Honeybees entomb to protect from pesticides

Apr 08, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier report
Honeybee

(PhysOrg.com) -- With the drastic rise in the disappearance of honeybee colonies throughout the world in recent years there has become a large focus on the study of honeybees and the effects of pesticides on their colonies. Termed 'colony collapse disorder' in 2006, the decline in honeybees throughout the world has been attributed to everything from pesticides to disease and parasites. The loss of the honeybee population is a concern for the agricultural community, given these bees are responsible for pollinating crops worldwide.

Dr. Jeffrey Pettis, head of the Bee Research Laboratory with the US Department of Agriculture recently addressed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture in England to discuss his recent study on the honeybees.

Pettis has found that the bees are apparently able to detect the pesticide residue found in they bring back to the hive. In examining honeybee hives, they have found cells containing pollen with high levels of pesticide have been sealed off by the bees using a waxy substance called propolis. While these bees are able to sense the contaminated pollen and try to seal it off from the rest of the hive, Pettis says this attempt is only proving futile and that the findings of sealed off cells in a hive are the biggest indicator of probable colony loss.

Pettis believes the decline in the honeybees can be attributed to what he calls the “3-P principle” which represents poor nutrition, pesticides, and pathogens. While the are a contributing factor to the decline, he does not believe they are the only factor. With the increase in more intensive farming of one crop, a honeybee’s food source in an area can go from that of multiple sources to only one source, leading to poor nutrition.

Beekeepers have also been using a substance to help control pests like the varroa mite that attacks honeybees. Unfortunately, the bees have also been found to entomb pollen cells they find containing this substance, showing that in may in fact also be harmful to the .

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User comments : 5

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Chemstudent
5 / 5 (6) Apr 08, 2011
Poor little bees, they don't deserve all this trouble we're giving them.
ancible
5 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2011
It certainly seems unkind and short-sighted, but remember that without we humans a massive traumatic event will occur on this planet capable of wiping out said bees (plus all even semi-intelligent life). And long, long before any entropic heat death of the universe.

I would submit that we are their only hope at long term existence and therefore the ends justify the means...

P.s. I am only so harsh in reasoning to lift the spirits of my fellow humans and therefore accelerate our technological advances through a positive outlook. I feel their tiny, industrious pain!
mjesfahani
not rated yet Apr 09, 2011
I gave up stupid Avonex and foolish Beta Interferone 1b for MS and am using honey bees venom. Very usefull even much more that moneymaker western stupid medicines!
charldew
not rated yet Apr 11, 2011
"without we humans a massive traumatic event will occur on this planet capable of wiping out said bees (plus all even semi-intelligent life".

What event, or type of event, is this and how is the human presence preventing it?
ancible
not rated yet Apr 14, 2011
"without we humans a massive traumatic event will occur on this planet capable of wiping out said bees (plus all even semi-intelligent life".

What event, or type of event, is this and how is the human presence preventing it?


Collision with a very large asteroid, massive volcanic action, any near-complete death of flowering plants. As of right now, humans aren't preventing any of these but we are the bees only chance to get resettled upon other planets.