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From Twitter 10-09-2010 [Oct. 10th, 2010|04:01 am]

  • 06:26:08: RT @kaysea14: What a scientist didn't tell the New York Times about his study on bee deaths http://t.co/VyoQXqL via @FortuneMagazine
  • 06:26:30: RT @DeviPillai: Jim Butcher: I don't have writers block, I have a mortgage. #nycc
  • 06:42:26: Off to rehearsal...the first for the Durufle "Requiem" we're doing in early November. All day today.
  • 16:45:03: RT @patinagle: RT @bookviewcafe: Today's Special from Sarah Zettel: new chapter in Camelot's Blood - read it for free at http://www.book ...
  • 19:28:53: Today's discovery...I like the Durufle "Requiem" after all. Just needed the right director and choir to sing it with.
  • 19:30:43: Needed long nap when I got home, though. Mental concentration of hours of that kind of singing wears me out.

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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2010-10-11 12:10 am (UTC)
I passed the Fortune Magazine on via Facebook. That's an interesting article.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-11 01:09 am (UTC)
What annoys me, in all this, is that I can't find out if anyone is considering the bee equivalent of "shipping fever" as a factor. Commercial aviaries load colonies of bees onto trucks and drive them considerable distances, over and over, in the course of a season (hiring them out to pollinate crops.) Farmers want bees 'stocked' at a level that ensures maximum pollination and thus fruit/vegetable production--but this means bees are crowded and may not get enough pollen/nectar at each location. (If every flower is pollinated, it means every bee is still after nectar or pollen--suggesting to me that the colony is borderline for nourishment.) Colonies are subjected to air pollution while in transit from auto exhaust on roadways, and to vibration (which stresses hives--if you shake a hive, the bees come on full alert to protect the hive.) Bees are forced to adapt quickly to multiple environments in the course of a season--different climates and crops (as they are moved north and then back south again), different locations for which they must re-orient themselves to the food source, etc.

I know from other livestock that travel increases the risk of disease, partly from exposure but also from the stresses of travel. But I don't think anyone's considering that for bees. The "wild" (or source unknown) honeybees on our place have not diminished...nor has there been reported colony collapse in Africanized honeybees, which nest where they want to and stay there (colony splits and so advances, but the original colony certainly isn't being shipped from place to place.)

Edited at 2010-10-11 01:10 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2010-10-11 01:29 am (UTC)
But they've been transporting bees for years. I remember seeing a truck full of bee's nests in Pennsylvania back when I lived in my car. That's over 20 years ago. I don't know when they first started noticing colony collapse, but it seems pretty recent.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-10-11 01:56 am (UTC)
Yes, but if I understand the situation correctly, and I may not, the scale of transport (in terms of distances, number of colonies transported, number of locations in a growing season) has increased, the surrounding vegetation is much less likely to provide supplementary nutrition (because of modern farming methods), and colonies may be sourced from different aviaries for some fields, offering more chance of disease spread.

Between the time I had bees and the time we arrived here, now over 30 years ago, a decline in queen fertility of commercially supplied young queens was already being noted--well ahead of colony collapse, but significant, I think, in terms of how robust a colony is when stressed. Problems with commercial honeybee operations were showing up in the '80s and '90s--not as severe, but worrying (which is why Australian queens were imported, as opposed to the locally bred ones.)

And I do think all "control" chemicals on farms could be part of the stressors, reducing the bee population's immune response to actual diseases. When I was in graduate school, my research interest was on the effect of certain chemical classes on membrane function--I wasn't dealing directly with immune systems, let alone those of bees, but with chemotaxis in single-celled organisms in contact with those chemicals. Didn't finish my project, but got far enough to be aware of a lot of subtle intracellular stuff going on.
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