Saturday, May 12, 2007

Are We Importing Bee Diseases?

I am wondering if the same thing has happened to the bees that happend to the cats and the dogs in America! That the bees were poisoned by an imported product that was contaminated in some way and that the unknown substance poisoned the bees. Are beekeepers using imported substances that are introducing toxins into the bee hives - whether they know it or not? The worker bees disappear and no other insects are going near the honey, which means the moths and insects smell something... a fungus... some toxic substance. Maybe the bees did not bring the toxic substance into the hive collecting pollen. Maybe the beekeepers unwittingly sprayed it or added it to the hive, killing their own bees, in the same way the cats and dogs were poisoned by a deadly toxic substance in their food. The question is: Are beekeeping supplies polluted with fungus or other contaminants through which the beekeepers are unwittingly kiling off their bee hives?

Symptoms of a collapsing hive are:

• Too few bees to maintain a brood in a colony
• A hive composed mostly of young adult bees
Bees are reluctant to eat food provided by a beekeeper

Centre for Ecological Apiculture
- Did you know that the Centre for Ecological Beekeeping is the only Institution in Germany where bees are being cept solely in top-bar-hives and allowed to draw out their combs themselves without frames, in contrast to bees from beekeepers who need to get along with plastic combs in plastic hives, wood frames, artificial wax or foundation and wire or even need to live in socalled "skyscaperhives" together with up to six (!) queens per colony?

- Did you know that food (meat from pork and poultry, honey) imported from China is sometimes so contaminated with ecologically harmful chemicals and animal medicine like Chloramphenicol in honey, that the EU needs to stop the import of animal produce, especially honey from time to time?

- Did you know that most beekeepers, also from certified organic apiaries (according EU-organic rule, USDA organic program, standards of most organic associations) let their queens grow up from worker larvae ("grafting") although it is senseless from the point of view of the spirit of the beecolony, for which it is selfevident that a queen is only a good queen which has grown up from the beginning in a special round queencell with special queen fodder (gelee royale)? Organic Beekeeping

The damage done by pesticides
Huang's family has been raising bees since his grandfather's time. One year, Huang's grandfather came upon a swarm of wild bees near their family orchard and began to raise the bees as his own. That same year, the orchard yielded loads of fruit. Huang said that it must have been due to the pollination by the bees that the orchard could produce such a large yield of crops. The family thus began to look upon the bee as their mascot and decided to set up their own apiary.

In Taiwan, beekeepers and orchard farmers now maintain a mutually beneficial relationship. On the surface, it seems that beekeepers, who get to collect bucket after bucket of honey, are the beneficiaries. But actually, orchard farmers have their share of the interest too because it is mainly due to the services of bees as pollinators that they can enjoy good harvests.

However, it took some time for local farmers to recognise the contributions of bees. Farmers in Taiwan used to use a lot of pesticides to kill insects. The pesticides succeeded in reducing the number of insects but also caused a decrease in yield. Farmers even found many misshapen fruits resulting from incomplete pollination. It was then that they realized the importance of insect pollination.

Bees are sensitive to any aberration in the environment. Usually they die immediately after exposure to pesticides. Even if they survive and struggle to get back to their nests, the bees that guard the entrances will drive them away. If pesticides are brought back to a hive by poisoned bees, the whole colony will be infected, causing beekeepers to lose the whole hive.

In order to minimize the damage caused by pesticides to bee colonies, Taiwan's Council of Agriculture has enacted a new regulation stating that new pesticides applied to nectar-bearing plants must undergo the Honeybee Acute Contact Toxicity test. Nevertheless, there are still farmers who use illegal pesticides on nectar plants. Sometimes harm is also done by bees visiting non-nectar plants. Since bees can fly as far as five kilometers to gather nectar, chances remain for hives to become poisoned even if they are placed in a pesticide-free location. Hence, pesticide poisoning remains a big headache for beekeepers. At present, beekeepers have nowhere to go to file complaints about losses they suffer under such circumstances.

Fortunately, since most fruit growers have come to recognize the contribution of bees, they refrain from using insecticides during blossoming season or let beekeepers know when they are going to apply pesticides so that beekeepers can move their hives away. Mutual respect between beekeepers and fruit growers is a good way to diminish the damages arising from pesticide poisoning.

The misuse of pesticides has greatly affected bee colonies globally. According to an investigation report released by the United Nations, the world is witnessing a sharp decline in the production of bee products as a result of pesticide poisoning. Actually, pesticides not only kill bees and other insect pollinators--they also destroy nectar-bearing weeds. Their impact on the environment is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

In 1989, pushed by local beekeepers, the government of Taiwan finally instructed the Silkworm and Bee Improvement Station of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry (now the Miaoli District Agricultural Improvement Station) to supervise and provide guidance to the beekeeping industry on the island. An official unit was finally assigned to be in charge of related affairs. Since 2001, local beekeepers have been able to apply to farmers' associations for membership and to enjoy the same benefits as those extended to people engaged in farming, animal husbandry, and aquaculture. Honeybees Make a Comeback

Stress and the honeybee - Vetinary Drug Residues - Chloramphenicol in bee products - Microsporidia in honey bees - Microsporea may be fungi

Keywords: Bee medication, pollen booster, pollen substitute, long burning bee smoker, liquid bee smoke, chloramphenicol, antibiotics, dumping honey, Nosema ceranae, microsporea, intestinal parasite, imported bee diseases, bee import risks.