Honeybees are disappearing

Mushroom Beehives Could Be The Solution To Colony Collapse (Video)

March 6, 2016 - Life without bees isn’t life at all. Seriously, have you considered just how empty supermarkets would be if the tiny, bumbling insects went extinct?

Since the 1980s, bee populations have diminished dramatically. At least 61 culprits – from viruses to pesticides – have been blamed, but scientists are still groping for answers.

One culprit in particular – the mite – is thought to be a major contributor to colony collapse. Because the varroa destructor mite’s life is so short-lived, it has been able to evolve and develop resistance to pesticides that have been previously able to control it.

Thankfully, a solution to the catastrophe may already exist. It just took a mushroom expert and a scientist to discover it.

Remember Paul Stamets, the guy who holds the patent that could destroy Monsanto? After partnering with an entomologist, he discovered that a certain type of mushroom can protect bees from viruses, pesticides, AND mites!

He set out to test this theory by launching a research project which was backed by the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Department. Eventually, he was able to confirm that compounds in certain mushrooms boost a bee’s immune system.

His research also concluded that mushrooms on certain trees frequented by bees in the Pacific Northwest can protect the insects from viruses. That’s not all: the mushroom nutrients also help bees break down harmful pesticides and chemicals.

Clearly, mushrooms are magical in more ways than one. Stamets’ next step was to figure out how the fungi could help protect bees from the mites.

The mushroom expert teamed up with Washington State University entomologist – and beekeeper – Steve Sheppard to test his theories. Together, they have been exploring the idea that mushrooms might be able to protect bees from the harmful parasites.

One mushroom specifically, the Metarhizium anisopliae, appears to be able to kill the varroa mites without hurting the bees.
Stamets and Sheppard are now testing beehives that contain the mushrooms to determine if they do, in fact, work as a natural protection for colonies.

The duo are doing this by dropping chunks of cardboard dusted with finely ground powder from the mushroom into standard bee boxes. In order to keep the hive orderly, the bees rip out the clutter and, in effect, dust themselves in the potentially mite-killing compounds.

Presently, they are working with one of Washington state’s largest beekeeping operations.

The results have yet to be determined, but many are hopeful that the Metarhizium anisopliae is the long sought-after solution to colony collapse.

Said Stamets: Nature leads us to solutions if we connect the dots, are open minded and think creatively.

Could The Mushroom Save The Honeybee?

Published on Aug 18, 2015

Paul Stamets and Steve Sheppard, two scientists in Washington state, team up to save the honeybee from colony collapse disorder. They’re investigating an unconventional remedy: the mushroom.
Alarming news again on SOTT today:

Pesticides change bees' choice of wildflowers and stop them learning how to extract nectar,link:
Collateral Damage: Bees die in South Carolina Zika spraying

There's been some collateral damage in the fight against Zika - millions of honeybees in South Carolina.

News outlets report that Dorchester County officials have apologized for killing the bees when the county failed to notify local beekeepers about mosquito spraying last weekend.

Four travel-related cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in the county northwest of Charleston. Aerial mosquito spraying operations were conducted Sunday morning.

Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply in Summerville lost more than two million bees. Company co-owner Juanita Stanley says the farm "looks like it's been nuked." Andrew Macke, a hobby beekeeper, says he lost thousands of bees.

The county usually notifies beekeepers before it sprays for mosquitoes. Officials say Sunday was the first time spraying had been done from the air.
Source: http://mashable.com/2016/10/02/hawaii-bees-endangered-list/

7 bee species listed as endangered for the first time in U.S.

By The Associated Press
2016-10-02 06:42:58 UTC

HONOLULU — Federal authorities on Friday added seven yellow-faced bee species, Hawaii's only native bees, for protection under the Endangered Species Act, a first for any bees in the United States.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the listing after years of study by the conservation group Xerces Society, state government officials and independent researchers. The Xerces Society says its goal is to protect nature's pollinators and invertebrates, which play a vital role in the health of the overall ecosystem.

The nonprofit organization was involved in the initial petitions to protect the bee species, said Sarina Jepson, director of endangered species and aquatic programs for the Portland, Oregon-based group.

Jepson said yellow-faced bees can be found elsewhere in the world, but these particular species are native only to Hawaii and pollinate plant species indigenous to the islands.

The bees face a variety of threats including "feral pigs, invasive ants, loss of native habitat due to invasive plants, fire, as well as development, especially in some for the coastal areas," Jepson told The Associated Press.

The bees can be found in a wide variety of habitats in Hawaii, from coastal environments to high-elevation shrub lands, she said. The yellow-faced bees pollinate some of Hawaii's endangered native plant species. While other bees could potentially pollinate those species, many could become extinct if these bees were to die off entirely.

Hawaii-based entomologist Karl Magnacca worked with Xerces on much of the initial research. It has taken almost 10 years to get to this point, he told the AP. "It's good to see it to finally come to fruition," he said.

The bees "tend to favor the more dominant trees and shrubs we have here," he said. "People tend to focus on the rare plants, and those are important, that's a big part of the diversity. But the other side is maintaining the common ones as common. (The bees) help maintain the structure of the whole forest."

Magnacca added that there are a lot more rare insects that deserve protection. "It may not necessarily be appropriate to list them as endangered, but we have this huge diversity that we need to work on and protect here in Hawaii," he said. "There's a huge amount of work that needs to be done."

The bees are critical for maintaining the health of plants and other animals across the islands, said Gregory Koob, conservation and restoration team manager for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Honolulu.

There is no designated critical habitat attached to the listing, he said, but the protection will allow authorities to implement recovery programs, access funding and limit their harm from outside sources. All federal agencies must consult with the Fish and Wildlife service when interacting with endangered species.

"As an animal, it can't be taken or harmed or killed by individuals," Koob said. "Any research that is done needs a permit from Fish and Wildlife Service unless it's done by a state agency."

Koob said that if the bees were removed from ecosystem, the plants that they pollinate would likely not survive.

"Those plants are not only food and nesting habitat for the bees, but they also provide habitat for other animals," he said. "It's the web of life."

Friday's listing finalized the protection of 10 animal species in Hawaii, the seven bees along with the band-rumped storm-petrel, the orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly and the anchialine pool shrimp. It also added 39 species of plants native to Hawaii.

The rusty-patched bumble bee, found widely across the continental United States, is also being considered for protection.

bold, mine
Also on SOTT now (from Caleb Jones, Phys.org):

Similar info in different presentation from other source (Justin Gardner, The Free Thought Project):

They knew all along but kept it secret:


According to their own studies, Syngenta's thiamethoxam and Bayer's clothianidin were found to cause severe harm at high levels of use, although the effect was lessened when used under 50 parts per billion (ppb) and 40ppb respectively, the Guardian reports.

However, as Greenpeace notes, the research "assumes a very narrow definition of harm to bee health and ignores wild bees which evidence suggests are more likely to be harmed by neonicotinoids."

That means the findings may "substantially underestimate" the impact of neonics, Greenpeace said.

Still, the studies are significant not just for the admission of risk to bees, which help pollinate three-quarters of the world's food supply, but also because they expose the agrochemical industry's disregard for environmental and food security concerns, experts said.

"If Bayer and Syngenta cared about the future of our pollinators, they would have made the findings public. Instead, they kept quiet about them for months and carried on downplaying nearly every study that questioned the safety of their products. It's time for these companies to come clean about what they really know," Greenpeace's Ben Stewart told the Guardian.

My neighbor showed me a trick for my hives for taking care of mites and moths that cause decline. He made boxes that fit underneath the hives that hold a thin layer of coconut oil. The mites and moth larvae fall into the oil and suffocate unable to climb back out. They have been able to completely remove all pests this way and the bees are not affected at all by the oil trays. Here is pic of our harvest this fall. It is as thick as molasses and is some of the best honey I have ever had.


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New research on natural selection and honey bee health

An interesting paper by heavyweight apiology researchers Professor Peter Neumann and Dr Tjeerd Blacquière is being published in the mainstream, peer reviewed research journal Evolutionary Applications.

The paper recommends major changes to beekeeping practises in order to address various health issues such as varroa, and in particular a switch to using natural selection rather than tightly controlled breeds of bee. Topics covered include…
◾Problems of inbreeding among conventional queen breeders (they particularly stress this issue, favouring natural mating by the bees and allowing natural selection; the practice of drone culling is singled out for criticism)
◾Treating bees with miticides and ‘horizontal’ transmission of pests by splitting colonies rather than allowing natural swarming hinders natural selection of a sustainable host/parasite balance
◾Chemical treatments and opening hives disrupt the complex ecosystem inside the hive (it’s not just about the bees, it’s the delicate balance of atmosphere and microbiome … or the bien as we’d say)
◾High colony density in apiaries aiding pathogen transmission
◾Migratory beekeeping problems
◾Feeding with a monodiet of low quality sugar solution

I find it remarkably notable that it reads exactly like a list of natural beekeeping principles, but by mainstream scientists, doesn’t it?

Entitled The Darwin cure for apiculture? Natural selection and honey bee health the paper can be viewed in preliminary form here as a pdf (if this link becomes obsolete, search for its permanent DOI: 10.1111/eva.12448 )
pdf link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.12448/pdf
There used to be a decent number of people in my country (Montenegro) gaining homemade honey and selling it 10e per jar, but it's very difficult to find a good one now.
Prices are going up as well.
Beekeepers from small town called Mojkovac claim they have total lost over 50 000e because of viruses inflicting the death of bees and many of them are leaving honey production.
Unfortunately, I witnessed this firsthand: last year in spring a new microwave tower was erected on the hillside, opposite the hamlet where our summer house is situated. By end of summer the honeybees disappeared from all the hives situated in it's array. No more frogs either.

And I got skin rashes each time I stood there longer than a few hours.
Fresh alarming news on SOTT today (from Reuters): https://www.sott.net/article/344128-Hundreds-of-North-American-bee-species-facing-extinction-due-to-pesticide-use

More than 700 of the 4,000 native bee species in North America and Hawaii are believed to be inching toward extinction due to increased pesticide use leading to habitat loss, a scientific study showed on Wednesday.

The Center for Biological Diversity's report concluded that of the 1,437 native bee species for which there was sufficient data to evaluate, about 749 of them were declining. Some 347 of the species, which play a vital role in plant pollination, are imperiled and at risk of extinction, the study found.

"It's a quiet but staggering crisis unfolding right under our noses that illuminates the unacceptably high cost of our careless addiction to pesticides and monoculture farming," its author, Kelsey Kopec, said in a statement.

Habitat loss, along with heavy pesticide use, climate change and increasing urbanization are the main causes for declining bee populations, the study found.

Experts from the center reviewed the status of 316 bee species and then conducted reviews of all available information to determine the status of a further 1,121 species. The center said the species which lacked sufficient data were also presumed to be at risk of extinction.

Among the native species that are severely threatened are the Gulf Coast solitary bee, the macropis cuckoo bee and the sunflower leafcutting bee, which is now rarely seen.

Last month, the rusty patched bumble bee was listed by federal authorities as endangered, becoming the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain such protection.

Bees provide valuable services: the pollination furnished by various insects in the United States, mostly by bees, has been valued at an estimated $3 billion each year.

The center's Kopec noted that almost 90 percent of wild plants are dependent on insect pollination.

"If we don't act to save these remarkable creatures, our world will be a less colorful and more lonesome place," she said.

Comment: Bayer and Syngenta knew: Ag giants discovered in secret tests that pesticides severely harmed bees
Same news via a different source (Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project) and with some new details:

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