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New Harvard Study Proves Why The Bees Are All Disappearing

May 20, 2014 in , ,

Well its official, neonicotinoids are killing bees at an exponential rate:

I think the last paragraph of the above article says it all really. The demand and greed for larger crops creates a much more damaging type of farming. Again and again money is at the root of it but would you do it differently? Ask yourself if you farmed land that would make you £100,000 a year if farmed organically or £500,000 if you used pesticides what would you do? Greed and wanting more seems to be ingrained in us from an early age these days. Are we losing sight of what’s important and beautiful in this world or is it already lost?

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It was a hard Winter for honeybees

May 25, 2010 in ,

Well now we are well into Spring its time to take stock of how our bees coped with the unusually harsh Winter. It has been estimated by the British Beekeepers Association that loss of the UK honeybee population is around 17% which compares to around 19% last year the huge 30% loss between 2007-2008!! However I have heard some stories and rumours of the losses in Scotland being as high as 50% for some beeks up here. The BBKA survey did reveal marked regional variations. Beekeepers in the north of England lost more than a quarter of their honeybee colonies, while the south-west recorded the lowest losses: 12.8% of colonies between November 2009 and March 2010.

Martin Smith, the president of the BBKA, said this year’s losses showed a “small and encouraging improvement” on the previous year and are “much better” than the “disastrous” losses of three years ago. “It shows that our honeybees are slowly moving out of intensive care, but they are still not healthy enough,” he said. “Winter losses between 7-10% are acceptable.”

So definitely an improvement especially when considering we have had such a harsh Winter! Personally I think the harsh Winter will prove useful, being a Darwinian believer; these weaker bees can no longer reproduce and so any deficiencies or unwanted traits they may have had die with them.

The other great news is that mebership of the BBKA has gone up by 20%. I personally know that some of our local associations in Scotland are seeing record numbers attending their courses. Plus this website is becoming more and more popular with visits increasing each month!

The number of hives estimated to be in the UK is around 80,000 with 48 billion bees.

The US in comparison has suffered over one third of their colonies wiped out for the fourth year in a row. Not good! CCD is the main unexplained cause.

It is thought that honey bees contribute around £200million annually to the UK agricultural economy by pollinating a huge variety of crops. Its scary to think what would happen if we lost our bees!

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Vanishing of the Bees – Film

April 8, 2010 in ,

Bees are dying in their billions!

In the UK around 1/5 of honeybee hives were lost in the Winter of 2008-2009. Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat, contributing £200 million a year to the UK economy.

The co-operative has made a film documenting the vanishing of bees in the UK and why its happening. The film is 90 mins and takes in the beekeepers point of view, aswell as farmers and scientists.

You can buy the film from Amazon by following this link:

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Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Honeybees

February 27, 2010 in ,

Agricultural Research Services (ARS) are making positive strides in creating a strain of honeybee which is proactive in attacking the Varroa mite head on!

ARS are focusing on creating honeybees with a certain genetic trait; Varroa Sensitive Hygiene. The VSH trait in the bee means it is more likely to find and remove mite infested pupae from the capped brood developing sealed inside the comb cells. This can be obviously difficult for the bees to detect as the mite attacks the brood within the capped cells and so rely on the protective layer of wax to escape the bees natural sanitation tendencies.

ARS scientists at the agency’s Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Research Unit in Baton Rouge, LA have developed honey bees with a high expression of this VSH trait. The VSH is a specific trait and form of hive hygeine that not all honeybees possess. The VSH developed bees show an aggressive pursuit of Varroa in the hive.

Varroa on LarvaeThe Bees form groups and chew through an mite infested cell cap, lift out the infected brood and eject them from the broodnest.

This hygiene destroys the mite’s frail offspring preventing the reproductive output of the mites and preventing the usual Varroa mite hive takeover!

The team at ARS conducted field trials using 40 colonies with varying levels of VSH bees contained in each colony. The mite population growth was significantly lower in the VSH and hybrid colonies than in the colonies without VSH developed bees.

Of course if you believe in evolution the bees will eventually develop this trait on their own but would the bee population be too decimated by then to recover. After all bee breeders have been messing around with bee behaviour for years, perhaps to the detriment of the bees themselves; perhaps breeders have been focusing on certain traits like honey production and temperament and not hygiene and disease resistance.

Personally I think the discovery of the VSH trait is good for bees and humankind. I just wonder if fiddling with genetics is ever a good thing to do? What are your thoughts?

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Broadcasting Masts Causing Colony Collapse Disorder?

July 7, 2009 in ,

Radio Mast

Radio Mast

Ive just read a very interesting article written by Marion Lang in the Scottish Beekeeper magazine. She explains that the multitude of masts close by her apiary in Angus seems to be affecting hives and causing CCD.

In the article she explains the masts and the broadcasting radiation produced and states that in 2008 Mr Orjan Hallberg and Dr Olle Johanasson produced a paper showing that there is a marked increase with immunity problems in humans when exposed to electrical currents at 100MHz. In the West we broadcast between 87-107 MHz band.

Marion explains that the broadcasting radiation affects her when she lies down and that it affects people across the globe.

Surely if we are affected by these electromagnetic radations then it could also be affecting the bees? More research must be done to discover if these masts are having a detrimental effect on bee health and ours too!

Has anybody else got any information on this, perhaps you think masts are affecting your hives? Please let us know here!

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