There was the most ignorant article in todays paper. I was ashamed of it.
It stated that Australian authorites were concerned that a "mite" that had caused huge losses to beekeppers in the US and Europe and was the cause of CCD could spread to Australia.
Clearly a case of some idiot with no talent filling in space
This online quote has left out the CCD bit! I am wondering if the article wasnt "cleaned up" after complants. It now reads ok.
FRUIT and vegetable prices could skyrocket in the likely event that a parasite decimating bee populations overseas reaches Australia, experts warn.
Honey bees have a major role in pollinating Australian crops, including apples, pears, apricots, pumpkins, almonds, avocados and cherries.
But countries, including the US, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, are experiencing major crop losses as a mite kills off their commercial and wild bees.
If the parasite reaches Australia it has been estimated up to 9500 jobs and $877 million a year would be wiped off the horticultural industry, while consumers would lose $839m from higher fruit and vegetable prices.
The prediction comes on top of existing fears that fruit and vegetable prices will rise if the drought continues and the water supply for irrigation in the Murray-Darling Basin runs out.
CSIRO entomology researcher Dr Denis Anderson, who gave the mite its official scientific name Varroa destructor, said it had reached all major bee-keeping countries except Australia over the past 50 years.
"The greatest threat to Australia is probably through swarms of bees on boats â€“ the boat arrives in Australia and the swarm carries the mite in," he said.
"We do get swarms on boats here quite regularly.
"Even though you educate the boat owners and people on the wharves that these swarms are a threat to us... it's pretty likely. The probability of introduction, you would have to say it's high."
The mite sucks the blood of adult bees, but also infects young bees still in their pupal stage.
It leaves the bees weakened so their life span is reduced from six weeks down to one week, but also spreads diseases that kill the bees directly.
Overseas, the mite has reduced commercial colonies by about 25 per cent and basically wiped out wild bee populations, Dr Anderson said.
Australia relied particularly heavily on wild bees to pollinate its crops and so would be hit especially hard, he said.
The Centre of International Economics in a 2003 report estimated the direct economic cost to Australia at $1.7 billion a year if there was a complete loss of honeybee crop pollination.
The centre's senior economist Henry Cutler today said the estimates were based on 1999-2000 data, "which means the expected loss could be greater now considering the increase in value of those industries that rely on honeybee pollination".
"What will happen is there will be a flow-on effect to consumers," Dr Anderson said.
"You've had free pollination in the past and that hasn't been built into the cost of products. After the mite arrives those growers will have to pay (bee keepers) and double their pollination costs and that's got to be paid for somewhere."
Dr Max Whitten, the retired chief of CSIRO entomology, said representatives from the honeybee industry, horticultural and crop industries, investment groups, governments and researchers met in Canberra last month to discuss the problem.
The Government provided funds for the workshop on the recommendation of a report tabled in February from a parliamentary inquiry into rural skills, training and research.
Dr Whitten said the Government, which had recently sold off its only national honeybee quarantine facilities, had to make sure breeders had easy access to overseas bees that were more tolerant to the parasite otherwise they may be smuggled in.
Funding for a cooperative research centre to better investigate the problem was also needed, he said.
The centre may cost about $2m a year, he said, but it was a small price to pay to ensure an industry worth $2bn.
Heres some more rubbish
MOBILE phones have been blamed for the mysterious disappearance of millions of bees, which play a vital role in both agriculture and horticulture.
In the US, the commercial bee population has declined by about two-thirds because of an epidemic known as Colony Collapse Disorder, where nearly all the bees in a hive suddenly desert it.
The condition is spreading to Europe, with leading English bee-keeper John Chapple reporting that 23 of his 40 hives in the London area have been deserted.
The theory is that signals from mobile phones interfere with the bees' natural radar, the in-built satellite-navigation systems that guide them home to the hive, however far they have flown in their quest for pollen.
A German researcher has found that bees refuse to return to their hive when mobile phones are placed alongside it.
Lost and disoriented, they die. The result is abandoned hives, a possible honey shortage and, most gravely, a lack of pollinators for our flowers and crops.
According to research the mobile phone is the third reported major threat to the world bee population, which is estimated to have declined by about 60 per cent since 1970.
There are two principal kinds of bee - the honey bee (apis mellifera) and the larger bumblebee (bombus terrestris) - and both of them have suffered devastating losses.
Before it fell prey to CCD, the honey bee was hit by another scourge - a parasite, originating in Indonesia, called varroa destructor.
It decimated honey bees in the wild during the 1990s before an antidote was discovered.
Bees sting, they are a flaming nuisance at barbecues and, to the uninitiated, they look a bit like wasps - everyone's least favourite garden pest.
Yet we need them far more than we need whales, seals or koalas.
In 1638, the agricultural writer Gervase Markham declared: "Of all the creatures which are fit for the use of man, there is nothing more necessary, wholesome or more profitable than the bee."
In more recent times, Albert Einstein calculated that if bees suddenly ceased to exist, mankind could not survive for more than four years.
Without their help in carrying pollen from plant to plant as they gather nectar, hundreds of varieties of flowers, fruit and vegetables would be wiped from the horticultural map or seriously depleted.
Without the humble bumblebee we would soon go hungry - or, at the very least, be seriously limited in what foods we could grow successfully.
The notable gardener Philip Miller was the first to observe that pollen was not spread principally by the wind, as had been believed, but by bees.
A few years later, scientists concluded that flowers produced nectar specifically to attract pollinating insects.
So next time you are tempted to phone your partner from the train, announcing you will be home for tea at the usual time, you might be diverting a swarm of bees to their doom.
So do we need a new poll: "Do you take your cell phone to the hives"