Photo credit: krish4u
The buzz around organically maintained beehives seems to be "Epidemic? What epidemic?" (That and maybe "Someone should tell the Queen to start laying off the royal jelly, if you know what I mean.") While record numbers of bees in North America and Europe are vanishing en masse in a worrying trend experts have dubbed "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD), organic beekeepers are reporting no losses.
Sharon Labchuk, a longtime environmental activist and part-time organic beekeeper, was quoted in a recent report at Red Ice Creations:
Because pollinators such as bees, birds, and bats affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production, increasing the output of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide, the decline in bee populations could potentially collapse the food chain and spell the beginning of an ecological apocalypse.
I'm on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list. The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies.
Theories abound, naturally—answers, not so much. "We've been pushing them too hard", Dr. Peter Kevan, an associate professor of environmental biology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, told Canada's CBC. "And we're starving them out by feeding them artificially and moving them great distances." Could we be pushing commercial bees too far? Kevan suggests CCD might be caused by a potent combo of parasitic mites, pesticides, and genetically modified crops. :: Infowars
See also: :: Who is Killing Nature's Precious Bees?, :: Where Did the Bees Go?, :: Beekeepers Utilize Internet to Fight Mystery "Disorder", :: Not With a Buzz But With a Whimper, :: Colony Collapse Disorder Arrives in the UK, and :: Mark Morford on the "Honeybee Apocalypse"