Posted on May 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Shortage of honeybee colonies for agriculture growing
Bees help pollinate commercial crops and wild plants. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — U.S. beekeepers said they lost almost a third (31.3 percent) of their managed honeybee colonies during the 2012-2013 winter, more than double the “acceptable” loss rate of 15 percent.
Colony losses increased 42 percent from the previous year, with about 70 percent of the beekeepers surveyed reporting that they lost more than 15 percent of their honeybee colonies, according to the preliminary results of an annual survey.
An estimated one-third of all food and beverages are made possible by pollination, mainly by honey bees. A decline in managed bee colonies puts great pressure on the sectors of agriculture reliant on commercial pollination services. This is evident from reports of shortages of bees available for the pollination of many crops. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, biodiversity, agriculture | Tagged: Environment, EPA, agriculture, Colony collapse disorder, honeybees | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wild insect populations are critical to pollinating plant life. Bob Berwyn photo.
Honeybees augment, but don’t replace diverse insect populations
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With a lot of recent concerns focused on the decline of honeybee populations, a new study shows that wild insects even even more important as pollinators for certain crops for crops stocked routinely with high densities of honey bees, including almonds, blueberries, mangos and watermelons.
“Our study shows that losses of wild insects from agricultural landscapes impact not only our natural heritage but also our agricultural harvests,” said Lucas A. Garibaldi, of the Universidad Nacional de Río Negro – CONICET, Argentina.
“We found that wild insects consistently enhanced the number of flowers setting fruits or seeds for a broad range of crops and agricultural practices on all continents with farmland,” Garibaldi said. “Long term, productive agricultural systems should include habitat for both honey bees and diverse wild insects. Our study prompts for the implementation of more sustainable agricultural practices.” (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: agriculture, honeybees, insects, Pollination | 3 Comments »
Posted on September 22, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Earlier research may have some flaws
Honeybees and bumblebees are in big trouble. Photo by Bob Berwyn.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Honeybees may be dying from ingesting remnants of insecticides, but that in itself may nor be causing the widespread colony collapse being observed in many areas, according to new research published in the journal Science.
Starting in about 2006, beekeepers started reporting declines of 30 to 90 percent in many of their hives, in part due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
There are several studies showing that ingestion of pesticides leads to direct mortality, as well as a decline in the number of queen bees, which are critical to the establishment of new colonies following the winter die-off. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: colony collapse, Colony collapse disorder, Environment, honeybees, Insecticide, neonicotinoids, pesticides | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 11, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Hawaiian research serves as case study for watching evolution and spread of virus
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with recent studies showing that exposure to pesticides is affecting honeybee colonies, a new study suggests that an emerging virus, transmitted by parasitic mites, is another key factor in death of millions of bee colonies.
Researchers in Hawaii and the UK said they’ve pinpointed the Varroa mite as causing the “Deformed Wing Virus” to proliferate in honey bee colonies, probably contributing the worldwide loss of honeybee colonies. The current monetary value of honey bees as commercial pollinators in the United States alone is estimated at about $15-$20 billion annually.
The study shows how mites spread the virus to colonies by directly transmitting it to the bees, thereby bypassing some of the insects’ natural defenses. This change was accompanied by a million-fold increase in the number of virus particles infecting each honey bee and a massive reduction in viral strain diversity leading to the emergence of a single virulent strain. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Colony collapse disorder, Deformed Wing Virus, Environment, honeybees, Varroa, Varroa destructor | Leave a Comment »