Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

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arb0526
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Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by arb0526 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:34 pm

Federal officials say there are a number of factors that lead to colony collapse, and there is no direct link between that and insecticides. But a new Harvard study says there is, especially with one particular pesticide called imidacloprid. The pesticide is part of a class called neonicotinoids, which are commonly used on farms and home gardens.


As Seen on WRAL - TV 5, Wednesday 10 April 2013

http://www.wral.com/bee-colonies-collap ... /12327567/

beeramm
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Re: Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by beeramm » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:12 pm

Interesting and disconcerting article. Thanks for posting.

Kurt Bower
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Re: Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by Kurt Bower » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:30 am

I certainly understand the concern. As for the cause, all we have is speculation at this point. Last spring there was a resurgence of the honeybee and swarming. Now we have losses that can not be explained. I do believe it is real. I have spoken with other beekeepers that are sound in practice and have observed hives strong in the spring only to be gone a few weeks later.
I would be interested in hearing from the forum as to their own experiences this year.

Kurt

mike91553
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Re: Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by mike91553 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:24 am

I have a theory about the major loss cause in this area. Nobody including myself wants to admit he let his bees starve but it happens. This spring with early warm weather got the bees going strong in Jan and then with the cold March they burnt up their stores very fast. I try to stay on top of things with my bees but must admit that I was too late with the feed on a few hives. I suspect many would rather blame their losses on some unknown cause than to admit this.

Jacobs
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Re: Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by Jacobs » Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:28 pm

I have been lucky this year. We lost 1 club hive at the Ag Center in late winter. As best I could tell, it was an unexplained queen failure. I lost a nuc about the same time. It was marginal going into winter, and I probably should have combined it, but I hoped to over-winter it and have an easy queen to find for school and group presentations.

I left about half of the honey on my hives that I could have taken. I also stored a lot in the frames in my chest freezer. I was able to use it to feed bees and to give to David next store to boost his light hives. If I had not done this, several would probably have starved with large brood build up and the cold period we had in late spring.

I used Mite-Away quick strips at half doses on most of my hives in late summer/early fall, and in full doses in really strong hives. I wanted to knock down mite loads going into winter and have time to make sure the hives were queenright after the treatment.

pholcomb
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Re: Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by pholcomb » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:34 am

Randy Oliver of Scientific Beekeeping has posted a lengthy analysis of this past years bee losses on his website. The article is worth taking the time to read.

Here's the direct link to the pdf:

http://gallery.mailchimp.com/5fd2b1aa99 ... 13_opt.pdf

It's the top link on his website, http://scientificbeekeeping.com/

Paul

Kurt Bower
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Re: Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by Kurt Bower » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:14 am

I appreciate the feedback.
The article that was linked to seems to be discussing prior hive losses and does not directly discuss this year's losses.

While I have no basis for a scientific conclusion, I would like to point out the following areas of concern.

Lack of genetic diversity - most commercial queens are produced and bred and inbred for specific qualities possibly reducing desired characteristics that may relate to losses.
Poor nutrition - commercial beekeepers place their hives on mono- specific pollen sources such as almonds thus depriving them of a possible required nutrition. (hives on almonds have to be fed just to keep them from starving)
Stress - moving bees around the country from climate to climate all year has to take a toll.
Poor beekeeping in general - How many times have you (and I) told ourselves that we should have done something different after we found a deadout? Should have fed, should have treated, should have combined, etc...

I can not account for commercial losses, but smaller beekeepers should not be experiencing losses at the levels we are.

Kurt Bower
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Re: Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by Kurt Bower » Fri May 03, 2013 4:08 am


Jacobs
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Re: Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives - WRAL

Post by Jacobs » Fri May 03, 2013 5:15 am

I know there are limits to what I can do about genetic diversity in my bees, but I am having fun with the concept. The queen rearing seminars Juliana Rangel taught a couple of years ago were partially done for the purpose of getting local beekeepers and clubs to produce more queens locally. David Tarpy at NCSU has given talks and webinars about queen health, and what I take away is that by starting pockets of locally produced queens, we can gradually re-introduce more "regional" diversity of genetics.

I try and keep track of the original queen source of my hives. Splits and nucs are noted by the original hive queen source. Swarms that are most likely from my hives, but that I did not see emerge, are noted as such. Swarms I pick up that are out of the flight range of my bees are labeled with the date and location of the swarm pick up. As I move hives to other locations, I try and keep a mix of sources at home and take a mix of sources to the other bee yards. No genetic testing--just a hunch that the drones each queen produces will have slightly different characteristics that may get passed on to the next generation of queens as my bees replace them.

So far, my home seems like a good place to raise my bees and get queens mated. The established neighborhood has MANY sources of nectar and pollen for good nutrition. I am aware of several beekeepers with bees in easy flight distance for a drone congregation area. From what I have read in the articles, it looks like I have stumbled into a reasonably good set up for giving my bees a chance to survive.

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