New theory on bee disappearance

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

Thank you Vic - good link

Davenport, IA(Zone 5a)

That is mind boggling, to say the least.

I wonder how far off Einstein was? Will we find out?

Rowlett, TX(Zone 8a)

I know the bees are very scarce here in my area this year...I have not seen more than half a dozen total....

Yes, it is very scary..

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Hive die-off over the winter is not that uncommon to begin with. My neighbor across the street, who is very experienced, lost 3 out of 4 this winter. He says I'm either extremely lucky or doing something right in order to have a 3-year-old hive that was raring to go the first warm day last month.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Quite disturbing, Victor. I do have a cellular phone that I use maybe 4-5 minutes a month, otherwise it is turned off.

I sure hope Einstein was wrong!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

How interesting... Today, a friend who is a timber consultant came over. We are going to do some select cutting and were walking out our property. Deep in the woods, we heard bees. Sounded like a large swarm of them. We chose not to disturb them so didn't go looking for them. We also discussed how the GPS won't work in our area as the cell phones don't either. Some connection with no cell service and bees? Unreal what we do to ourselves, maybe even terminal.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I just heard about this on the Today Show the other day. Makes perfect sense to me.

I always figured that if I moved to the country and could produce my own food by growing it, I could have what my family needs if there's a disaster causing food shortage. Maybe not. No bees, no veggies....... no corn, no chickens. Scary. Suddenly I don't feel quite so smug.....................

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Yes, it would be disastrous for everyone, everywhere. Question is - in the rural areas, where there are not lots of cell towers, is it better?

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

This is just my opinion, but I think the more people who have a hive or two & keep an eye on their bees but don't steal all the honey & replace it with sugar syrup, the better off we'll be (bee?).

When you have monoculture crops that rely on trucking the poor creatures round the country, that's where the trouble starts. Disease spreads, the bees get disoriented, they have a less varied diet.

And everyone touts the benefits of raw honey for health issues. Think how replacing it with sugar may have cumulative results for the bees.

Once again, this is just my view of the problems.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

PeggieK ~ I understand not feeling quite so smug or even snug. One article I read indicated that when a cell phone was left on and laying by a hive, the bees left not to return.

There are no cell towers within 50 miles of me. Cell service, Onstar and GPS are totally useless here in my neck of the woods. And yet, I have seen no bees around the yard this spring but only a half mile away in the woods, we found a swarm of bees.

I've seen darn few hummingbirds either. I wonder if they are affected too.

At any rate, the far reaching implications are scary. With out bees to pollinate, we lose our food sources, crops, seed production etc. Should this be proven, the big money is with the phone services and they will battle tooth and toenail to stay in existance.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

pod, why would gps not work?? It's satellite based technology. If you can't get gps signals, I would be more worried about that.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Victor ~ I don't know about the GPS. The timber consultant just indicated there were places like this where it didn't work? I know some of the surveyors use it.
BIL & SIL showed up for a visit and immediately locked themselves out of their new SUV. Not to worry, they had Onstar. Called and Onstar tried to unlock with no success. I said oops bet they use cell towers. Oh no, BIL says its' satelitte. Called again with no success. On the third call, they said the cell towers don't reach your area we will send a wrecker service. Do GPS units also use cell towers? I don't know. We do have SAT tv/radio but the signal is sensitive to being set just right and no interference from trees.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

BTW, why worry about NOT getting GPS signals? What is the downside?

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Never heard of relaying the signal through cell towers. It's a direct line of sight kind of deal. There can be interference of course.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Sorry, we crossed. If your first statement was correct that you can never get gps signals anywhere around where you live, I would be worried about strong electromagnetic fields, etc.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I got to say you are well over my head. I am barely computer literate... and way to content to worry about strong electromagnetic fields... the bees are the other hand scare me! That could be the end of civilization as we know it.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Yes, the bee problem has much greater worldwide significance.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 9b)

I just found this site, and I have a question about the Franken foods. There are foods that have been GE, that have their pesticide in them. Wouldn't that kill the bees off also? Just wondering. Thanks, Krispi

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Good question... and one of the reasons I grow heirloom veggies.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

That was one of the earlier theories about the problem. Pesticides, mites, virus were all given as possibilities. Weird thing is - they don't find dead bees - just empty hives.

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8b)

While this may be the best theory that I've heard so far on the issue, it still doesn't explain why
"the parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives." That's where every theory I've heard breaks down. WHAT would cause this???

To me, it only makes since that it has something to do with the hives themselves. Otherwise the bee's predators would come in. Could it be that the bees are bringing back something? Granted, there may be an issue with my theory as well- the hive doesn't actually totally die out immediately. The queen, the eggs, and immature worker bees are left.

There are very interesting phenomenons in nature where eating a certain parasite will cause the host to do something that it wouldn't normally do, which in turn will cause it to get eaten- read this article: (hate the website name, but they do have interesting stuff). There could be something to this regarding the bees....

Just another angle to throw into the mix :) Whatever the issue is- I agree with the fact that it is scary!!!!!

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Trish, thanks for the link. Bad name, good link. Amazing stuff there.

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

The thought occured to me as to why it would be showing up now if the problem was due to wireless technology. We have had this wireless for several years. Is there something new lately in wireless or could things have finally reached a saturation point only lately?

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Good question. I would guess the latter - the cell saturation has only been growing.

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

Older mobile phones (commonly referred to as RCC) were much lower in "center" frequency, typically in the VHF (very high frequency) band around 150 MHZ, however, because of the frequency much more power was required to reach the desired distance for transmission.

With the advent of "cell - phones" the frequency is much higher (approaching micro-wave) with a lower power requirement but is also more "line of sight" so that more towers are required to service an area.

The most notable difference (too humans) may be the lack of need to ask an operator to dial a number for you.

Who knows how the higher frequency affects a Bee? While Cell has been around for awhile - I doubt it has been long enough for accurate studies to have been performed.

This message was edited Apr 18, 2007 8:12 PM

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Maybe the buzzing I sometimes hear on my cell phone is pickup from the bees!

Wareham, MA

Last thing I knew, my hive was still hanging in there. They have cross-bred with wild bees, since my last attempt to re-queen (2-3 years ago) failed. Perhaps that's why when I was stung with Italians, it didn't bother me a bit, but if I get stung now I swell up badly. So I don't mess with my hive very often and haven't repopulated my other (empty) hive (died from cold). It never made any sense to me to feed the bees sugar - I just let them keep more of their own honey (my bee club disagrees). I have to wonder about all of the parasites now, the tracheal mites and varroa and hive beetle and foulbrood - and all the treatments for them; antibiotics and nasty chemicals and formic acid, etc. The treatments may be building up in the wax, and the bees are stressed out between the parasites and the chemicals. The mobility of the hives for pollination is a big problem, the diseases spread faster. When I do harvest a little honey, I scrape a lot of the comb off with the honey. No point in buying extracting equipment for the little bit that I get. So the bees have to make more wax - which uses an awful lot of energy and nectar, but the wax should be less contaminated. I'm with Trish - something left in the hive must be repelling the usual honey raiders.

Apparently I have the usual amount of black wild bees that fly just above the ground here - they are all over the place this time of year. There are other pollinators out there, like bumblebees and butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, wind etc. I see them all busy working while I am trying to hybridize my flowers before they do. The National Geographic which just came out said that honeybees were introduced from Europe (see the article about Jamestown). Fewer honeybees will definitely mean less pollination, but some should still happen. Some plants, like blueberries, are pollinated more by bumblebees than by honeybees.

I live on the ocean. I wonder if that helps - to have some nearby air space with less cell phone energy pollution?? Has anyone mapped out the ccd incidents and seen whether they are more frequent in heavily populated areas?

Julia - "Research Scientist" until I quit 2 weeks ago - I want to have a month or two to garden! :)

Ida, MI

Well we have several warm days around here lately and my yard is normally humming with honeybees by now. I have lots of early bulbs so my house is a favorite early spring target but I have seen not one honeybee! The past few years it seems the honeybee population around my house was rising rapidly, but so far this year, not one. Haven't seen my bumble bees either. I'm not even seeing as many yellow jackets this year and they run at plague levels around here and drive me crazy. Don't know if this is because of the weather or what but my yard feels kind of eeerie without all the normal buzzing going on. I've got daffs, hyacinths, scilla, and some others blooming in the hundreds right now and my yard feels dead. A few little sweat type bees and a few yellowjackets is all Im seeing, weird.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Turn off your cell phone.

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

May appear to be somewhat of a 'goofy' inquiry, victor .. altho' am serious.

Have you, or anyone .. run across any info, as it relates to 'wireless' computer networking and the bees -?- ( in 'our' homes, work places, etc.)

- Magpye

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

I haven't Mag - yet. Nothing is goofy with this. Anything is possible and you have to look long and hard at what has changed in a short period of time in many different countries. The ubiquitous nature of cell, wifi, etc., has to top the list.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Spot ~ same here. Right now the privet hedges are in full bloom and there are literally fields of vetch in bloom as well as flower beds. The only bee I have seen is one huge bumblebee in town around a patch of vetch. He seemed unconcerned.

What bothers me also is the notable lack of hummingbirds. I fed a few early on and for the last 30 days, nothing, none, zippo, nada.

It is eerie since I first read about CCD, I am far more aware of what isn"t!

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

You guys should start a couple of hives.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

I'm sure there is a 'watched kettle never boiling' aspect to this as well.

Millbury, MA(Zone 5a)

Please keep posting, everyone, as there are many of us out here who are fascinated with this subject!

My cell phone resides in my purse, turned off, about 98% of the time. The thing is, even before I ever heard of cell phones, we never seemed to have many honeybees around here. We get lots of bumblebees and TONS of wasps! We've always (unfortunately) had yellow jackets, but since I've been putting in a veggie garden, we seem to have just about every kind of wasp that can possibly survive our climate. (Wish I wasn't such a "scairdy cat" when it comes to stinging insects, since the garden seems to be attracting lots of different species.) We've never had any issues about pollination, but I still wonder what is happening out in the wide world that is affecting the honeybees (and NOT the wasps?).

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)


Ida, MI

No the watched pot doesn't apply to me. I have been watching the bee population in my yard for years. There have been up years and down years but even when the mite thing was big I still had honeybees though not in as great of numbers. Also my big fat bumblebees are everpresent since my garden began to really take off about 10 years ago. This year zip. And like I said because I have lots of bulbs etc. and live in a farming community my yard is normally a hotspot in early spring. Honeybees have actually been heavily increasing in my yard for the last couple of years much to my delight so I'm very suprised to see my bulbs naked of them this spring. I'm seeing yellow jackets, but no where near the usual numbers. Like I said, this all may be a result of our recent late cold spell but I don't know. I don't know what the cause is but so far I'm running zip on the bees.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

The evening news carried another story about CCD and the possibility of cell phones being the culprit. They sent a team out to visit some hives, placed the active cell phone (set on speakerphone) in front of the hive entrance, and the bees just crawled over it as though it was a rock. I don't doubt that the frequencies are annoying to them, but I still think the bT toxins and GE crops are a significant factor.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

I'm skeptical about the cell phones. Also about GE stuff since Europe really doesn't use much. I lean toward some virus or other pathogen.

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