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Author Topic: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid  (Read 2541 times)
DamienJasper
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« on: September 01, 2013, 05:57:02 PM »

Just gonna preface this by saying I'm not a beekeeper. I know as much about beekeeping as the average person who depends on you guys, because I AM the average person who depends on you guys. So, here goes...

Could have sworn I saw an article last year that said it was figured out. Something about some Invasion of the Body Snatchers type parasite that exploded out of the inside of the bees, Alien style. Guess not? Imagine my surprise to see the issue on the cover of Time.

I've read a lot of articles about this issue since I first heard about it in 2006. I forget how I even first heard about it...strange. Seems every single one, including the most recent Time article avoids something that should be heavily implied. It mentions the cash value of crops. It mentions the cash lost to beekeepers. It mentions the cash value of trying to treat the bees. But doesn't no pollinating mean...no food? Seems every article treats it as purely an economic issue or a niche issue, along the lines of unemployed auto workers. Isn't this a mass starvation issue?

Thought I'd try and contact you guys. Cut through the (sorry for the pun) buzz. What say you? Am I overthinking here? If the plain issue, black and white, is that without bees, or even significantly less bees, there's just not enough food to go around, shouldn't the commentating be more on human survival than jobs? Are we actually talking End Times famine here or am I getting too far ahead?

Thanks for taking the time to read. Hope to hear back.

Marc

P.S. For what it's worth, I live near a AAA baseball team called the bees. And they're lousy. Undecided
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 06:15:15 PM »

The cause for CCD has always and is still a crackerbox full of different villains acting in unison. No one cause has ever been found. Mostly because the pesticide companies pay too much to keep it a secret.

No, no starvation on the horizon. At worst, you may have a strict diet of corn, rice, and other foods that don't need pollinating by bees. Might be a bit skimpy, but tree bark tastes good when you are starving.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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DamienJasper
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2013, 06:22:21 PM »

Appreciate your reply.

But...

Can you back up your assertion with anything?  That's really what I'm looking for.  Sorry, I'm a details and raw information type of person.

Also, your crack about tree bark pretty much just gels with actual mass starvation.  No one eats that and you can't survive on it.  So I'm not really clear on your main point here.
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iddee
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2013, 06:41:39 PM »

Tree bark was an exaggeration. There will be food, just not what and how much we have become accustomed to.

Google CCD and you will find all the backup you desire and then some.

PS. I eat Sassafras tree bark regularly. Cheesy
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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DamienJasper
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2013, 07:16:39 PM »

I try yahoo! and google, typing in such directives as "CCD and Food Supply" and it's endless articles that state the same statistic incessantly; roughly 1/3...etc.
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iddee
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2013, 08:43:33 PM »

TRUE. And I don't know of anybody that couldn't live on 2/3 of what they eat and throw out today. In fact, most in the US could live on just what they throw away.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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DamienJasper
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2013, 08:53:59 PM »

I did once read an insane statistic that gelled with what you're saying.  Houses throw out something like 1/3 of what they buy and restaurants a whopping 50% of the food purchased gets thrown out.  Maybe not enough food isn't really the problem...
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iddee
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2013, 09:14:03 PM »

Now you are getting the idea. Losing 1/3 of our food would not do much more than straighten out a few wrongs. Make people be more careful.

Of course, it's not going to happen. We will find a way to keep the bees.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
10framer
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2013, 09:30:54 PM »

native americans lived here a long time with no honeybees and they didn't have the advantage of buying their protein at supermarkets.  
if you look deep enough you'll also find that there are similar events recorded throughout history.  honeybees have mysteriously vanished before.  
the very industry that is being hurt by ccd is part of the problem.  migratory pollination in the case of almonds in particular exposes bees from all over the country to each other's diseases and pests (think native americans meet smallpox) in a very small area every year.  
constantly relocating bees is also stressful for them.  imagine if your house was ripped up and hauled thousands of miles on the back of a truck every few weeks while you and your family were trapped inside with no plumbing, running water, etc.  
gmo's and pesticides are convenient targets.  maybe they play a role but there are a lot of other factors too.
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RHBee
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2013, 11:10:54 PM »

Appreciate your reply.

But...

Can you back up your assertion with anything?  That's really what I'm looking for.  Sorry, I'm a details and raw information type of person.

Also, your crack about tree bark pretty much just gels with actual mass starvation.  No one eats that and you can't survive on it.  So I'm not really clear on your main point here.

I understand the concerns you have about the food supply. The evidence that there's pressure on the honeybee leading to population decline is undeniable. Foods that require pollination will definitely be hit hard. Direct your searches along those paths. Remember the honeybee is not the only pollinator only the most abundant. I see fruits and vegetables being hit the hardest.
As far as will the decline of the bees cause famine. I don't think so but it could cause a lack of diversity in our diet. Prices for certain types of food would increase.
The most likely cause of food shortages would be the continuing increase in world population and the inability of farmers to produce accordingly.
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Later,
Ray
kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2013, 11:29:56 PM »

there are a whole lot of things that we grow well and are not pollinated by honeybees.  tomatoes and most grain crops come immediately to mind.  i can't think of anything off hand that is solely pollinated by honeybees, but maybe someone can.  removal of honeybees would remove competition for other pollinators, so you might imagine that those others would increase in number.

we wouldn't have honey  Wink
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
TenshiB
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2013, 12:08:59 AM »

The body snatcher is a species of phorid fly that needs a honey bee. Interestingly enough one species of phorid fly may be our salvation from being overwhelmed by these butt-headed fire ants. And, like 10 framer said in so many words:  honey bees are technically not native to here. We have plenty of other native pollinators that would fill that niche. I agree with Kathy that these native pollinators would most likely increase in numbers, too..
Our cucurbits (melon/gourd-like plants) have a species of bee called the "squash bee" that just LOVES to pollinate them. The males' habits are pretty hilarious to me. [=
Without honeybees this world would lack a LOT of things. But I don't think it would starve.
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T Beek
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2013, 09:20:14 AM »

Honeybees (which are not native to the Americas) are not the only pollinators suffering increased death rates and inability to fight off disease and/or mites (many regional DOMESTIC bumblebees, moths, butterflies, and bats are also dying off at alarming rates).  As said above, there is no single known  or identifiable cause for this issue BUT as shown by your post, THERE IS GROWING CONCERN among the masses.

IMO; it will be the widespread interest and concern coming from folks like yourself, from those who don't keep bees and/or know little about their plight, or even like honey.  But they do happen to enjoy eating a wide variety of foods, so I applaud  applause applause your questions and encourage more to come, from you and others so interested in this issue that should well concern everyone who depends on food.  That's fairly inclusive as a group, heh?  

I feel certain (just me talking now) It is exactly the kind of interest the BEEKEEPING Community needs, especially from those outside our realm  Wink

From my own personal perspective on the issues that honeybees and other pollinators currently suffer I recommend the writings of (scientist and beekeeper) Randy Oliver, a regular contributor to the "Beekeeping Journal" publication.  You won't find many with a more wide open and science-based viewpoint, in that "all facts" and factors are considered.  No "single" cause is or has ever been identified, because as most beekeepers know, there is no single cause, therefore there is no single cure.  

The Fact is, there are many contributors to this "world-wide" pollinator die off with 'denial permeating despite considerable data available' indicating clearly where most of the problems originate..... beat a dead horse (shhh, its US) ...... AND.....its not getter any better with any of the latest gimmicks, gadgets or substances beekeepers themselves introduce, its in fact getting worse, especially for some of the big commercial outfits.  

The world 'may' do OK without honeybees, but how about when all the other pollinators go the same way?  

Honeybees contribute much to our food supply but it is our Native pollinators ruling over that contribution, just not to the Market  Wink  Economy where the power to make necessary environmental change "currently" resides.

That's pretty much the bad news.  The GOOD NEWS is that with increasing interest and awareness of why we are having these problems, especially from those beyond the scope of those most involved, can only result in making/demanding the changes necessary.  When beekeepers AND non-beekeeper citizens speak with one voice, that's what I'm waiting for  cool  

Thanks again for the interest and questions.  

Remember; Paranoid could also describe awareness.  While ignorance may be bliss, knowledge is most certainly torture.
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RHBee
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2013, 04:39:16 PM »

T Beek, well said.
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Ray
iddee
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2013, 06:52:13 PM »

I think I'm getting senile. First, I agreed with a bluebee post,  and now Tbeek.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good post, Tbeek.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
MsCarol
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2013, 07:57:38 PM »

Great post Tbeek

I was going to ask if OTHER species have been affected by some of the same issues at the honeybee. Answers that.

I have seen red wasps late in the summer with deformed wings and such. I wondered if that was the same problem and/or if it was "catching".

Saw the first yellow jacket of the season yesterday scoping out one of the same plants the bees have been working (different post). Usually we are covered up with the annoying critters at this time of year.

Was also in hot pursuit of TRYING to get a pic of a "black bee" that I have spotted several times gathering pollen like no tomorrow. A bit rounder and shaped differently then a honey bee.

Also spotted one of the "gray" honey bees I had seen earlier in the year. Must mean that hive is still somewhere around as none of mine are gray.
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kathyp
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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2013, 08:35:40 PM »

Quote
Saw the first yellow jacket of the season yesterday scoping out one of the same plants the bees have been working (different post). Usually we are covered up with the annoying critters at this time of year.

numbers of various critters change from year to year.  we had low bumblebee years for several in a year, but this year they were everywhere.  i got more bumble bee calls than honeybee.

for the last several years we have had tons of yellowjackts.  this year, very few.  true, i did make an effort to kill as many as i could, early, but even that doesn't account for the lower numbers. 

what we observe for short periods of time (global temps, for instance) do not give us a good overall picture of much of anything.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2013, 10:56:47 PM »

Quote
native americans lived here a long time with no honeybees and they didn't have the advantage of buying their protein at supermarkets. 
Native Americans did not plant 1,000s of acres of the same crop to feed the city dwellers with no means of feeding themselves.  They did not plant Almonds in one state, enough to supply 80% of the almonds consumed by the world. They planted diverse crops to feed their village and could also forage in the surrounding land.  Their village was not surrounded by fields planted with and growing nothing but corn and soybeans.  Skip the bees in the almonds next year and see if there are enough native pollinators to do the job.

Quote
migratory pollination in the case of almonds in particular exposes bees from all over the country to each other's diseases and pests (think native americans meet smallpox) in a very small area every year. 
constantly relocating bees is also stressful for them.  imagine if your house was ripped up and hauled thousands of miles on the back of a truck every few weeks while you and your family were trapped inside with no plumbing, running water, etc. 
Our own agricultural  practices (needed to feed our population) have made us dependent on migratory honey bees to pollinate these crops during the week or two when pollination is needed.  After that they need to be gone so spraying can begin. Those fruits and vegetables will have to be perfect for those city people, with no idea how that food makes it to the store (no one will buy an apple with a mark on it....yuck!).

We have made ourselves dependent on honey bees to do the pollination in our mono-agricultural practices.  I don't think the honey bees will all disappear or go extinct, but migratory beekeepers just might.  And that is when the trouble will begin.

Jim
     
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TenshiB
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« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2013, 11:36:14 PM »

Saw/seeing tons of bumbles this year. Plenty of paper wasps (mahogany and "guinea") are building their upside-down umbrellas all over the place. The yellow jackets usually don't get revved up around here for another month or so.. juuust before the cold.

It's hard not to feel sorry for our other pollinators in the fact that almost none of them are colonizing insects like our honeybees. The yellow jackets and paper wasps dwindle down to a queen or two who must try to overwinter and then they start the next year by their lonesome 'till some brood starts hatching off.. It's interesting to note that our wasps are beneficial in that they love to scour our vegetables for caterpillars. I've seen plenty of them flying with very young tomato hornworms in their jaws.. The adults feed the worms to their larvae (protein--like pollen is to honeybee larvae) and the adults themselves prefer the sweeter things in life like the sugar that comes from the nectar in flowers.

Ms. Carol, your grey honeybee just may be the squash bee species. They look very similar to a honeybee in size and everything. Google 'em! [=
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DamienJasper
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2013, 12:43:56 AM »

Thanks for the responses.  Keep 'em coming!  Info is good. 
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