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Saturday, 12 May 2007
Viva the organic bees


This is the honey shelf at Fanny’s Farm Store with an array of local (and foreign) honey. My tip is to eat local honey (to counter the effects of hayfever), which is produced from their 11 hives.

Recently in the news was Colony Colapse Syndrome or CCD which is the sudden death of whole colonies of bees on a massive scale. It started in America and is now occuring in Europe:

Albert Einstein once predicted that if bees were to disappear, man would follow only a few years later.

That hypothesis could soon be put to the test, as a mysterious condition that has wiped half of the honey bee population the United States over the last 35 years appears to be repeating itself in Europe.

Experts are at a loss to explain the fall in honey bee populations in America, with fears of that a new disease, the effects of pollution or the increased use of pesticides could be to blame for “colony collapse disorder”. From 1971 to 2006 approximately one half of the US honey bee colonies have vanished.

(One of the factors that has been reported as contributing to the stress of the bees are mobile phone masts.  There’s lots of information about this at the Mast Sanity website).

It seems that not all experts were consulted.  GroovyGreen reports that organic beekeepers have not been experiencing these problems.

With all the frightening news over bee losses throughout the world, it appears that one tiny minor piece of information was overlooked: the losses are occurring in colonies besieged with chemicals and artificial additives. Organic bees are fairing quite nicely, thank you. From the article,

“‘I’m on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list,’ said Sharon Labchuck. ‘The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies.’”

Full report at Information Liberation.

Posted by bigblue on 12/05/2007 at 10:27 AM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (2) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

As a proto Bee-Nerd, I understand from a recent talk at our local association that the latest thinking is that CCD is a variant of the Nosema spore.  This has caused something called ‘spring decline’ in the UK for years and one treats for it in the autumn.  CCD is probably caused by a different variant that has jumped from African (I think) bees and can be treated for in the same way.  So the Daily Mail readers can stand down, they can’t get rid of mobile phone masts by playing that card smile.

Part of the talk touched on how slap-dash the big US concerns’ bee-keeping techniques were, too.

I came via the Brit-blog round-up, btw.

Posted by Ally  on  14/05/2007  at  05:50 PM

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your interesting comments Ally. Some of the comments at the end of the Information Liberation article also appeared to throw cold water on the idea of phone masts being a significant factor.

Posted by bigblue  on  15/05/2007  at  12:20 AM

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