Monday, June 02, 2008

Disappearing honey bees

Honey bees around the globe are disappearing and nobody knows why - maybe it is due to bloodsucking mite called varroa - pictured above. One-third of US honey bees were wiped out last year. Bees are crucial for the pollination of 90 major crops. Albert Einstein is claimed to have said that if honey bees disappeared the human race had 4 years until it to became extinct. Commenter AndrewT points out this may well be apocryphal.
In addition there is the possibility that wild bees may substitute as pollinators if honey bees disappear.

An intriguing story and the subject of a book.

14 comments:

AndrewT said...

The Einstein quote is likely apocryphal: http://www.snopes.com/quotes/einstein/bees.asp

hc said...

I think you are right and inserted a correction.

AndrewT said...

And I'm sure Einstein would prefer to have something so stupid attributed to him. Key food crops like rice, wheat & maize aren't pollinated by honey bees and plenty of other crops wouldn't be significantly affected. Various fruits, tomato, coffee and others crops would take a big hit if honey bees vanished but it wouldn't quite be the apocalypse. Millions of people got by without honey bees in australia, the americas, etc prior to their introduction.

hc said...

I think the effects would be very severe. 1/3 of the human diet requires pollination and 80% based on honeybees. See here.

I am not sure it makes too much sense to point to food consumption patterns prior to colonisation.

AndrewT said...

There is a spectrum of dependence. Grapes and lucerne are both pollinated by bees but the disappearance of honey bees would have neglible effect on our grape production but destroy our lucerne crop.

The benefit of honey bee pollination in Australia is put at roughly 1 billion per year which is ~3% I think of our agriculture.

So I don't think Australians would all be dead in 4 years without honey bees.

Andrew

TimT said...

Isn't the answer obvious?

It's the rapture. That's why all the honey bees are disappearing. We are living in end times... ;)

bretthardcore said...

ohhh no not the end of the world
yeah right end of the world
but its in the bible
the bible said honey bees where going to disapear
I dont think so
People are so stupid
So what your saying is that god was like
let me put bees here and im going to put
Everyones lives in the honeybees hand thing
that's one messed up god
Grow up people
stop trying to make everything a end of the world thing
Ohh no its hot outside its the end of the world
ohh no a tsunomi it the comeing soon
2000 years past and your still looking for the end of the world
your probly going to go to heven if there is one and gods going to laugh at you
animals go extinct everday where still here
probly ones that do alot more for us then honeybees
live life stop looking for the end of it

bretthardcore said...

ohhh no not the end of the world
yeah right end of the world
but its in the bible
the bible said honey bees where going to disapear
I dont think so
People are so stupid
So what your saying is that god was like
let me put bees here and im going to put
Everyones lives in the honeybees hand thing
that's one messed up god
Grow up people
stop trying to make everything a end of the world thing
Ohh no its hot outside its the end of the world
ohh no a tsunomi it the comeing soon
2000 years past and your still looking for the end of the world
your probly going to go to heven if there is one and gods going to laugh at you
animals go extinct everday where still here
probly ones that do alot more for us then honeybees
live life stop looking for the end of it

Anonymous said...

Where are the bumble bees?

Scientists at the Landau University of Koblenz, Germany, discovered that radiation from cell phones can disorient bees, stop their ability to communicate with each other, and lead to the collapse of their colonies:

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive’s inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. 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.

The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

Anonymous said...

i am a surfer and i always see bees when i'm in the water. i actually come across more bees in the water than on land. they fly by as i sit out there, they land on the water surface, i see them washed up along the shore line, in hawaii, in new york, in france. i understand that one of the mysteries of this disaster is that the bee's simply disappear. i think they all end up in the ocean. maybe abandoning the hives has something to do with water. is water quality faltering? are the bees loosing their bearings? are they attracted to the salt? are there any ideas on this thought? i would love to hear a scientist's view.

Andy said...

Revelation 6:5-6 Bible! he who pays attention to God's Holy Word may well be ready when Jesus comes. he who scoffs at God's promises will see the Revelation first hand. (most people will not live through it)

Anonymous said...

runescape money runescape gold runescape money buy runescape gold buy runescape money runescape money runescape gold wow power leveling wow powerleveling Warcraft Power Leveling Warcraft PowerLeveling buy runescape gold buy runescape money runescape itemsrunescape accounts runescape gp dofus kamas buy dofus kamas Guild Wars Gold buy Guild Wars Gold lotro gold buy lotro gold lotro gold buy lotro gold lotro gold buy lotro gold runescape money runescape power leveling runescape money runescape gold dofus kamas cheap runescape money cheap runescape gold Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London Palladium Hellgate money Tabula Rasa gold tabula rasa money Tabula Rasa Credit Tabula Rasa Credits Hellgate gold Hellgate London gold wow power leveling wow powerleveling Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling World of Warcraft Power Leveling runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling eve isk eve online isk eve isk eve online isk tibia gold Fiesta Silver Fiesta Gold
Age of Conan Gold
buy Age of Conan Gold
aoc gold

呼吸机
无创呼吸机
家用呼吸机
呼吸机
家用呼吸机
美国呼吸机
篮球培训
篮球培训班
篮球夏令营
china tour
beijing tour
beijing travel
china tour
tibet tour
tibet travel
computer monitoring software
employee monitoring

Anonymous said...

After viewing a news article on-line about honey bees disappearing and also previously reading about all the different reasons for it, I thought possibly there could be a trial & error solution that could keep them from leaving their box enclosures that man keeps them in. Bees make hives. Hives are round, cone shaped and/or cylinders.
The boxes with pull-out screens that have the honey comb being made in are an unnatural habitat if you come to think about it. Thasnks for letting me contribute.

Anonymous said...

I believe more recently there was a discovery of pesticides (being one of the many possibilities) for lack of bees. one in particular mentioned was the "Bayer" product. It would be sad, a cute movie described their opinion called "the bee movie."