Australians fault! right, it's always so easy to blame someone else for our problems, isn't it true? the honey bee is a very sensitive insect body and community. They have been domesticated thousand of years ago to live with humans ... and in very few years humans have changed more than in the last 2 thousand years prior. Are the bees going to be able to keep up with us? Or should we regress in our changes (slow down a bit) for a few thousand years so that the bees get to keep up with us?
pollution - specifically pesticides - are the main culprit for our health problems, as well as the bees' health. We need to learn how to pollute less.
I just watched a program about CCD last night. I'm visiting this forum to find out what I can do. I understood that the bees have a form of AIDS making them more susceptible to viruses and toxins. Bee AIDS seems to be the result of multiple factors including:
-- Australian virus. It's always dangerous to bring something from the other side of the world into an ecosystem. I was confused though b/c I thought they started bringing in the Australian bees to replace the bees that had already disappeared.
-- Malnutrition. Using bees for large crops limits their diet and is unhealthy. It's like if we ate nothing but broccoli.
-- Pesticides. This is clearly a huge factor. We're smart enough to figure out how to use organic methods in large scale farming so that foods are affordable and safe. We will probably have to outlaw pesticides before that happens. I don't understand why we never do the right thing until we're forced to, but that is how it works.
You can also help keep bees healthy by making your yard and garden colorful, diverse and pesticide free. Here are some tips on how you can Bee Safe:
Bee Native: Use local and native plants in your yard and garden. These plants thrive easily and are well suited for local bee populations, providing pollen and nectar for bees to eat.
Bee Diverse: Plant lots of different kinds of plants in your yard. Plant diversity ensures that your garden attracts many different varieties of bees and gives them a range of flowering plants to choose from throughout the year. Make sure your yard plants vary in:
Color: Bees have good vision and are attracted to several different colors of flowers.
Shape: Different species of bees are better suited for different shapes of flowers. Give your bees some variety!
Flowering times: Having a sequence of plant species that flower throughout the year helps sustain the food supply and attract different species of bees.
Bee Open to Pollen: Pollen is bee food. Genetically engineered pollen-free plants trick bees into thinking they'll find food, and then leave them hungry. (Don't worry, flower pollen isn't a big contributor to most people's allergies.)
Bee Pesticide Wary: There are many natural methods to control pests in your garden. Researchers believe pesticides are a contributing factor to Colony Collapse Disorder. Moreover, some insecticides are harmful to bees and wipe out flowers that provide bees with food. If you must, use targeted pesticides and spray at night -- when bees aren't active -- on dry days.
Bee a Hive Builder: Building your own bee hive is easy and fun. Creating a wood nest is a good place to start -- wood-nesting bees donít sting! Simply take a non-pressure treated block of wood and drill holes that are 3/32 inch to 5/16 inch in diameter and about 5 inches deep and wait for the bees to arrive.
I have always suspected that CCD was the result of too much interfearence of man with the bees. I just don't think bees were designed to be shipped thousands of miles a year and work 12 months in a row. We have manipulated them to get more honey and to pollinate more crops than they were designed to do.
I think we need to take a step back and reduce some of the stress on the bees and use some of the methods that kept them going for thousands of years. Sometimes when my hives split, I let the bees go instead of recapturing them. Hopefully they will replenish the wild population that we used to have around here.