Thursday, May 3, 2007

Honeybee colonies dying off

Donald Trump, in NBC's Apprentice LA, had a task where the teams had to don beekeeper clothing and harvest honey at a California farm. They actually got stung.

But in early May 2007, US beekeepers have been describing "Colony Collapse Disorder," that so far has cost 25% of the colony hives. The problem is international, going as far as Brazil.

Bees pollinate over 90% of our crops, and honeybees account for about 70%. This could result in serious food supply problems by the end of the year if not reversed.

Earlier rumors related to cell phone signals, but now some sort of fungus or parasite is suspected. Even the idea of some kind of deliberate contamination (a 9-11 type fear) has not been ruled out (just as with pet food the problem is not yet resolved).

The Walt Disney documentary "Secrets of Life" in the late 1950s documented the life cycle of the honeybee and ant, both social insects (I remember the bizarre "honey cask ants").

Update: 5/16/2007

Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN) reports research indicating that recently implemented insecticides may be compromising honeybee immunity, allowing novel viral infections.

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