Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bees Dying in Alarming Plague

Here's a story that most newspapers and news organizations won't be discussing: Bees are dying in an alarming plague that is sweeping the USA.

Many people see bees as simply a nuisance at best. Some people realize vaguely that they're responsible for pollination, but they have no idea that a lack of bees means a lack of crops, which means a food shortage.

"Beekeepers in 22 states have reported losses of up to 80 percent of their colonies in recent weeks, leaving many unable to rent the bees to farmers of crops such as almonds and, later in the year, apples and blueberries."

In the 1960s, we saw a wasting plague that behaved in a similar manner. Right now, scientists are baffled. However, this is only the beginning of the attack on the friendly and helpful bee. African Killer Bees continue their insidious spread throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. Experts predict that they will soon overtake the majority of the United States. They are killing off the native bees, and prove to be very erratic, aggressive, and life-threatening to humans.

I don't know what can be done, but surely the government could do more than it's currently doing to help solve the problem. As always, the government's focus seems to be anywhere but where it should be: At home, within our own borders.


Ed Abbey said...

My parents used to raise bees for a living so this is a subject I know a lot about.

In the mid 80's, we had another similar bee crisis that was caused by trachea mites that would essentially sufficate the bees. It wiped out about 75% of the bees before it could be treated. But eventually they were treated and bees being half of the "birds and the bees" got busy and soon recovered their numbers.

I've read some reports on this recent death outbreak and I'm not too worried yet. With the weather climates as they are in the U.S. and bees mostly in hibernation in the northern half of the United States, it won't spread until later this year. Hopefully by that time we will have a better understanding of what it is. But should we lose all of our bees for some reason, the effects on our food chain could be devestating as you mentioned.

The Lazy Iguana said...

WOW! I just posted on another site about how the media is so busy talking about Anna-Nicole Smith kicking the bucket that NO NEWS is being reported. I mentioned the bee thing as an example of something they could be talking about as opposed to the celebrity death of the week. And then I come here and you posted about the bee thing! Amazing.

Republicans have a plan for the killer bees. Deport all illegal bees then build a very tall wall no bee can fly over on the US / Mexico border.

And is it racist to call African Bees "killer bees"? When they move in do the European bees move out because hive values drop?

BTW - the killer bees ARE in Florida. So watch out. You did know it was only a matter of time.

Another NON NEWS STORY - Bill Cosby's dog winning "best of breed" in some fancy dog show as the only entry of that breed. In effect, the dog won by default because it was the only contestant. NOT NEWS! Someone please tell CNN.

Matt said...

Didn't the African Bees enter the United States through our southern border.

Damn Bush and his porous border! This is getting ridiculous. But don't mind me, I'm a nativist when it comes to birds and bees, men and women.

Anonymous said...

i wish mean people would die at alarming rates

mal said...

Lazy Iguana makes a great point. The media is hot after Anna Nicole garbage and we are ignoring news that "matters". I can not completely blame the media because the populace sucks up that dribble.

Makes you wonder where our heads and values are.

Paul said...

Today I agree with you. My dad was a beekeeper for a ka-jillion years. Ed, up there, is right. The bees have an amazing propensity to quickly repopulate themselves. (They don't call them birds and bees for nothing. ;] )

Yes, we must seek a solution to this problem, but why choose the government to do it? This is an opportunity for entrepreneurialism to glow!!! It probably will.

The Lazy Iguana said...

just like entrepreneurialism did a great job with a cure for AIDS huh?

People out for a profit DO produce all sorts of good things. There is nothing wrong with the idea of profit - and yet there is.

Problems for which the solution does NOT involve making money never get solved. Or if there is more money in keeping the problem around than getting rid of it - the problem remains unsolved.

Now I do NOT think that the bee crisis falls into this category. I do not think there is some sort of massive bee death conspiracy, although it would make a good plot for a bad movie. This could just be a natural cycle that corrects itself in a short time. Or it could be another bee lung mite type problem with a very simple (and cheap) solution.

But the USDA science nerds should monitor the situation. After all, this is the kind of stuff the USDA is supposed to do! Bees are important to the A in USDA.

Paul said...

BTW: Have you done any finger wagging yet about the obscene arrests, trials, imprisonment and treatment of Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Campeon? And the treason committed by Homeland Security agent Sanchez with that drug smuggler/liar Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila?

Send me the link, if I missed it.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Paul, excellent point. I'd thought about posting about it, but I thought perhaps Glenn Beck was covering it quite nicely. However, I agree that perhaps a post on it is overdue! Thanks! ;o) Glad you agreed today. Emma brought up a very interesting counterargument yesterday.

Everyone, more soon. I have to go to a biz meeting.

United We Lay said...

Great post. I think there's more to worry about with the killer bees. Don't count on the government, though.

Lee Ann said...

Great post!
As much of a nuisance as they seem, just like every inticate part of nature, they serve a purpose in the scheme of things.

Yes, what can be done...before things go way too far?

Kathleen said...

Well, I'll bee! Sorry, I couldn't resist.

My biggest worry is the Killer Bee and other non-native imports like Boa Constrictors, walking catfish, etc. Florida is famous for our not-so-environment friendly imports. Very scary stuff.

Meow said...

That's really interesting, Saur ... funnily enough, I read something about this in our Melbourne papers a few weeks ago.
It seems introduced species (whether on purpose, or accidental) tend to do great damage to local species. We have had many problems with this sort of stuff here over the years.
Take care, Meow

KristieD said...

poor little bees. we happen to have a hive of honey bees in our yard waaaay up in the tree outside my window. the hurricanes a few years ago ripped off one of the bigger branches so there was a hole left in the tree. A few months later there was an accident on 95 (which is near my home) involving a truck transporting ALOT of bees. (i happened to be on 95 when it happened, and OMG i have never seen so many bees, it was the wildest thing you ever saw)..anyway, they never did recover about 30,000 bees and they figured that they nested in the local area. very shortly after that we noticed them around our yard. Since they moved in, our fruit trees and other plants and flowers have just taken off. And the bees stick to themselves. we dont bother them, they dont bother us. and exterminators arent allowed to kill honeybees so they are here to stay. ;) Hopefully science can come up with a way to help save these helpful little creatures.

David Johnson said...

Hello All,

This is a facinating emerging issue from many perspectives. I am part of a planning group for a world affairs summit to be hosted in Tacoma in April. Who would be a good speaker on the subject from the US that could speak or present on the threads of environment, economics and peace and social justice?