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Colony Collapse Disease Updates                                                 

Where Have All the Bees Gone?

Like many of our readers, we’ve been closely following news reports of dying honeybees, the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). We’ll continue to update this page as scientists learn more about what’s happening to honeybee populations and what we can do it. You can also post comments or links to relevant news by using the comments feature below.

Recent Articles from Mother Earth News

It’s Time to Ban Dangerous Neonicotinoid Pesticides August/September 2012

Colony Collapse May Be Associated With Viral, Fungal Infection October 8, 2010

Keeping Bees Using the Top-bar Beekeeping Method October/November 2009

Are Potent Pesticides Killing Honeybees? October/November 2009

The Buzz on Vanishing Bees October/November 2008

Dance for Honey Bees  September 8, 2008

More Links to Related Articles and Web Sites

"What a Scientist Didn't Tell the New York Times About His Study On Bee Deaths,"CNN Money, October 8, 2010

Questions and Answers on Colony Collapse Disorder, USDA Agricultural Research Service

"Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery," New York Times, October 6, 2010

"Saving Bees, What We Know Now", New York Times, September 3, 2009

"Silence of the Bees: Impact of CCD on US Agriculture," PBS, July 20, 2009

"Killing Parasite's Genome Unveiled," Grit, June 12, 2009

"Cure for Honeybee Colony Collapse?" Science Daily, April 14, 2009

"Solving the Mystery of the Vanishing Bees," Scientific American,  April 2009

“'No proof' of bee killer theory,” BBC World Service, March 5, 2009

Mysterious Honeybee Disappearance Linked to Rare Virus,” Scientific American, September 7, 2007

New Virus May be Killing Bees,” Reuters, September 6, 2007  

 

bee 

Worker Bee
PHOTO; ISTOCKPHOTO/RYAN PIKE





Post a comment below.

 

Alys Kennedy_2
12/20/2010 11:35:11 PM
Has it never occurred to anyone that as long as humans mess with honeybees, using chemicals on hives to "keep them healthy" and stealing their honey, which is their food and medicine, may have a huge amount to do with the decline in bees?????? When you think of the numbers of humans on the planet wanting honey, that is a lot of honey, taken from bees...it would be like some other creature taking our food as their luxury! So, sad the way we treat nature's creatures!

jb_1
11/18/2008 1:55:56 AM
Hello down there! I live on Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. We have our own beekeepers group on the island. Blueberries have become a big crop in the past years and bees are brought in from the mainland. That is where the problem comes is when they bring the bees they bring the mites and other problems. We have had no problems with colony collapse. Lots of swarms this year from the commercial beekeeper(I think they are trying to escape)as they tend not to care for them. Lots of research being done by the government on all issues related to the bees. I have two hives and have had no problems. I also work with the blueberry growers and I am trying to get the small growers to have backyard hives and I would go around and tend them. We will see what the future brings. Great forum and thanks Mother.

jane mcnally
10/20/2008 6:05:23 PM
We had a hive of honey bees that lived in our chimney stack for about 12 years. We had a bee keeper come out and take a look to see if he could remove the hive but he said they posed no threat to our home, were confined to a small section of the stack so we decided to live with the bees. They didn't bother anyone so why not. Well, this past year, they just vanished. We are not sure why but our only guess was they either found a better home OR it's this mysterious disappearance of the bees thing that's going on. Again...they were there for 12 years and now gone...just gone!

Tommy Grimes_1
10/8/2008 7:34:18 AM
I live in Northwest Georgia and have been a Bee Keeper for nearly 3 years now. I started out with 2 hives and up to 10 hives now. Probably want get more for now since my job limits my time. I am only a hobby keeper now. I had a good honey harvest this year with a light colored honey that everyone says taste great. Havent had any trouble with CCD in this area or heard of any trouble from any of the club members of the bee club I belong too. Wax moths are giving a little trouble but nothing that cannot be handled

Corina VanHowten
10/5/2008 5:14:45 PM
I have 3 topbar beehives and they are doing really well. They are thriving and enjoy a flowing fountain with many roses and flowers surrounding them. They are loved by us and there honey is amazing. All of the honey we were given has been enjoyed by many. My son is a beekeeper teaching at Ecoversity, a sustainablity educational facility in Santa Fe New Mexico. All the hives there are doing really well. ONce again they are loved and well taken care of. That is the key. They are not stressed due to travel by truck and working on fields and fields of the same flowers or trees. Back yard bees are the answer to saving the bees. I encourage everyone that can and have the space to have bees.......you will love watching them fly in every direction and enjoy all that they give us. We leave them lots of honey for the winter. Corina in Santa Fe

Joseph Rick_1
10/1/2008 12:12:56 PM
Read your "Buzz" in latest issue. Have you folks heard of the German (I think) study linking a BAYER product (pesticide, herbicice,insecticide???) to the CCD mystery?

hhunt
10/1/2008 8:55:22 AM
test

Neal R. Jones DVM
9/28/2008 8:49:20 PM
Dear MEN, I have been a veterinarian for 23 years and a beekeeper on and off since I was 13. I feel I understand more about chemicals and antibiotics than the average person. I got back into beekeeping 2 years ago as a challenge to see if the none chemical treatments for varroa mites worked. Just as I got back into beekeeping CCD hit. I live in a fairly isolated area with the nearest other beekeeper about 3 miles away. I started with a Russian hybrid queen, used a screened bottomboard, used powdered sugar as a dust after the main honey flow, and this spring I divided the hive and used another Russian queen and cut out the drone brood,and continued with the dusting. In the nearly 30 years I've kept bees I've never had as strong and heathy hives as these. Disease may hit tomorrow but so for things are going great with this program. It may be too labor intensive for commercial operations but the way things are going there may be only hobby beekeepers soon. I thought you might like to know this. Neal R. Jones Clarksville,AR

Patrick_1
9/28/2008 5:37:50 AM
Please read "A Spring without Bees" by Michael Schacker. Seems CCD is caused by a new pesticide, imidacloprid, which is a chlorinated nicotine-based insecticide. Terrible stuff, scientific studies in France have proved it unsafe and the French have banned it.

Mary Lou Shaw
9/27/2008 2:06:30 PM
We have had backyard honey bees for four years in central Ohio. We began with two hives of Italian bees, and bought an additional two hives the second year. Although we have lost one hive each winter, we now have six hives. They doubled in number this summer from splitting one strong hive and from catching swarms from our own hives. We followed the book the first year and used chemicals in the hives. No more! We believe that we are gradually getting "resistant bees." Three of the hives are from a hive that evolved into being darker bees (dependent on who the queen mated with) that require less honey stores in the winter. We attempt to keep the mite level down by dusting them with powder sugar and having screened bottoms for the hives. Additionally, we attempt to make available a great variety of pollen and nectar. Besides the vegetable garden and orchard, we plant multiple herbs and flowers, and when a space becomes available in the garden, we plant buckwheat. With just one month from planting to flowering, this "smother" cover-crop helps the garden and the bees. They seem happy and healthy now, and their pollinating services and honey have enhanced our homestead. I love their sweet hum around me in the garden and find learning about them fascinating. Mary Lou Shaw

Doug_1
9/26/2008 6:09:22 PM
I've suspected for years that the honeybee CCD has been somehow related to commercial bee-keeping, since I have for many years had a thriving wild colony in a hollow tree in my back yard. They are here year after year and I see them busily working relentlessly in my flower and veggie gardens. In addition, this summer a huge cluster of honeybees swarmed in another tree in my back yard about 30 feet from the old colony. The swarm hung there overnight and departed in less than a minute the next morning. It was a thrilling honeybee event! As soon as the swarm was gone I checked the hollow tree to see if "my" bees left with the swarm. They were and are still there, and just as busy as usual.

David Owen
9/26/2008 10:27:56 AM
I have 4 hives that so far I have have very little problems out of aside from a SHB every now and then. For over 3000 yrs of combine beekeeping experience check out www.beemaster.com

shawn_2
9/26/2008 9:06:27 AM
I only have 5 hives, but haven't had any trouble yet with CCD. I only have as many bees as my area can sustain and their is a wide diversity of plants from which they can forage. When we have a drought like this year, I feed them, ahd if I need to treat my bees for mites or disease I will, but not as a "preventative". I also leave more stores for the bees than most beekeepers because you never know what the winter and early spring weather will be and I don't want them to starve. I think one of the issues is the way that the commercial beekeepers have to run their migratory operations out of necessity. Bees were not meant to be trucked around the country on flatbeds and forced to subsist on a limited diet. As long as farming operations continue to grow and become less diversified, there will be a need for migratory beekeepers to pollinate the crops.

Robo
9/26/2008 6:29:50 AM
I operate a hobbyist beekeeping forum (http://forum.beemaster.com) with over 3000 members and we have had very little, to almost no, reports of members suffering losses from CCD. There are many opinions from our members as to why it is primarily affecting the commercial beekeeping industry. We have a dedicated forum for discussion of CCD. http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?&board=82.0

Faith Partee
9/25/2008 4:55:50 PM
We experienced CCD this summer. An invasion of Wax Moths has disabled one of our hives to the point of death. We removed the offending frames and froze them for more than 24 hours. The larvae were killed but we also lost some of the brood and some of the honey. We placed new new frames in the hive and returned as much honey as we were able but we are fairly certain the hive will not survive the winter. The signs of this decline were slow to develop and because we are new a beekeeping I'm sure we missed a lot. We noticed that one hive was much more active although frequent inspection showed the population of the weaker appearing hive was as full as the others. Our clue to the problem was the build up of a brown debris at the front entrance to the weakening hive.The moth larvae had overwhelmed the bee population and they were dying before our eyes. We have read as many books as we can and asked advise form many sources but we are feeling we need to educate ourselves through the Extention Services. Here in Tennesee we have a Master Bee Program to provide us with the help we need and we also have the Wilson County Beekeepers Assoc. to keep us up to date on the the lastest and best techniques to protect our life giving bees. We won't give up! Don't YOU give up! Faith Partee

Eugene Hecker_1
9/1/2008 5:15:46 PM
I am preparing an article on the disapperong bee problem. This might be part of the problem

Maria_11
1/5/2008 2:32:01 PM
Re:Oct/NovIssue Article Bees We planeted squash and tomatoes etc., by the moon, in Falcon, Colorado. At first, there weren't too many bees, by the first part of July,I saw small tomatoes and garden then took off. I believe they had stopped spraying the chemtrails. My secret was all natural goat manure, which were fed mollassis in their grain. No chemical fertilizer, the birds took care of most of the bugs,by August had to used small amount of organic spray. The sweet mollasis in the manure, made everything luscious and it was a bumper crop. I had more of everything than I expected. Even a couple Monarch butterflies graced some of the echinacea. It was more than I could put up and eat. Maria

Kirstin
1/4/2008 10:46:32 AM
Just picked up my MEN Oct/Nov 2007 issue again, to reread some articles, and realized that I had meant to report on the bee population in my area. I live in NE Wisconsin,just south of the UP of MI. Although I've always been interested in bees,and the idea of beekeeping, I'm no expert on the different types of bees and wasps. However, we had quite a few bees, of various types, in the garden and yard every day. I grew tomatos, cucumbers and marigolds in the garden and a few wildflowers in the yard. Each day I would see approx. 10 or more honey bees and a few bumble bees, and that's just when I was looking. There were a very large population of bees this fall,when they all go crazy. The grass seemed to move, there were so many. I also saw a number of Monarch butterflies this year. This is my first year living "up North" so my garden was tiny,but this next Spring I will be expanding my vegetable and flower gardens, and hopefully will see many more bees. I'll keep you posted.

Traci_6
12/28/2007 8:28:30 AM
The past few years I've noticed that at night, in my small flower garden there are always about 5-8 bees asleep on the echinacea flowers. I don't know if this is a normal behavior, but I never noticed it before last year.

james_88
12/25/2007 12:55:41 PM
It's been about 23 years ago that I work for a beekeeper in South Dakota. Iv'eI I've seen frist hand the destruction of beehives from the spraying of one f feild of sweetclover because the so called agg agent told the farmer that it was ok to spray his feild after 6:00PM. because all the bees would be back at thier hives for the night and wouldn't be harmed. Sorry to say he was w wrong. The damage cause by this would have completly wiped at least every hive in a 5 or more radius from the fleid that got sprayed if we (the beekeeper) hadn't been thier to help. During my years of working with the beekeeper we notice that bees get their pollen usually in the early morning then go get nectar about 10:00AM. untill its to dark for them to fly. This can be a big problem because crops that are big pollen producers like corn get sprayed all the time. Bees will stay away from sprayed feild because fo the smell. The solution to spraying feilds is to spray at night instead of in the daytime, the spray dosen't kill the bees instantly they fly back to their hives with the spray on them and the hive get contianed by the bees with spray on them cause the deaths of most of the workers if not all of them. This weakends the colony and depending at what time of year this happens can life or death of a colony.

Bruce_29
12/7/2007 5:25:14 PM
I have read most of the comments with interest. I will now post something that I have discovered that certainly may have a major adverse effect on bees. I discovered that my community was spraying a chemical 2,4,D Amine and tried to get them to consider the potential side effects. All I achieved was to be ridiculed and made to look like a trouble maker. In short I failed to get them even to look at the adverse effects of this chemical. During my research I obtained some material from the USDA that was very alarming to me. 2,4,D Amine is a broadly, uncontrolled weed killer that is also known as Agent Orange. To even suggest its use be limited will bring harsh critism from the EPA - which I thought was suppost to protect us against this sort of thing. WRONG!!! This is what the EPA says about 2,4,D: "Moderate doses of 2,4,-D severely impaired honeybees brood production. At lower levels of exposure bees lived significantly longer than the controls." It is also fatal to earthworms, and according to the Chemical Watch organization over 300,000 gallons are spread by individuals and government organizations across our country each year. It doesn't take much to connect the dots between this chemical and the honeybee decline. One only has to do a little research on line to discover that this should be looked into more closely. Uncontrolled it is used widely by farmers, along roads, and individuals. To even question its use will subject you to untold critism and abuse. I discovered that very quickly in the question process. The facts are there however and while you may not use it those around you certainly do and it contaminates wells, streams, rivers, lakes, and ground water. In our area commercial wells tested by the water board revealed recorded amounts of it in those wells. You will be told it does not harm fish but what you will not be told is that it collects in the meat of fish and then once caught you consume it. For every in

Monique_2
12/1/2007 9:15:52 AM
Truth about the Bees: I have heard farmers comment that it is strange how we are talking about some disease killing the bees, yet we are not finding piles of dead bees everywhere (Some places, yes, most others, no). I know what the Bible says about the bees. In the last days, God is going to call for the bees to the mountains of Israel to feed the survivors honey after the great "disasters"...Okay, this lady is a nutjob, you're probably thinking, however...If I am wrong...You have nothing to lose...If I am right...Well, you might have a lot more to lose than you think. The Bible says Israel is going to be attacked, and that there would be certain signs to watch for, like the bees for example. Earthquakes, Famines, and massive disease outbreaks are others. These things WILL happen. The Bible has a 100% rate of accuracy. Who would have ever thought Russia would befriend Iran? Well, the Bible said it would happen, and now it has. It has never been wrong.

Karen_55
11/28/2007 1:00:37 PM
About 10 years ago in British Columbia my Father contacted Wildlife to question the problem with his bee hives being in trouble with bees dropping dead all over the area. He was told imported asian bees had brought a mite with them and although those bees were fine with it, our bees were being killed off by the mites. He was offered a spray which he refused to use. Around the same time Peter Fonda was in a film called Uly's Gold. This film pointed out the problem with bees as well as a rather good story on substance abuse and how it messes up families. I am amazed how many people never saw that movie but I guess it was not Hollywood enough to attract a larger audience. Uly's (spelling?) God was honey. It is very sad to see people bringing in the exterminators when they find a bee hive in their garden...then they complain that they did not have any fruit on the trees. Karen.

john_126
11/15/2007 4:03:43 PM
Nevin, cut up bamboo into 6-10 inch lengths and drive them into the dirt banks. Use bamboo that has barely bigger hole than the adult bees. I got this from another site where we are concerned about the bees. All my pollinators are wild out here. I am planning some hives, but the neighborhood bears are a hindrance. Good luck-John

Nevin_3
11/8/2007 12:31:10 PM
I thank you all for the response to my article. Since I wrote it, I have been in contact with Hackenberg Apiaries and Aucker apiaries which are located near me. They both Pollinate crops out of state. Hackenberg sounded the recent alarm from Florida. They both fear being put out of business by this invisible foe. . . I would still like to know the name of the small black "Bumble Bee" which was so plentiful. I credit them for pollinating my Apple Trees this year, and want to create a habitat to attract them, if possible. They could be a future life saver for home gardeners in central Pennsylvania. Thanks again, Nevin Hawlman

Bob_45
11/7/2007 5:09:34 PM
I live in the northern Catskill mountains on NY state in asmall rural area about 1 hour west of Albany. While out picking berries in late August early Sept this year, I was amazed at the number of bees and monarch butterflies on the goldenrod in the area I was in. I have to say it was one of the most memorable days I have ever experienced. We must be very lucky to be in the area we are in because I have noticed no reduction in the amount of bees on our plants and wild flowers and wild tyme. I delay cutting the grass so that I don't disturb them. I have also noticed quite a few caterpilars without really searching for them. We do have a great deal of MIlk Weed and I make sure that a large area of these are not cut until next spring. I hope this situation continues.

Dianne_12
11/5/2007 10:43:18 AM
I live in a small mountain valley in NW Montana. I garden organically. Over the last few years I have noticed an increase in honeybees, probably due to a neighbor's hive in a hayfield. This year we had more varieties of pollonators than ever before, with a real increase in honeybees. We also had an increase in all kinds of wasps (they ate half our cherry crop, but we'll share). We had an increase in butterflies also. Few people garden here, and there is no agriculture, just grass hay fields. Thank you buzzers of all kinds. There is HOPE!

Laura_29
10/30/2007 11:48:03 AM
I have 10 organic acres in NE Wisconsin on the southern Door County Peninsula. 4-6 years ago we had plenty of pollinators of all kinds. Two years ago two neighbors stopped milking and increased crop farming (not organic). Two years ago, I noticed fewer honeybees. Last year, there were no honeybees, but plenty of native bumblebees, wasps, sweatbees and butterflies. This summer, no honeybees, fewer wasps and sweatbees, fewer butterflies, but plenty of bumblebees. I saw the first honeybee in two years in the third week of September, at my flower boxes. She was alone. Since then, I've been seeing a few more honeybees around my flowers--this in itself is bizarre, since I live in a zone 4 microclimate and usually have snow by now. In the mornings I am finding honeybees and wasps asleep on the hummingbird feeder I keep up through October for the late migrators from Canada.

none
10/28/2007 8:01:28 PM
The death of the honey bee species will occur shortly. The pathogen is delivered by chemtrails which themselves are made of particles of aluminum barium polymer fibers. The filbers hold multiple pathogens, including IAPV.

Nevin_2
10/27/2007 4:35:12 PM
Nevin Hawlman-name these "Bumble Bees". I noticed in the responses above that "Bumble Bees" do not seem to have been effected by whatever is going on. My Apple trees were loaded with a small black "Bumble Bee". I wonder what the scientific name is. Thanks for all the comments. Health and Happiness, Nevin Hawlman

John_125
10/22/2007 2:45:28 PM
This is the first year here in Eagle, Alaska that I have noticed almost no wasps or carpenter ants and only a few honeybees. My wife notes that bumble bees and honeybees were profuse in Georgia in the spring.

debbie_22
10/22/2007 1:51:32 PM
Me and my husband live in the great state of Oregon along the coast. We recently planted some apple trees. While the trees had plenty of blooms not one apple formed from these blooms. We had plenty of bumble bees due to seeing them in one of my bushes I had planted in my yard, don't remember the name of the bush but it was covered with them. Have not seen one single honey bee. I had talked to some other folk earlier in the year who had ordered some honey bees and she said that they were hard to get. I am sure that it is due to all the pesticides that are being used also. But I once heard that the killer bees are killing off the honeys also

Irven
10/20/2007 10:33:22 AM
I live in a rural area in south-central Missouri near Lebanon, Mo. For the last three years I have noticed bees on my fruit trees and on the clover in my yard. My wife and I have maintained hummingbird feeders in front of our kitchen window for several years. For the past two years, when it turned cooler in the fall, we have noticed bee drones on the hummingbird feeders. I understand the worker bees kick the males out of the hive in the fall. There must be at least one hive in the area and it must be wild as I do not know of any beekeepers in the area.

meera
10/16/2007 11:19:29 PM
Am I the only one who remembers the Bt debacle? When in 1998 or so GMO corn with Bt was shown to kill not only Lepidoptera larvae of the cut worm but also the monarch butterfly? In this study it not only killed the Monarch larvae but the ones it didn’t kill were smaller and weaker. At that time someone (read the FDA, EPA) decided that the danger to the Monarch was worth the risk since Bt saved farmer’s soo much money and hassle. As I read it, (I must admit I am a bit out of the loop) hive collapse seems to be related to impaired immune response, has anyone tested for Bt in these hives. I would think that this shouldn’t be hard to do. The articles I have read on Bt say they don’t generally kill other pollinators, to me that comment reads that they Do just not enough for anyone (read the federal government. FDA. EPA and assorted others) to initially be worried. Now might be the time to be very worried. I think this may be the time to re-think GMO and Bt as well as other GMO insecticide altered foods. It may be too late, but I have noticed that when left alone Mother Nature does reverse the problems that Homo sapiens inflict upon her fairly rapidly. It would be interesting to know if Mr. Hawlman in Sudbury lives down wind from any Bt corn or other GMO product. Meera Beser Tahoe Vista, California Here is a copy of a report still available on the internet. Read it and draw your own conclusions. Might even be responsible for the increased mite problem due to lowered immune efficiency. Detailed, research-based articles for better management decisions produced weekly from spring to fall. Subscribe now to the full-color print version! ICM > 1999 > IC-482(14) -- June 14, 1999 January 19, 1998 Disease control with Bt corn January 19, 1998 Yield performance of Bt corn January 19, 1998 Creative planting with Bt corn April 14, 1997 Monarchs and Bt corn: questions and answers by Marlin Rice, extension entomologist, Department of Entomology A stu

Mark_56
10/16/2007 10:08:37 PM
My wife and I planted basil in the garden this year and let it go to seed and WOW !! Honey bees galore.. Ditto the advice... Punxsutawney, Pa..

Wendi
10/15/2007 9:32:47 AM
The honeybees are alive and well, and living in Texas! As I normally do each year, I allow my copious crop of basil to go to seed so that I'll have "volunteers" next year, and also for the bees. They love the basil flowers, and in light of the recent reports about honeybee decline I've been watching them closely this year. They did make a late arrival, and I was worried there for awhile, but the weather here in Houston was abysmal all summer (rain!) so that may have been the explanation. Now our weather is great, and I have an upward of about 100 bees in my basil every day.

Cindy_39
10/15/2007 7:54:25 AM
I am pleased to inform you the pollinators are alive and well in my city of Pgh garden.I have oodles of honeybees as well as wasps,bumblebees and yellowjackets..I also have many different species of butterflies.I guess when suburban and rural sprawl occured, the pollinators ,as well as the wildlife,moved back to the city!

Susan_48
10/14/2007 9:29:39 AM
I live in southern Mississippi and I have seen plenty of bees this summer ha. I have also had alot of butterflies. I have taken quite a few photos of both. So why are others not seeing them in other states while I seem to have plenty?

Peggy_14
10/10/2007 8:58:48 PM
Regarding "Where have all the bees gone?" I live near St. Louis and my question is, where has nearly EVERYTHING gone? Bees, flies, wasps, yellowjackets, butterflies, dragon and damselflies, moths- especially big ones like the luna moth--fireflies, caterpillars, ladybugs, even aphids -- the works! I used to have aphids like crazy. Then ladybugs. But hardly a sighting this year. I got a lump in my throat watching the neighbor's little boy chase the lone firefly in the yard. We used to have so many! I've lived in my city house near the Missouri River since 1985, but only recently have I seen this incredible decline. Likewise toads, frogs, tree frogs, snakes, turtles, bats, nighthawks, swallows, mockingbirds...you name it. Until 3-4 years ago, all were common sights, although I noticed the butterfly population dropping about 7 years ago. The bird population may have dropped due to West Nile virus, in spite of vigorous overspraying for mosquitoes by municipal government employees, but that hardly explains the rest of it. I've seen a couple of local letters to the editor from people who live in the 'burbs, where neighborhoods are also subject to mosquito spraying - they've seen the same thing. My guess is pyrethrins or pyrethroids are the base culprit. Introduced in 1977, the spraying ramped up in the mid-1990s, and even more since West Nile arrived. It's used for everything because it's labeled safe. But it's not. Last year the spraying wiped out my Mason bees and a host of other native bees I'd never seen before who visited the flowers in front of my house. I'll never again plant flowers that attract insects where mosquito spraying can reach. And it's not just bugs that are suffering. I've been sickened by mosquito trucks passing by as I worked in my garden, and by the same class of chemical at work. The people who do the work are in deep denial, because I've talked to them. A fri

Peggy_13
10/10/2007 8:47:16 PM
Dear Professor O'Neal, Regarding "Where have all the bees gone?" I live near St. Louis and my question is, where has nearly EVERYTHING gone? Bees, flies, wasps, yellowjackets, butterflies, dragon and damselflies, moths- especially big ones like the luna moth--fireflies, caterpillars, ladybugs, even aphids -- the works! I used to have aphids like crazy. Then ladybugs. But hardly a sighting this year. I got a lump in my throat watching the neighbor's little boy chase the lone firefly in the yard. We used to have so many! I've lived in my city house near the Missouri River since 1985, but only recently have I seen this incredible decline. Likewise toads, frogs, tree frogs, snakes, turtles, bats, nighthawks, swallows, mockingbirds...you name it. Until 3-4 years ago, all were common sights, although I noticed the butterfly population dropping about 7 years ago. The bird population may have dropped due to West Nile virus, in spite of vigorous overspraying for mosquitoes by municipal government employees, but that hardly explains the rest of it. I've seen a couple of local letters to the editor from people who live in the 'burbs, where neighborhoods are also subject to mosquito spraying - they've seen the same thing. My guess is pyrethrins or pyrethroids are the base culprit. Introduced in 1977, the spraying ramped up in the mid-1990s, and even more since West Nile arrived. It's used for everything because it's labeled safe. But it's not. Last year the spraying wiped out my Mason bees and a host of other native bees I'd never seen before who visited the flowers in front of my house. I'll never again plant flowers that attract insects where mosquito spraying can reach. And it's not just bugs that are suffering. I've been sickened by mosquito trucks passing by as I worked in my garden, and by the same class of chemical at work. The people who do the work are in deep denial, because I

Heather_33
10/10/2007 7:59:33 PM
oops-typo. It should read that a regular contrail dissipates quickly whereas a chemtrail does not. Also for the record I live in Northern California near Sacramento.

Heather_32
10/10/2007 3:59:50 PM
I think the honeybee problem is a combination of factors including the genetically modified crops and over use of pesticieds on crops etc, but one large factor in my opinion that no one ever mentions is the Chemtrails. I know this is on the 'do-not-touch-this-story list' but hopefully in a forum like this a person is allowed to comment on it. The Government has been filling our skies almost daily in my area for years now with harmful chemicals including barium and ethylene dibromide. The chemtrails have also been tested to find various viruses and other harmful substances -even blood. Animals and people have died so why would we think the bees and butterflies etc. would not be also effected? This is a topic that surely more and more folks should be noticing. A regular chemm trail dissipates right away,, the chemtrails turn into fake clouds and linger. You can see odd circular rainbows in them and the skies are just litterally a checkerboard on some days. I have seen them lay down a black trail and then follow it immediately with another plane with a white one- to cover it up I suppose. It is amazing how few people look up at the sky as most folks still draw a blank when the subject is mentioned. Just do an internet search for Chemtrails and you'll find more than you want to know!! We have built 3 large orgone generators and placed them around our property and we still have lots of bees and insects. I'd recommend that more Mother Earth news readers do the same and start to recalim our environment.

Tom_40
10/9/2007 2:43:47 PM
I live in Santa Rosa California. We have a large garden in our backyard and always have LOTS of bees come by to eat every summer. This year was no exception. We had honeybees, wasps, yellowjackets and bumblebees. No problem here, yet.

Sonia_4
10/9/2007 9:28:25 AM
Re your letter in the October/November issue about the decline of bees. I lkive in the Spring Hill, Florida area. I have noticed the decline of bees, also hornets. Only a few bees. However I have for the past two months noticed many butterflies, namely Monarchs, feeding on my passion vines. I have only seen one golden Frilliary. I use to see many of them, but not this year. My friend who lives in Crystal River, says she has many bees and butterflies, Monarchs and Frilliaries.

Charity_3
10/8/2007 9:16:36 PM
I live in a semi-rural area of southern california and we always have hordes of bees. This could be due to the fact that my neighbor down the street is a beekeeper, but I also have a large sage garden that attracts them and all sorts of other winged insects and pollinators. In the summer they swarm around my pond and hummingbird feeders drinking up the moisture. My friend in a nearby town also usually has a lot of bees around her hummingbird feeders as well, so it appears the decline has not occured here yet, instead we have the problem of the non native killer bees that are threatening the native bees. They have been reported in my area several times over the past few years, though I have yet to discover any myself thank goodness.

Mark_55
10/8/2007 7:57:42 PM
Hello, I've just sat down and picked up my wife's copy of M.E.N. I really like alot of the articles you present. I was attracted though, to the most recent "dearmother" entitled "Where have all the Bees Gone?" The gentleman, Mr. Hawlman, states he lives in Sunbury, Pa...---- Punxsutawney, Pa. is about three hours to the west of Sunbury. I wanted to assure Mother Earth News and Mr. Hawlman that the Bees are alive and well here. Though I have never kept bees, my wife and granddaughter have raised dozens of monarch butterflies, even this year.. In fact four years ago, I watch hundreds of monarchs heading south, they flew right over me. What a amazing sight... Back to the bees now. Last year we watch a swarm of honey bees in their hive 15' up a tree in the side yard. We have seen hundreds of them this year, even heard them swarming again, but couldn't find the hive, we have a large property. I had to destroy two baldface hornets nests (hate to say that) but one was on our bat house and the other was on the corner of my front porch. They started to atack the screen one night and then chased the cat. Anyway, still plenty of them around here. Thousands of any-kind of wasps. You name it, its here. Thousands of yellowjackets... There are two Yellowjackets nest on my side bank right now.. Why I guess I emailed you was to say that I used to live just north of Philly and moved out here to Punxy., Pa about 12 years ago. Because of the move-in to the Philly area in the last 20 years, and a population increase, I saw a decline in the bee population there.. I visit there quite often. Whether that has anything to do with it, I don't know. But maybe their is something heading west. Who knows. I hope not. Thanks for a hearing ear. Mark.

Janie_3
10/5/2007 12:23:54 PM
I happened to read an article in ODE Magazine, the July/August 2007 issue (p 27) re: What you don't know ---and still eat, recently. This is probably already being explored but wonder if this awful problem is a result of GMOs that are now in the food chain. The ODE article relates scientific findings of serious problems to test animals who injested GM food, "from internal bleeding" and numerous other maladies. In the article it tells about the work of an expert in food-safety named Jeffrey Smith who has been trying to sound the alarm about the danger these GMOs present. GMO's are being used all over the country and the globe. We should never have let this Genie out of the bottle until many years of testing had proven their worth and safety.

john_123
10/4/2007 2:09:58 PM
There seems to be areas affected and areas not. Is there any pattern? A newly discovered mite from Australia is present in a large number of cases, but not all. Are there chemtrail experiments going on overhead in the affected areas? They blow away and are forgotten by the time the bees disappear. EMF or other such experimental radiation are being tested all the time in many locations, and that too will be long gone by time the bees disappear. Organic beekeepers [google it]report no problems.

Roger_19
10/3/2007 6:45:26 PM
Last year every compartment in my Mason Bee Condo was empty. My apple crop reflected it. This fall there are 57 filled with larvae and 24 empty, a very big improvement.

Dorothy_11
10/3/2007 3:18:30 PM
I have a theory about the dissappearance of bees. There are products on the market now that intefere with the growth of insects. They are called "IGR", insect growth regulators. If the insect is one that pupates such as fleas, butterflys, moths and bees, it prevents the larva stage from moving on into the pupa stage from which the adults emerge. It is the adults that bite and sting and breed and lay eggs for the next generation. If there are no adults to lay the eggs, there can be no new generation. I have bought one Of these products, "Precor" for fleas on my dogs. Cattle breeders add an IGR to salt and minerals which their cattle lick up The IGR passes through the cattle into the manure where the flys lay their eggs. But no adults emerge. This ia a boon to the cattle and their owners. I feel that these produscs might be getting into the bee population and with no workers being born the hive will starve and die. I know this is not a scientific solution, but it is a thought, right?

Gaela
10/2/2007 11:27:12 PM
I live in on the East side in Cleveland and had a great garden this year that included tomatoes, cukes, beans, arugula, peppers, and and insanely late but sucessful tomatillos, at least 4-5 types of lettuces not to mention an extensive herb garden...Due to the clay, unless you have raised beds we don't attempt root veggies. The only pollinators I had this year were bumble bees. I have not seen one honey bee at all this entire season and normally they are out in force due to my Rose of Sharon hedge. This year, there have been none.

Tine
10/2/2007 9:24:41 AM
Comment: Re: “Where have all the bees Gone?” Oct/Nov, ”07 page 8 We have lots of bees and lots of wasps on our flowers and in the prairie. We live along the Mississippi River/Lake Pepin, in SE Mnnesota, up on the bluffs. We have 40 acres, half of which is in prairie, the other half in grassland. We have not sprayed for 12 years since we owned the property. We are surrounded by wooded bluffland, a sustainable apple orchard, a subdivision with non-sprayed land, and conventional crop land. We had two “dead” bee hives this spring. Since a month ago we have lots of bees going in and out one of the hives. We are most encouraged.

jkott22
10/1/2007 4:43:47 PM
I have a small organic flower garden in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin , and my experience with honeybees has been the same as Nevin Hawlman of Pennsylvania , who reported in Issue 224. Last year I had a garden full of honeybees, from the time the earliest alyssum and larkspur bloomed in spring, on through the lantana and salvia, and into our long fall growing season. I planted a Magic Mountain basil that I let go to flower, and at the height of bloom it was covered in literally hundreds of bees. This year, I have had no honeybees at all. None. At first I blamed the unusually cool and rainy summer we had, but even after the weather returned to normal in mid August, no bees arrived. Right now, mid September, my garden is in full bloom, including a rosemary bush that is usually a bee magnet when it flowers, and there are still no bees at all. Lots of butterflies and dragonflies, about half the usual population of wasps, and a thriving population of garden spiders, but not a single bee, all summer. This is eerie and disturbing- there is a big difference between reading about CCD, and actually experiencing a garden without bees! Please continue to report on this phenomenon, as I'm sure other gardeners across the country have had similar experiences.

gbingb
10/1/2007 2:54:26 PM
I have seen many, many bee's in my flower and vegetable gardens this summer in Green Bay, WI! My sedum, lavendar and Russian sages are just covered with bees! This part of the Midwest does not seem to have a shortage of bees.

Anita_18
10/1/2007 10:54:18 AM
I have 7 hives of honeybees here in SD. I saw 1 bumblebee here this summer and all the other sweat bees, mason and leafcutter bees were vertually non-existant. Why is this happening??? Because of the ever increasing use of pest GMO crops with spliced in pesticides, the new systemic pesticides and the quadrupling of spraying pesticides. In the ag fields around me they used to spray once a year...now they spray 5+ times. They used to spray the sunflowers once and they were careful only to spray early or late in the day. Now they spray more than once and don't care when. They spray when the flowers are full of bees killing everything. As long as it don't affect them they don't want to be bothered. Big business, corporate, subsidized farming. My bees don't have a chance. In town they are contantly spraying for mosquitoes. They keep killing all the beneficial bugs and pollinators plus everybody has cancer. When are people going to "get it".

Michael_67
9/29/2007 2:18:01 PM
I read about the honey bee decline in the Oct/ Nov. Issue of Mother Earth news. I noticed this year in my Cleveland Ohio garden that I have had hundreds of bees. Both honey bees and bumble bees. They were all over the sun flowers, pumkins and tomato plants. They really liked the lavender plants. So there seems to be no shortage in my neck of the woods.

Yvonne_5
9/29/2007 7:38:07 AM
I read the comment about bees being absent from the garden in Oct/Nov issue. I must be in an area still not affected by this, at least in this immediate area (central Indiana). Someone close by has bees, and we have an established garden of flowers and herbs. As usual, the bees were a current companion as I worked out in the garden, or just sat and watched the "wildlife" that enjoys my garden with me. However, I did notice that certain plants seemed to have more than normal amounts of bees from previous years: French Lavendar, Corel Bells, Globe Flowers (domesticated thisle), Comfrey, all types of Mint, all types of daisies, and foxglove. This is simply an observation from my own garden, I have no idea what the reaction would be even in this area if you were to ask someone else. I spent the summer very carefully checking around the garden, and found very few (over the course of the summer only 23) dead bees. We do not have pets, and use no chemicals in our yard, garden, or apple trees.

jnetzer_2
9/27/2007 4:22:34 PM
I have been reflecting on the problem of the declining bee population for severals months and I believe that the problem may be related to genetically altered crops. When a bee collects nectar the nectar has a high water content. The bee's digestive system reduces the water content so that it thickens the nectar to what we call honey. Nectar has a genetic make up. In the diluted state a bee may not recognize the difference. The problem is that after the nectar has been concentrated the bees fail to recognize it as food so they starve to death. I may be wrong, but I cannot help but believe this is what is happening because the problem did not come about until after the widened plantage of genetically altered crops.

Nevin_1
9/27/2007 6:00:06 AM
It's good to hear that some areas have an abundance of Honey Bees, and hopefully other Insects. We are all a part of the Green Earth and seem to depend on each other for our existence. I ended the season finding only seven Monarch Caterpillars after spending much more time than produced well over 100 last year. My "Bee Houses" referred to in MEN are for Solitary Bees which are great Pollinators, but produce no harvestable Honey. These Houses are made by drilling holes in blocks of wood where the female lays eggs and then plugs the hole. This is the complete piece I released to the local News Media: "Insect Alzheimers" by Nevin Hawlman This is the term I have coined for the calamity that is invading our Insect populations. It was first announced that Honey Bees were suffering from a disorder which invaded their brain. A local Beekeeper was examining his Bee hives when he noticed minimal activity at some hives. Upon removing the covers, he found that the Bees were gone; empty hives ! Further examination revealed that other hives were also empty. And soon other Beekeepers reported similar vacancies. It seems that the Bees have no memory of 'home'. They forgot how to collect nectar and pollen. They have no idea how to make honeycomb from beeswax. They don't know how to tend Baby Bees, or their Queen. They forgot how to pollinate Apple Trees, Citrus Groves and Blueberry plants. Their calamity has been termed "Colony Collapse Disorder" and can be researched on the Internet. This writer has a garden and a garden orchard. I have made Bee Houses for Solitary/ leaf-cutting/ mason/ orchard Bees to attract these efficient pollinators to my garden. In the middle of July, the area of these Bee houses is a carnival of activity as the female Bees fill the horizontal holes I have drilled for them. This year I have NO Solitary Bees in the houses or on their favorite Cone Flowers. NO pollinators ! Something is

Patrick_12
9/26/2007 9:34:32 PM
I'm in Los Osos California and I noticed a largte number of honeybees this year in my garden. I'm not a beekeeper, but there were so many that I got the urge to become one. That said, we usually have tons of Monarch butterflies adn I have only seen one so far.

Suzanne_11
9/26/2007 8:41:30 PM
In the past couple years I have noticed that most of the pollinators in our fruit trees, flowering shrubs, and other flowers were the big bumble type bees with only a few honeybees. This year there appeared to be a few more honeybees. We planted buckwheat as a cover crop in the unused part of our garden. I was very suprised and pleased to note that when the green manure crop of buckwheat was in full bloom, (July/August?)at least 80% of the pollinators were honeybees. Early in the morning you could hear them from about thirty feet away. Unfortunately, due to the drought here in NC, most of the buckwheat just dried up before we could do anything with the plants. The drought has also cut down on the number of flowers available for the bees.

Krishna_1
9/26/2007 8:23:24 PM
So far, scientists have reasoned that the cause of CCD is the same thing that would cause any other organism to perish: stress, poor nutrition, toxins, and the subsequent diseases that take over the ill. Many organisms so far have been found in CCD hives and implicated, including two different varieties of Nosema (bee dysentary), the Varroa Mite, and a few previously unknown viruses, but none are thought to be the specific cause. Honeybees use nectar and honey as their carbohydrate source, and pollen as their protein source. Like us, they need a well rounded diet; we couldn't stay healthy eating just crutons and almonds. Many times honeybees are used as pollinators for a monoculture, which means they not only get just one source of pollen, but the competition is oftentimes so fierce they don't end up with much of it for themselves. In the fall, to supplement short honey stores, many beehives are fed Corn Syrup, which studies have shown is an inappropriate food for a honeybee, albeit much cheaper for the beekeeper than cane sugar or honey. Moving the hives any distance can stress a hive. Loosing a queen causes stress. Inclement weather when food supplies in the hive are scarce causes stress. Overheating causes stress. Disease causes stress. Tampering with your hives when it's not necessary causes stress. Agricultural pesticides cause lots of stress. One disease beekeepers must deal with today is the Varroa Mite, for which the treatment is pesticide inside the hive. Pesticides are toxic to not only the mite, but to the honeybees also. This combination of stresses, poor nutrition, toxins and disease is not new for the honeybee. Neither is CCD. Old timers from way back have spoken of "Colony Colapse Disorder", but they called it "Fall Dwindle". Ironically, the first reported case of "Fall Dwindle" occured in Iowa at the same time the first pesticides were sprayed from an airplane, back in the early 1

Sally_13
9/26/2007 10:21:04 AM
I just got the Oct/Nov issue of Mother Earth News and had to respond to Neven Hawlman's comments re the honeybee's decline. My husband and I are new beekeepers, having been given a bee hive kit from our kids last Christmas, so we were committed finally to stop talking about raising bees and just do it! April 26 we acquired our first colony of 10,000 (3 lbs of) bees with a Carniolan queen, and our adventures began. They thrived on the emerging willow and poplar pollen, while we fed them sugar syrup for a while until the fruit trees bloomed and we were able to stop feeding them. Gradually, their home increased from one 10-frame deep souper to what it is today: two deeps and two medium soupers, filled with probably 60,000 healthy, thriving bees who have filled the two top medium soupers with honey. We monitor carefully for varroa mites, of which there are a few, but as we understand it from our friends at the local beekeeper's club, a healthy hive can still thrive with a small number of the mites. Our next challenge is to prepare the hive to winter over successfully in a climate that reaches to -24 degrees. Beekeeping has opened up a whole new world for us. We walked all around our farm here in rural NH throughout the spring and summer, inspecting the local flowers as they bloomed: the willows and dandelions in early spring; later the apple blossoms and bramble fruits; and lately the major nectar flow of goldenrod and now wild asters, trying to see where exactly our "girls" were foraging. We found, to our delight, not only honeybees (we think they were ours) but also LOTS of bumblebees and other smaller wild bees - sweat or mason bees, perhaps? I don't know what kind they all were, but flowers everywhere in our meadows were loaded with many, many varieties of bees! And the butterflies, too, were the most abundant I've seen in quite a few years. So, yes, honeybee decline is a serious problem, not to be taken lig





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