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Old 10-08-2007, 10:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bumble bee could suffer the same fate as honey bees!

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=3701043
Flight of the Bumblebee? Experts Think So
Worsening Plight of the Bumblebee Worries Scientists Already Scared About Honeybees

By JEFF BARNARD Associated Press Writer
GRANTS PASS, Ore. Oct 8, 2007 (AP)

Looking high and low, Robbin Thorp can no longer find a species of bumblebee that just five years ago was plentiful in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon.

Thorp, an emeritus professor of entomology from the University of California at Davis, found one solitary worker last year along a remote mountain trail in the Siskiyou Mountains, but hasn't been able to locate any this year.
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Virus May Be Cause of Honeybees' Deaths

He fears that the species Franklin's bumblebee has gone extinct before anyone could even propose it for the endangered species list. To make matters worse, two other bumblebee species one on the East coast, one on the West have gone from common to rare.

Amid the uproar over global warming and mysterious disappearances of honeybee colonies, concern over the plight of the lowly bumblebee has been confined to scientists laboring in obscurity.

But if bumblebees were to disappear, farmers and entomologists warn, the consequences would be huge, especially coming on top of the problems with honeybees, which are active at different times and on different crop species.

Bumblebees are responsible for pollinating an estimated 15 percent of all the crops grown in the U.S., worth $3 billion, particularly those raised in greenhouses. Those include tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.

Demand is growing as honeybees decline. In the wild, birds and bears depend on bumblebees for berries and fruits.

There is no smoking gun yet, but a recent National Academy of Sciences report on the status of pollinators around the world blames a combination of habitat lost to housing developments and intensive agriculture, pesticides, pollution and diseases spilling out of greenhouses using commercial bumblebee hives.

"We have been naive," said Neal Williams, assistant professor of biology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. "We haven't been diligent the way we need to be."

The threat has bumblebee advocates lobbying Congress to allocate more money for research and to create incentives for farmers to leave uncultivated land for habitat. They also want farmers to grow more flowering plants that native bees feed on.

"We are smart enough to deal with this," said Laurie Adams, executive director of the Pollinator Partnership. "There is hope."

Companies in Europe, Israel and Canada adapted bumblebees to commercial use in the early 1990s, and they are now standard in greenhouses raising tomatoes and peppers.

Demand is growing as supplies of honeybees decline, especially for field crops such as blueberries, cranberries, watermelon, squash, and raspberries, said Holly Burroughs, general manager for production for the U.S. branch of Koppert Biological Systems Inc., a Netherlands company that sells most of the commercial bumblebees in the U.S.

One new customer is Tony Davis of Quail Run Farm in Grants Pass. He has long depended on volunteer bumblebees to fertilize the squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplant he grows outdoors for sale in growers' markets. When he started growing strawberries in greenhouses this year to get a jump on the competition, he bought commercial bumblebee hives to fertilize them.

"Without bumblebees, I would be out of business. I don't think I could hand-pollinate all these plants," he said.

Scientists hoping to pinpoint the cause of the nation's honeybee decline recently identified a previously unknown virus, but stress that parasitic mites, pesticides and poor nutrition all remain suspects.

Unlike honeybees, which came to North America with the European colonists of the 17th century, bumblebees are natives. They collect pollen and nectar to feed to their young, but make very little honey.

A huge problem facing scientists is how "appallingly little we know about our pollinating resources," said University of Illinois entomology Prof. May Berenbaum, who headed the National Academy of Sciences report.

Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, worries that on top of pesticides and narrowing habitats, disease could be the last straw for many of the bee species.
"It definitely could all come crashing down," he said

On the Net:

More on bumblebees: http://www.bumblebee.org
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Old 10-20-2007, 07:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bumble bee could suffer the same fate as honey bees!

I have read that tests were done on the bee's and it was discovered that the bee's ammune systems were broken down severely by ingesting GMO corn, that had anti-insect material written into the corn's DNA.
I won't touch GMO if I know that's what it is, but it's nearly impossible to stay away from it these days.
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bumble bee could suffer the same fate as honey bees!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tropicallvr View Post
I have read that tests were done on the bee's and it was discovered that the bee's ammune systems were broken down severely by ingesting GMO corn, that had anti-insect material written into the corn's DNA.
I won't touch GMO if I know that's what it is, but it's nearly impossible to stay away from it these days.
I agree . If one buys proccessed foods containing corn or corn byproducts the chances are great that they will be ingesting some of the modified material . The question is to whether these products can effect humans as well and to whether these practices will take a different route before the fate of the bees (or peeps for that matter) has come to pass.
We benefit greatly from our modifications (under conventional selective crosses )but our sciences are now evolving and being put into practice far too quickly and long before we understand the longterm effects.
Perhaps this is an extreme view ,I do understand the importance of moving forward ,or perhaps either my barley or hops or both are modified .
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bumble bee could suffer the same fate as honey bees!

I thought Bumblebees would do better with the decline of Honey Bees but I guess not. In my garden in France there are many Bumblebees and the pollinate everything , Honey Bees are almost absent because of Varoa. Here in Bethesda there seems to be a few Bumblebees but no great numbers and they have disapeared now , I would have thought they would not have died off until the first frost. I was hoping that Bumblebees would be fertilizing my Red Thalia at the moment but there seems to be no pollinating insects about.
Thanks for the information on the Bumblebees , I'll keep an eye open for more info in the future.
Later
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bumble bee could suffer the same fate as honey bees!

Bumble Bees look fine here in the East Coast of N.C. Ihave not seen but a honeybee or two and rarely. will they come back again?
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bumble bee could suffer the same fate as honey bees!

Here we have different species both of honey bees and bumble bees - don't see much of the commercial type of bee, but solitary bees and huge black bumble bees (bigger than the small hummingbirds) are around the citrus flowers.

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Old 12-10-2007, 01:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Unhappy Re: Bumble bee could suffer the same fate as honey bees!

its like 70 degrees outside today! it was the same yesterday! you all need to plant more trees...greenhouse effect. plant more nanas its warm enough. this is crazy. i went out to smoke this morning( dont smoke in the house) and was chased around my yard by a scitzo honey bee. i saw one honey bee yesterday, that one was compliant when i told him to buzzz off( pun was intended). this weather is the freakiest ive ever seen. it was almost like the bee didnt know what to do, it just flew in circles and then darted at me. this went on for almost 10 minutes. i really do think that there is something that is affecting them ( virus, residue from pesticides, freakish weather patterns, lowered imune systems, something) i have never in my lifetime had a honey bee chase me.
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