This bee fell to the ground in front of me. It died 2 days later and a white mite walked away.
Update, November 07.
I heard on the bbc very recently that many researchers are of the opinion that Colony Collapse Disorder is most likely due to the combined effects of the varroa mite and the insecticide used to combat vorroa mite.
I am pleased to report that I had a busy wild bumblebee nest in my wild lawn this summer.
Bees, Electromagnetic Fields and Varroa Mites. Easter 2007.
Below are 4 articles worth reading. I live on a bee flight path on the edge of the South Downs in England. At this time of year the sound of bees on the blue rosemary growing outside the window would be a lovely comforting drone, the sound of spring and summer. There were a few bees yesterday, and more the day before. I have seen only 3 today. The buzzing has gone.
Colony Collapse Disorder by Tim Lovett, Chairman of the British Beekeepers Association.
When Bees Disappear, Will Man Soon Follow?
Radio Waves Study in Germany by Iain Thomson, iTnews.com.au
Are mobile phones wiping out our bees? by Lean & Shawcross, Independent Online.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
By Tim Lovett, The Daily Telegraph Letters Page, April 17, 2007
Research is cut while bee disease threatens
Sir - The disastrous losses of honey bee colonies being reported from America and elsewhere are indeed worrying (report, April 13). Whether we have the first signs of what is being called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) here in Britain is currently under close scrutiny. Reports are variable and there are always colony losses over the winter.
However, it would be foolhardy in the extreme to deny the possible emergence of this syndrome here. To do so would be to put at risk not only the undeniable economic contribution bees make to agriculture and horticulture, said to be a billion pounds per annum, but also the vital ecological role played by honey bees in our environment, which is immeasurable.
So important is the honey bee that it may surprise readers to learn that Defra spends the princely sum of just over a million pounds on bee health and welfare through the National Bee Unit (NBU) at York and its team of hard-working and competent bee inspectors. (Yes, these inspectors from Defra are actually welcomed by beekeepers.) Over the years, while the threats to bees and beekeeping have grown, there has been an inexorable decline in the money Defra has provided for research. Of the NBU's tiny budget, a paltry �180,000 is allocated to research. So stringent have been the cuts that some hundreds of staff have been lost from research institutes in the past six years.
Just last year, Rothamsted Research Institute made redundant Britain's (and possibly the world's) leading expert on bee viruses, through lack of funds from Defra. Perversely, many experts looking at CCD believe that the parasitic varroa mite, which over the past decade or so has devastated bee colonies through the viruses it carries, may be playing a significant role in CCD. Just at the moment when we need a strong body of bee researchers, we have lost major capacity. Now is the time for the Government to take this real and present threat to the environment seriously and direct substantial funds towards bee research. This is not fantasy CO2 off-setting, this is the real world.
Tim Lovett, Chairman, The British Beekeepers' Association, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.
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When Bees Disappear, Will Man Soon Follow?
omega.twoday.net/stories/3545166/ Apr 5th, 2007 7:45 AM Jean-Claude Gerard Koven
Last week I received an email from a friend reporting a sudden, devastating collapse in America's bee population. The message triggered an immediate unpleasant shiver through my body as I recalled the ominous quote attributed to Albert Einstein: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.
No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
Being a bit skeptical, I assumed this was just another piece of alarmist misinformation finding its way onto Internet distribution lists. A few minutes' research not only confirmed the story, but made me realize that the problem is far from local. In official circles, the condition is called either Fall-Dwindle Disease or, more commonly, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
The communication I received stated: "Honeybees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply never returning to their colonies.
During the final three months of 2006, a distressing number of honeybee colonies began to diminish from the United States, and beekeepers all over the country have reported unprecedented losses. According to scientists, the domesticated honeybee population has declined by about 50 percent in the last 50 years. Reports of similar losses to the honeybee population have been documented before in beekeeping literature, but are widely believed to have occurred at this scale previously only at a regional level. With outbreaks recorded as far back as 1896, this is regarded as the first national honeybee epidemic in U.S. history."
The topics grabbing headlines these days leave little room in the news for the plight of an insect. What we fail to appreciate is that without an abundance of bees to pollinate crops, the United States could lose as much as 30 percent of its food supply. According to Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation, "Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food."
There is no doubt about what is happening - or its consequences if the situation is not rectified. What remains murky is the cause. According to Walter Haefeker, director of the German Beekeepers Association, CCD has four possible causes: the varroa mite, introduced from Asia; the widespread practice of spraying wildflowers with herbicides; the practice of monoculture (a single crop covering a large area); and the controversial yet growing use of genetic engineering in agriculture.
However, it is the thinking of one of the cell phone industry's former scientific hired guns that caught my attention. When George Carlo, M.D., the celebrated author of "Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age" and current chairman of the nonprofit Science and Public Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., weighs in with an opinion, we'd all be fools not to listen carefully.
On a recent conference call, Dr. Carlo laid the blame for the sudden demise (often within 72 hours) of entire bee colonies on the recent proliferation of electromagnetic waves (EMF). He cited the startling statistic that, at present, there are some 2.5 billion cell phone users around the world. While this (plus the explosive growth of cell phone towers) used to be the major concern, the problem has been significantly exacerbated by the recent introduction of satellite radio. Imagine being closeted in a confined environment filled with chain smokers; it would be impossible for you to get a breath of clean air. It is becoming equally difficult for you to avoid the now-measurable damage from EMF exposure.
Dr. Carlo commented that the constant electromagnetic background noise seems to disrupt intercellular communication within individual bees, such that many of them cannot find their way back to the hive. His conclusions are confirmed by a recent study conducted by three departments of Panjab University (India), which has found that cell phone towers - the dominant source of electromagnetic radiation in the city of Chandigarh - could well be the cause behind the mysterious disappearance of butterflies, some insects (like bees), and birds.
Andrew Weil, M.D., author of "Spontaneous Healing and 8 Weeks to Optimum Health," fully agrees: "Electromagnetic pollution may be the most significant form of pollution human activity has produced in this century, all the more dangerous because it is invisible and insensible."
In some countries, up to 10 percent of the population suffers from a serious EMF-induced condition that Dr. Carlo and others call membrane sensitivity syndrome. In a recent address to the Health, Social Services and Housing Sub-Panel in the United Kingdom, Carlo explained:
"Originally, this type of condition was the result of high chemical exposures; we used to call it chemical sensitivity. Now we have identified the same type of condition in patients who are exposed to various types of electromagnetic radiation. It is a medical problem. People who have membrane sensitivity syndrome have internal bleeding.
They can be in a room where somebody puts on a cell phone, and they will end up having an immediate reaction; they will go home and they will bleed and in their stool they will have blood. This condition is very debilitating. It prevents these people from being able to work; they cannot earn a living, they have difficult relationships with their children, their spouses give up on them. .. It is a very, very serious medical problem."
The bees are the modern-day counterpart of the canaries that miners used to carry with them as they descended into the mine shafts. If the birds died, it was an early warning of a buildup of toxic gases in the mine.
When canaries die or bees disappear, we are being cautioned that we too are in immediate danger. It is time to listen to the message nature is telling us. Denial - the favorite ploy of those whose profits are being threatened - is no longer an option. As Arthur Schopenhauer said, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
I shudder to think of what will become of humankind if we linger too long in stage two: "no more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
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A new study by a German university has suggested that mobile phones and other radio-emitting devices could be killing bees.
By Iain Thomson, 18 April 2007 15:05 AEST, iTnews.com.au
Researchers at Langer University in Koblenz said that radio interference from devices like mobile phones could be causing a dramatic decline in bee numbers.
The study suggests that the radio waves scramble bees' internal navigation systems, leaving them unable to find their hives.
The study looked at Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a syndrome first noticed in the US, in which colonies of bees suddenly disappear. Bee numbers in the US have fallen by two thirds and CCD has now been seen in Europe.
Dr Jochen Kuhn, head of the Koblenz research team, said that the work done so far provides "a viable clue" as to the cause of CCD.
Bees are vital to humans, since they pollinate over 80 percent of the world's crops. In many cases bees have also been domesticated to the point where they can no longer live without human support.
But there are other reasons for the decline in bee numbers. Increased use of organophosphate pesticides seriously damaged European bee stocks a decade ago, and predators and fungal infections have also been cited as reasons for declining numbers.
"So far, apart from some isolated cases, our members have not reported levels of colony loss out of the ordinary," said a statement from the London Beekeepers Association.
"Our chairman, who keeps a relatively large number of colonies, has had particularly severe losses this year and lost over half his stock, but there is no sign yet of this being due to anything particularly unusual, although the case is still being investigated."
http://www.itnews.com.au Copyright 2007 vnunet.com
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Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?
Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame for mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees
By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet Shawcross
Published: 15 April 2007 The Independent Online
It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail.
They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world - the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well.
The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.
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.
CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.
Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: "There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK."
The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world's crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".
No one knows why it is happening. Theories involving mites, pesticides, global warming and GM crops have been proposed, but all have drawbacks.
German research has long shown that bees' behaviour changes near power lines.
Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr Jochen Kuhn, who carried it out, said this could provide a "hint" to a possible cause.
Dr George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government and mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the Nineties, said: "I am convinced the possibility is real."
The case against handsets
Evidence of dangers to people from mobile phones is increasing. But proof is still lacking, largely because many of the biggest perils, such as cancer, take decades to show up.
Most research on cancer has so far proved inconclusive. But an official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side as they held the handset.
Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish research revealed that radiation from mobile phones killed off brain cells, suggesting that today's teenagers could go senile in the prime of their lives.
Studies in India and the US have raised the possibility that men who use mobile phones heavily have reduced sperm counts. And, more prosaically, doctors have identified the condition of "text thumb", a form of RSI from constant texting.
Professor Sir William Stewart, who has headed two official inquiries, warned that children under eight should not use mobiles and made a series of safety recommendations, largely ignored by ministers.
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