Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Buzzing Along

Almost time to stop.

"Honeybees’ Mysterious Die-Off Appears to Worsen" New York Times Syndicate  May 13, 2015

NEW YORK — A prolonged and mysterious reduction in the population of the nation’s honeybees, a trend worrisome both to beekeepers and farmers who depend on the insects to pollinate their crops, apparently worsened last year.

In an annual survey released Wednesday by the Bee Informed Partnership, a consortium of universities and research laboratories, about 5,000 beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of their colonies in the 12-month period that ended in April. That is well above the 34.2 percent loss reported for the same period in 2013 and 2014, and it is the second-highest loss recorded since year-round surveys began in 2010.

Most striking, however, was that honeybee deaths spiked last summer, exceeding winter deaths for the first time. Commercial beekeepers, some of whom rent their hives to farmers during pollination seasons, were hit especially hard.

“We expect the colonies to die during the winter, because that’s a stressful season,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant entomology professor at the University of Maryland who directs the survey for the bee partnership. “What’s totally shocking to me is that the losses in summer, which should be paradise for bees, exceeded the winter losses.”

Bees are not in danger of extinction, but their health is of major concern to agriculture.

Well, yeah. Einstein said we would have about four years of life left if bees go extinct.

Nobody knows with certainty why the deaths are occurring.

There are theories.


Come to think of it, I don't see as many as I used to around the yard.


"More than two out of five American honeybee colonies have died in the past year, and surprisingly the worst die-off was in the summer, according to an annual survey. Since April 2014, beekeepers have lost about 42 percent of their colonies, the second-highest loss rate in nine years, according to the survey, conducted by a bee partnership that includes the Department of Agriculture. But it’s not quite as dire as it sounds. After a colony dies, beekeepers split their surviving colonies, start new ones, and the numbers go back up again, said study coauthor Dennis van Engelsdorp of the University of Maryland."

Don't start flying back and forth on me!

"US effort attempting to save bees, butterflies; Seeks to improve habitat on federal lands, considers pesticide curbs" by Seth Borenstein Associated Press  May 20, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration hopes to save the bees by feeding them better.

God help us all.

A new federal plan aims to reverse America’s declining honeybee and monarch butterfly populations by making millions of acres of federal land more bee-friendly, spending millions of dollars more on research, and considering the use of fewer pesticides.

Yeah, they solve everything they put their hands to.

While putting different types of landscapes along highways, federal housing projects, and elsewhere may not sound like much in terms of action, several bee scientists said this is a significant move. They say it may help pollinators that are starving because so much of the American landscape has been converted to lawns and corn, which don’t provide foraging areas for bees.

Oh, is that now the reason for colony collapse?

‘‘This is the first time I’ve seen addressed the issue that there’s nothing for pollinators to eat,’’ said University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum, who buttonholed President Obama about bees when she received her National Medal of Science award in November. ‘‘I think it’s brilliant.’’

Environmental activists who wanted a ban on a much-criticized class of pesticide said the Obama administration’s strategy falls well short of what’s needed to save the hives. 

I'm not saying the chemicals are not doing damage; however, I view that as a limited hangout. What has been introduced lately that is different than before? The chemicals have been around a long time and this has not happened to bees in the past. What's changed?

Scientists say bees — crucial to pollinate many crops — have been hurt by a combination of declining nutrition, mites, disease, and pesticides. The federal plan is an ‘‘all-hands-on-deck’’ strategy that calls on everyone from federal bureaucrats to citizens to do what they can to save bees, which provide more than $15 billion in value to the US economy, according to White House science adviser John Holdren.

And we can fight ISIS, too.

‘‘Pollinators are struggling,’’ Holdren said in a blog post, citing a new federal survey that found beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies last year, although they later recovered by dividing surviving hives.

Yeah, I'm glad it's not as dire as it sounds(???).

He also said the number of monarch butterflies that spend the winter in Mexico’s forests is down by 90 percent or more over the past two decades, so the US government is working with Mexico to expand monarch habitat in the southern part of that country.

Look what just came out of the cocoon, and look what it brought with it (sure wasn't sent by Russian rocket).

The plan calls for restoring 7 million acres of bee habitat in the next five years. Numerous federal agencies will have to find ways to grow plants on federal lands that are more varied and better for bees to eat because scientists have worried that large land tracts that grow only one crop have hurt bee nutrition. 

It's Monsanto's fault?

The plan is not just for the Department of Interior, which has vast areas of land under its control. Agencies such as Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation will have to include bee-friendly landscaping on their properties and in grant-making.

That part of the plan got praise from scientists who study bees.

If it didn't the government grant would have been withdrawn.

‘‘Here, we can do a lot for bees, and other pollinators,’’ said University of Maryland entomology professor Dennis van Englesdorp, who led the federal bee study that found last year’s large loss. ‘‘This I think is something to get excited and hopeful about. There is really only one hope for bees and it’s to make sure they spend a good part of the year in safe, healthy environments. The apparent scarcity of these areas is what’s worrying. This could change that.’’

University of Montana bee expert Jerry Bromenshenk said the effort shows the federal government finally recognizes that land use is key with bees.

Then we are all finished.

‘‘From my perspective, it’s a wake-up call,’’ Bromenshenk wrote in an e-mail. ‘‘Pollinators need safe havens, with adequate quantities of high-quality resources for food and habitat, relatively free from toxic chemicals, and that includes pollutants as well as pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.’’

Berenbaum praised the plan for not laying the problem or the solution just on agriculture or the federal government. ‘‘We all got into this mess and we’re going to have to work together to get out of it,’’ she said.

Why am I being collectively blamed for something I opposed from the start?

The administration proposes spending $82.5 million on honeybee research in the upcoming budget year, up $34 million from now.

For a problem that they -- once again -- either contributed to or created.


GMO crops as the culprit? 

Never mentioned, nor were the bats.

Well, as the geese migrate it is time to get cooking.


"Forest Service sees hope in battle against bat disease" Associated Press  May 21, 2015

ST. LOUIS — Officials with the US Forest Service are cautiously optimistic that a new treatment may help bats survive a disease known as white-nose syndrome that has killed millions of bats.

Another Holocaust™!

About 60 brown bats found with the disease last fall were successfully treated and released back into the wild Tuesday at the Mark Twain Cave complex near Hannibal, Mo.

‘‘While more research is needed before we know if our current discovery is an effective and environmentally safe treatment for white-nose syndrome, we are very encouraged,’’ said Michael T. Rains, director of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory.

National Wildlife Research Program leader Monica Tomosy said at the bat release that white-nose syndrome is among the most devastating wildlife diseases in recent memory, according to the Hannibal Courier-Post.

The syndrome is named for the white fungus that appears on the bats’ noses. First detected in New York in 2006, it has killed an estimated 5 million to 6 million bats in 28 states and Canada. It was first seen in Missouri about five years ago.


I stand corrected. Government and good people on the job, and I'm so glad the situation is not as dire as some suggested. Just ignore the stink of that worse-than-a-hypocrite (what is he doing, making a gun with his fingers? That gets you suspended from his schools), although it's hard to miss it.

Even got mention of the GMOs that I missed:

"The Department of Agriculture has developed a certification and labeling program for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients. The USDA’s move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of the genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The certification is the first of its kind and would be voluntaryand companies would have to pay for it. If approved, the foods would be able to carry a ‘‘USDA Process Verified’’ label, along with a claim that they are free of GMOs. Currently, no government-approved labels certify any food as GMO-free."

I used to get excited when propaganda pre$$ brought up such things, thinking they were enlightening and talking about it; however, more often than not it is vague slop and you need to go elsewhere. I look at the supermarket shelves and assume it's all GMO or hormone $hit.

UPDATE: For some, spelling bee runs in the family

That's getting far more attention than the honeybee, sigh.