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Thread: The Silence of the Bees

  1. #1
    Honorary Argentinian Senior Member Gyroball Champion, Karts Champion Caius's Avatar
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    Default The Silence of the Bees

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/bees/

    In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon fell upon honeybee hives across the country. Without a trace, millions of bees vanished from their hives. A precious pollinator of fruits and vegetables, the disappearing bees left billions of dollars of crops at risk and threatened our food supply. The epidemic set researchers scrambling to discover why honeybees were dying in record numbers -- and to stop the epidemic in its tracks before it spread further.

    Silence of the Bees is the first in-depth look at the search to uncover what is killing the honeybee. The filmmakers of Bees take viewers around the world to the sites of fallen hives, to high-tech labs, where scientists race to uncover clues, and even deep inside honeybee colonies. Silence of the Bees is the story of a riveting, ongoing investigation to save honeybees from dying out. The film goes beyond the unsolved mystery to tell the story of the honeybee itself, its invaluable impact on our diets and takes a look at what's at stake if honeybees disappear. Silence of the Bees explores the complex world of the honeybee in crisis and instills in viewers a sense of urgency to learn ways to help these extraordinary animals.

    Apparently without bees there wouldn't be human life in some years, so what do you think about this?




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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    It's darned odd, that's for certain....and a little alarming as well.

    I didn't realize it was a worldwide phenomenon, though. I thought the problem was only here in the USA?
    "MTW is not a game, it's a way of life." -- drone

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    Honorary Argentinian Senior Member Gyroball Champion, Karts Champion Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    In some asiatic country they are polinizating by humans.




    Names, secret names
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    Member Member 5 Card Draw Champion, Mini Pool 2 Champion, Ice Hockey Champion, Mahjong Connect Champion Northnovas's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    The other interesting article I read today that North America has 4,000 kinds of bees and they are trying to map the DNA.
    An interesting note all bees pollinate but only certain plants. They think if they can identify the bees that pollinate a particular plant they can ensure they are located in those areas of need.
    How little we now.

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    Hǫrğar Member Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    So, what are the leading theories for this disappearance? (did the increased CO2 levels suffocate them? )

    Quote Originally Posted by Northnovas
    How little we now.
    But we all know what Britney Spears did to her hair recently, so we'll do just fine.
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    Honorary Argentinian Senior Member Gyroball Champion, Karts Champion Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    So, what are the leading theories for this disappearance?
    Pollution.




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    Hǫrğar Member Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Caius
    Pollution.
    What kind of pollution?
    Runes for good luck:

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    Honorary Argentinian Senior Member Gyroball Champion, Karts Champion Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    Agrochemical pollution, but they dissapear by the CCD phenomenon.




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    Bruadair a'Bruaisan Member cmacq's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    Devils and Details

    First, the numbers of bees dead or alive are being counted by whom? Second, are only domesticated bees being counted dead and alive? Third, are only certain types of domesticated bees being counted dead or alive? Forth, how have the numbers and ratio of both domesticated and non-domesticated bees changed in the last 20 years; year by year? Fifth, how can one count the numbers of non-domesticated bees?

    On the face of it, for now, this looks very much like, yet another of what is known in the business as, 'A Fund Raiser.'
    Last edited by cmacq; 05-18-2008 at 16:10.
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    Research Shinobi Senior Member Tamur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    I have a friend who teaches at the University of Montana and was involved in the first set of research into this, funded by the US Army (not sure why). I'll take a crack at those questions from what I know talking to him...

    First, the numbers of bees dead or alive are being counted by whom?

    My friend and his colleagues weren't counting bees, they were counting domesticated colonies and mapping the CCD hives versus the non-CCD hives, then taking an average to determine bee count.

    Second, are only domesticated bees being counted dead and alive?

    As far as I know, yepp.

    Third, are only certain types of domesticated bees being counted dead or alive?

    No. The research I learned about was being done in California, Alabama, Kansas, Szechuan province, Lithuania & Latvia, South Africa and Brazil, and seemed to be a fairly good cross-section of (again) domesticated bees from many different bee-farms and permanently sited apiaries.

    Forth, how have the numbers and ratio of both domesticated and non-domesticated bees changed in the last 20 years; year by year?

    Good question. The people I know about, again, weren't dealing with non-domesticated.

    Fifth, how can one count the numbers of non-domesticated bees?

    Exactly the problem. Trying to capture a sample of non-domesticated bees is like trying to determine the number of dolphins in the world's oceans by sampling 10 cubic metres of water in the Adriatic. Where do you start?

    Good questions, and it points out some problems with this research. The worst example I was told of was a university in California who had published a study generalising CCD by looking at a single bee provider's hives. That's the sort of science most researchers in this area are (I hope) trying to avoid.
    Last edited by Tamur; 05-20-2008 at 13:37.
    "Die Wahrheit ruht in Gott / Uns bleibt das Forschen." Johann von Müller

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    Bruadair a'Bruaisan Member cmacq's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    Tamur

    Thanks for your very good answers. I was just talking about this issue yesterday, with a fellow archaeologist. Please, based on your insight what is your opinion?
    Last edited by cmacq; 05-21-2008 at 00:01.
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    Research Shinobi Senior Member Tamur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    Well, there certainly isn't a bullet-proof theory on the table at the moment. I'd love to say I don't have my own pet theory, but what sort of an interested party could hear about this and not pick some side as a favourite?

    So...

    I don't go in for the infection theories. It seems like that is a symptom, not a cause. Instead I think the cause is environmental.

    There are many areas of the world which haven't been affected but which have received bees from the same farms (in Australia) that have significant collapsed in the US. The fact that most of the collapses happen in the US is certainly intriguing.

    In less affected parts of the world, bees arrive and are sited permanently or only moved short distances. The US, on the other hand, has many bee farmers who move their bees six or more times per growing season, over thousands of miles. There are holes in this theory just like every other one (e.g. why don't all heavily-moved hives collapse?), but I tend to think that aggressive agribusiness in the US plays a significant (if unwitting) role.

    But that is definitely a personal view after hearing about the two dozen other theories.
    "Die Wahrheit ruht in Gott / Uns bleibt das Forschen." Johann von Müller

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    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    The fact that most of the collapses happen in the US is certainly intriguing.
    All the handguns?

    Why would shifting the bees around them cause their disappearance?
    Last edited by Alexander the Pretty Good; 05-21-2008 at 05:14.

  14. #14
    Bruadair a'Bruaisan Member cmacq's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander the Pretty Good
    All the handguns?

    Why would shifting the bees around them cause their disappearance?
    I don't think that the word disappearance was actually used? Still, there are a few things here that don't seem to add up. Knowing what I do about the American political system of granting federal money, I assumed that the problem, was centered in the US. Again, I return to the possibility that this is yet another 'Fund Raiser?'
    Last edited by cmacq; 05-21-2008 at 05:58.
    quae res et cibi genere et cotidiana exercitatione et libertate vitae

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    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    I don't know really. According to wikipedia, it's as if the colony just lost its adult population without further indications of the cause.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_Collapse_Disorder

  16. #16
    Bruadair a'Bruaisan Member cmacq's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    Right,
    but you will soon learn that very very very often the words and the numbers do not match up; or that the raw data doesn't support the conclusion. Get use to it, as in some scientific disciplines, this scenario is more common than not.
    Last edited by cmacq; 05-21-2008 at 06:08.
    quae res et cibi genere et cotidiana exercitatione et libertate vitae

    Herein events and rations daily birth the labors of freedom.

  17. #17

    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    As a member of a beekeeping society, I do not claim to be an expert, far from it but there are members with decades of experience who are rightly concerned.
    CCD has been reported outside the USA, but to a lesser degree and just what is the cause is still baffling. The alarming fact is that hives affected by CCD are avoided by other bees and creatures that would usually rob the honey stores.
    The western honeybee Apis Mellifera and particularly the subspecies Ligustica and Carnica is the most commonly managed bee. Unfortunately, like just about everything else, mankind is responsible for a multitude of problems. Bee products, that could be wax foundation as much as Queens, etc are transported around the World and certainly spread problems that never existed before. Varroa mite and Nosema are two examples. Unmanaged colonies are guaranteed to be affected, which means here in the UK almost the entire bee population are from managed hives. In these hives there has been a marked reduction in numbers, my friend has seen his apiary reduced from seven hives to just two. Certainly colonies do fail, usually over wintering but failure to the degree being experienced over the last few years is worrying indeed.
    In the UK the majority of hives are non commercial, which is not the case in the States. Even here, hives are transported to locations for crop pollination but not the vast distances that American hives are. The natural habit of the honeybee is to forage on a variety of plants, is it beneficial to the colony to feed on nothing but Almond blossom only to then be transported to a new location and a completely different food source? Maybe not but this is not a new practise.
    Then we could consider GM crops or maybe air pollution? It seems everyone these days owns a mobile phone and the latest 'must have' trend is for SatNav.
    Whatever the cost of reseach into this matter, it must certainly be far more important than finding out if there is/was water on Mars.
    At least these girls are healthy and look like they will make it through the winter....
    Last edited by Orda Khan; 10-23-2008 at 17:11.

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    Oni Member Samurai Waki's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Silence of the Bees

    This is very strange, because amidst the strange Bee die-out Phenomena, this last Summer in Montana saw a massive increase in Wild Honey Bee Activity. I might need to go find the article on-line somewhere.

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