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  • Mystery killer silencing honeybees

    Crop-helping honeybees dying mystery deaths

    Honeybees are dying at surprising levels, and scientists haven't yet figured out why, this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer says. If you think the die-off will simply save you from stings this summer or will just cramp your sweet honey love, think again.

    "At stake is the work the honeybees do, pollinating more than $15 billion worth of U.S. crops, including Pennsylvania's apple harvest, the fourth-largest in the nation, worth $45 million, and New Jersey's cranberries and blueberries.

    "While a few crops, such as corn and wheat, are pollinated by the wind, most need bees. Without these insects, crop yields would fall dramatically. Agronomists estimate Americans owe one in three bites of food to bees."

    Read the full story. Researchers are examing a virus, a "new fungal pathogen," new pesticides, and the long-distance shipping of bees as possible causes.

    Friday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more. The "Colony Collapse Disorder" is under investigation in 11 states, the paper says. And in case you're still wondering about honey, your answer is here. "The effect on the honey market is less pronounced. More than half the honey sold in the United States is imported, especially from Argentina and China."

    A Penn State website has the press release announcing the findings and research materials from the group examining the deaths.

  • #2
    Re: Crop-helping honeybees dying mystery deaths

    Funny, it reminds me of a report I discovered in May 2005 from the area around Lake Qinghai--the same time that Qinghai bird flu emerged and started killing waterfowl for the first time.


    • #3
      Mystery killer silencing honeybees

      Mystery killer silencing honeybees

      By Sandy Bauers
      The Philadelphia Inquirer
      Feb. 7, 2007 07:41 AM
      PHILADELPHIA - Something is killing the nation's honeybees.

      Dave Hackenberg had 3,000 hives and figures he has lost all but about 800 of them.

      In labs across the nation, researchers have been stunned by the number of calls about the mysterious losses.
      "Every day, you hear of another operator," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, acting state apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. "It's just causing so much death so quickly that it's startling."

      At stake is the work the honeybees do, pollinating more than $15 billion worth of U.S. crops, including Pennsylvania's apple harvest, the fourth-largest in the nation, worth $45 million, and New Jersey's cranberries and blueberries.

      While a few crops, such as corn and wheat, are pollinated by the wind, most need bees. Without these insects, crop yields would fall dramatically. Agronomists estimate Americans owe one in three bites of food to bees.

      The problem caps 20 years of honeybee woes, including two mites that killed the valuable insect and a predatory beetle that attacked the honeycombs of weak or dead colonies.

      "This is by far the most alarming," said Maryann Frazier, an apiculture - or beekeeping - expert at Pennsylvania State University's College of Agricultural Sciences.

      One of the first to notice the latest die-off was Hackenberg, who lives in Lewisburg, Pa.

      He and his son truck about 3,000 hives up and down the East Coast every year as part of a large but little-known cross-continental migratory bee industry.

      Hackenberg's bees pollinate oranges in Florida, apples, cherries and pumpkins in Pennsylvania, and blueberries in Maine. Come summer, they are buzzing along the Canadian border, making honey.

      This season, Hackenberg hauled his hives to Florida by Oct. 10, just as he has done for 40 years. By November, some hives were empty; others had just sickly remains.

      He made some calls and found out a beekeeper in Georgia had seen the same thing.

      Since then, with concern mounting, experts have been investigating. A few months ago, they were referring to the die-off as "fall dwindle disease." Now, they have ratcheted up to "colony collapse disorder."

      Last weekend, apiarist vanEngelsdorp and other researchers headed to central California, where hundreds of acres of almond trees - the source of 80 percent of the world's almond harvest - are about to blossom.

      Last fall, workers transported managed hives - about 450 per tractor-trailer - to California from colder areas such as the Great Lakes and the Dakotas. Now, hives are coming from Texas, Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania. In all, about half the country's managed hives are needed for the mass pollination.

      As workers open the hives to check them, "the picture's not so good," said Jeffrey S. Pettis, a leader in bee research at a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Beltsville, Md.

      Pettis said bees often had some winter loss, but this level of death was unprecedented.

      As dead or dying insects are collected, dissected and tested, several possibilities are emerging.

      The most recent mite problem - the varroa mite - compromises a bee's immune system, so a virus might be the new culprit, Frazier said. Or it could be a new fungal pathogen.

      Frazier said researchers also were looking at a new group of pesticides that might impair the bees' ability to orient to their hives. So maybe they are dying only because they cannot find their way back home.

      Honeybees are not natives. The country already had about 3,500 species of pollinating bees before Europeans brought honeybees in the 1600s. But because honeybees produce honey and can be managed so easily, they have become a mainstay of U.S. agriculture.

      "Part of the problem is that today we develop these big monocultures of corn or peas or cabbage," Frazier said. "They wipe out the diversity of nectar sources and reduce nesting sites for wild bees. And we use, unfortunately, a lot of pesticides to keep the insects we don't want from eating these crops, which also works to eliminate the pollinators."

      So a Pennsylvania orchard manager, say, will bring in bees for the two weeks the apple trees bloom, then take them out so he can apply substances to control other insects.

      Neither entomologists nor growers can say what will happen when the 2007 growing season for most of the country's crops starts. "We're coming up onto the season where people are really going to be worried," Frazier said.

      Although research suggests the stress of moving bees long distances might be a factor in the die-offs, smaller beekeepers with stationary hives worry the problem will extend to their colonies as well.

      Already, Janet Katz, a beekeeper in Chester, N.J., thinks three of her 21 hives are failing.

      And the bees are stressed already, she said. "The weather last season was not cooperative," she said. "Over the course of the season it was too wet, too dry, too hot and too cold, all at the wrong times."

      Bees store honey every autumn - a hive needs 60 pounds to survive the winter - but with this year's warm weather, they ate a lot, and beekeepers had to supplement with sugar syrup.

      Now, the bees have sealed themselves inside the hives to stay warm, and the keepers can't open the structures until spring.

      "Are we going to see this same thing, this collapsing disorder, in these bees? We don't know," Frazier said. "It's very possible this may extend to our nonmigratory population. We just won't know until spring."
      <!--*End Print Friendly-->

      <!-- BOXAD TABLE -->


      • #4
        Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

        We have the same problem here in New Zealand. I believe it is termed a 'bee blight' although I do not know the scientific cause. We had one single avocado grow on one of our trees this year, as bees are the sole pollanator of avo trees


        • #5
          Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

          If something is wiping out honeybees, it will affect all of us - even the backyard gardeners.

          I so look forward to spring when the fruit trees bloom and actually shiver with bees doing their work.
          "There's a chance peace will come in your life - please buy one" - Melanie Safka
          "The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be" - Socrates


          • #6
            Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

            Archive Number 20070208.0497
            Published Date 08-FEB-2007
            Subject PRO/AH/EDR> Undiagnosed die-off, apis - USA (Multistate)

            A ProMED-mail post
            ProMED-mail is a program of the
            International Society for Infectious Diseases

            Date: 5 Feb 2007
            From: Brent Barrett <>
            Source: Discovery News [edited]
            < 00>

            Honey Bee Die-off Alarms Beekeepers
            Something is wiping out honey bees across North America, and a team
            of researchers is rushing to find out what it is.

            What is being called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has now been seen in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and way out in
            California. Some bee keepers have lost up to 80 percent of their
            colonies to the mysterious disorder.

            Those are quite scary numbers," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp,
            Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's lead apiarist. Whatever
            kills the bees targets adult workers, which die outside the colony,
            with few adults left inside, either alive or dead. The disorder
            decimates the worker bee population in a matter of weeks.

            Aside from making honey, honey bees are essential for the pollination
            of tens of million of dollars worth of cash crops all over the United
            States. That's why almond growers of California, for instance, are
            taking notice and pledging funds to help identify and fight the honey
            bee disorder.

            Among the possible culprits are a fungus, virus, or a variety of
            microbes and pesticides. No one knows just yet. On 1st inspection,
            the pattern of die-offs resembles something that has been seen in
            more isolated cases in Louisiana, Texas and Australia, vanEngelsdorp said.

            "Right now, our efforts are on collecting as many samples as
            possible," said vanEngelsdorp. Bees that are collected are carefully
            dissected and analyzed to see what might have killed them.

            Other researchers are keeping track of the problem using Google Earth
            as well as cutting-edge hive-sniffing and eavesdropping technology to
            investigate the problem.

            "We're trying to sort out the myriad of variables," said Jerry
            Bromenshank of the University of Montana and Bee Alert Technology,
            Inc. "We've sent teams to Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, and
            California. The scenario was about exactly the same everywhere we looked."

            The locations of the bees are put on a global database to see whether
            there is any geographic pattern. Bromenshank also uses a
            groundbreaking audio analysis technique that allows hearing specific
            changes in bee colony sounds when specific chemicals are present.
            Chemical air sampling in hives is also being planned, he said.

            Just how bad the bee problem is right now is unknown, since the 1st
            cases came at the end of 2006, and many colonies in northern states
            are not active yet.

            As spring awakens honey bee colonies, it will be vital for beekeepers
            to send information to the scientists, regardless of how well or
            poorly their bee colonies are faring, said Bromenshank. For that
            purpose the scientists have put together a confidential beekeeper
            survey on their website

            "Beekeepers over-wintering in the north may not know the status of
            their colonies until they are able to make early spring inspections,"
            said Maryann Frazier, apiculture extension associate in Penn State's
            College of Agricultural Sciences. "This should occur in late February
            or early March [2007]. Regardless, there is little doubt that honey
            bees are going to be in short supply this spring and possibly into the summer."

            [Byline: Larry O'Hanlon]
            Brent Barrett
            [As this news article points out, bees are more valuable than as just
            honey producers. They are essential for pollinating a multitude of
            food crops as well as many of the trees, flowers and shrubs that we enjoy.

            Bees can be affected by Foul Brood, Varroa mites, bronze bee mites,
            and other parasites, fungi and viruses. Despite the importance of bees, the research is not as energetic as it could be. - Mod.TG]

            - jt -
            Thought has a dual purpose in ethics: to affirm life, and to lead from ethical impulses to a rational course of action - Teaching Reverence for Life -Albert Schweitzer. JT


            • #7
              Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

              Many years ago we had problem with mites affecting our population of bees and my father would use a feather to pollinate his apple trees until the bee population recovered. It's time consuming and very laborous but it does work on smaller jobs.


              • #8
                Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                lol yeah my Dad suggested we use a "cotton bud" (little cotton stick for cleaning yr ears with) to pollinate the flowers.

                next season if the bees aren't back i will have to


                • #9
                  Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                  bump this.


                  • #10
                    Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                    Mystery Ailment Strikes Honeybees

                    Associated Press
                    February 12, 2007

                    By GENARO C. ARMAS

                    Associated Press Writer

                    A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination.

                    Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called Colony Collapse Disorder.

                    Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some affected commercial beekeepers - who often keep thousands of colonies - have reported losing more than 50 percent of their bees. A colony can have roughly 20,000 bees in the winter, and up to 60,000 in the summer.

                    'We have seen a lot of things happen in 40 years, but this is the epitome of it all,' Dave Hackenberg, of Lewisburg-based Hackenberg Apiaries, said by phone from Fort Meade, Fla., where he was working with his bees.

                    The country's bee population had already been shocked in recent years by a tiny, parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which has destroyed more than half of some beekeepers' hives and devastated most wild honeybee populations.

                    Along with being producers of honey, commercial bee colonies are important to agriculture as pollinators, along with some birds, bats and other insects. A recent report by the National Research Council noted that in order to bear fruit, three-quarters of all flowering plants - including most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs and fuel - rely on pollinators for fertilization.

                    Hackenberg, 58, was first to report Colony Collapse Disorder to bee researchers at Penn State University. He notified them in November when he was down to about 1,000 colonies - after having started the fall with 2,900.

                    'We are going to take bees we got and make more bees ... but it's costly,' he said. 'We are talking about major bucks. You can only take so many blows so many times.'

                    One beekeeper who traveled with two truckloads of bees to California to help pollinate almond trees found nearly all of his bees dead upon arrival, said Dennis vanEnglesdorp, acting state apiarist for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

                    'I would characterize it as serious,' said Daniel Weaver, president of the American Beekeeping Federation. 'Whether it threatens the apiculture industry in the United States or not, that's up in the air.'

                    Scientists at Penn State, the University of Montana and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are among the quickly growing group of researchers and industry officials trying to solve the mystery.

                    Among the clues being assembled by researchers:

                    _ Although the bodies of dead bees often are littered around a hive, sometimes carried out of the hive by worker bees, no bee remains are typically found around colonies struck by the mystery ailment. Scientists assume these bees have flown away from the hive before dying.

                    _ From the outside, a stricken colony may appear normal, with bees leaving and entering. But when beekeepers look inside the hive box, they find few mature bees taking care of the younger, developing bees.

                    _ Normally, a weakened bee colony would be immediately overrun by bees from other colonies or by pests going after the hive's honey. That's not the case with the stricken colonies, which might not be touched for at least two weeks, said Diana Cox-Foster, a Penn State entomology professor investigating the problem.

                    'That is a real abnormality,' Hackenberg said.

                    She said an analysis of dissected bees turned up an alarmingly high number of foreign fungi, bacteria and other organisms and weakened immune systems.

                    Researchers are also looking into the effect pesticides might be having on bees.

                    In the meantime, beekeepers are wondering if bee deaths over the last couple of years that had been blamed on mites or poor management might actually have resulted from the mystery ailment.

                    'Now people think that they may have had this three or four years,' vanEnglesdorp said.


                    • #11
                      Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                      Resources from American Beekeeping Federation

                      USDA Beekeeping Research

                      USDA ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research Unit - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

                      USDA Bee Research Lab - Weslaco, Texas

                      USDA Beltsville Bee Research Laboratory (Maryland, USA)

                      Carl Hayden Bee Research Center - Tucson, Arizona

                      USDA Agricultural Research Service


                      • #12
                        Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                        Welcome Hippocampus. Thank you so much for your contribution. Your links are very helpful.


                        • #13
                          Re: Crop-helping honeybees dying mystery deaths

                          Originally posted by Sharpe View Post
                          Funny, it reminds me of a report I discovered in May 2005 from the area around Lake Qinghai--the same time that Qinghai bird flu emerged and started killing waterfowl for the first time.

                          Cannot get the link to work. Is there another or Sharpe could you PM me the article or about what it reminded you of?


                          • #14
                            Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                            Good morning all,

                            The main reason that I brought this bee disease up is to remind you that

                            PROPOLIS will be in shortage and more expensive.

                            Propolis is important medicine (corroborated) it is now time to buy it since some are left and not expensive.

                            For information concerning the medicinal properties of Propolis, please consult

                            Thank you


                            • #15
                              Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                              Thanks LMonty

                              Target: cytokine storm, antiviral

                              Supplement/ medication/compound name: Propolis

                              Welzo today announced that it has acquired PDR Health ( This comes after the HMI Group confirmed it had purchased and populated it with over 1000 different information sheets on medications and health conditions. What does this mean for PDR Health and Welzo? Following the successful launch

                              Propolis, also known as bee glue and bee propolis, is a brownish resinous substance collected by bees, mainly from poplar and conifer buds, and used to seal their hives. Because of antimicrobial properties of propolis, it helps keep hives free of germs. Propolis has a long history of use in folk medicine and was even used as an official drug in London in the 1600s. Over time, propolis has been used for many purposes and marketed as lozenges, cough syrups, toothpastes, mouth rinses, lipsticks, cosmetics and even for the varnishing of Stradivarius violins. It appears to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities.

                              The composition of propolis is variable, depending on the locale and variety of trees and other plant species used for the collection. For example, unique constituents have been identified in propolis collected in Cuba and Brazil. The main chemical classes found in propolis are flavonoids, phenolics and terpenes. The flavonoids include quercetin, apegenin, galangin, kaempferol, luteolin, pinocembrin, pinostrobin and pinobanksin. The phenolic ester (caffeic acid phenethyl ester or CAPE) present in propolis is receiving much attention in the medical research community because of its potential for the treatment of a number of disorders, including spinal cord injury. Most of the substances in propolis are poorly soluble in water. (which may indicate it should be taken with food to enhance absorbtion, any further information to clarify that would be appreciated)

                              ACTIONS AND PHARMACOLOGY
                              A list of possible actions of propolis includes: antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral (including anti HIV-1 activity), antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antithrombotic and immunomodula- tory.

                              MECHANISM OF ACTION
                              The mechanism of the possible actions of propolis may be understood by reviewing research findings on some of the individual compounds found in it. It is difficult to study the mechanism of actions of more than one compound at a time. Therefore, the following descriptions apply only to single compounds. The contribution of any single compound to the possible action of such a complex substance as propolis is difficult to know.

                              Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) inhibits the lipoxygenase pathway of arachidonic acid, resulting in anti-inflammatory activity. CAPE is also known to have anticarcinogenic, antimitogenic and immunomodulatory properties. CAPE has been found to completely inhibit the activation of the nuclear transcription factor NF-Kappa B by tumor necrosis factor (TNF), as well as by other pro-inflammatory agents. The inhibition of NF-Kappa B activation may provide the molecular basis for its immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral activities. It is possible that CAPE exerts its effects by inhibiting reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. ROS are known to play a major role in the activation of NF-Kappa B.

                              Compounds in propolis found to have antibacterial activity include a polyisoprenylated benzophenone, galangin, pinobanksin and pinocembrin. The exact mechanism of antimicrobial action of these compounds is not known.

                              INDICATIONS AND USAGE
                              There is evidence that propolis has some broad antimicrobial activity and that it may have anti-inflammatory effects that could make it useful in the treatment of some forms of arthritis, among other disorders. There is also some evidence of anti-cancer activity.

                              RESEARCH SUMMARY
                              have shown anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal effects. It shows activity in culture against a broad spectrum of pathogens, including influenza and herpes viruses, as well as HIV and various fungal and bacterial organisms.
                              In a study of school children, an aqueous propolis extract was judged effective in reducing the incidence and intensity of acute and chronic rhinopharyngitis. In another study involving 10 volunteers, it exerted activity against oral bacteria. A Cuban study concluded that propolis is more effective than tinidazole against giardia.

                              Propolis has a high concentration of caffeic acid esters that some believe may give it some antitumor properties. In two studies, extracts of propolis fed to rats have inhibited azoxymethane-induced colonic tumors.

                              In vitro studies have shown propolis-related anti-inflammatory effects. Various extracts of propolis have also shown anti-inflammatory activity in animal models, particularly against adjuvant-induced arthritis.

                              More research is needed to further explore these preliminary findings.

                              Propolis is contraindicated in those who are allergic or hypersensitive to any of its components.

                              Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid using propolis supplements.

                              ADVERSE REACTIONS
                              There are reported adverse reactions in those using topical preparations of propolis. These reactions are manifested as a dermatitis. There are reports of hypersensitivity reactions to ingested propolis, including rhinitis, conjunctivitis, skin rashes and bronchospasm.

                              No reported overdosage of propolis.

                              DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
                              No typical dose. Propolis is available in several different preparations, including lozenges, tablets, creams, gels, mouth rinses, toothpastes and cough syrups.

                              Where to get it:

                              TRADE NAMES
                              Bee Propolis (Twinlab, Rainbow Light, Nature's Answer), Propolis Power (Nature's Herbs).

                              HOW SUPPLIED

                              Capsules ? 120 mg, 500 mg, 650 mg


                              Lozenge ? 50 grains

                              Tablets ? 500 mg