Monday, October 11, 2010

And Another Thing! (CCD New York Times Article)

And another thing! Why did 40% of their control die after 14 days. Each group was comprised of young worker bees 3 days old or younger (they can't fly at that age and are easy to handle). Honey bee workers normally live 30 to 60 days. Why did 40% of their control die after 14 days! Why is the difference between having one infestation over both at the same time only 10% after a 14 day period.

The article claims a hive can survive if they only have one of either the fungi or the virus. Their control should have had a survival rate above or around 90%, the virus and fungi separately should have been higher as well. It's hard to bounce back when more than half of the hive dies off after 14 days, worker bees aren't even foraging until day 12. What we're seeing here is clearly all of the groups have been contaminated with what ever causes CCD and the presence of the virus and or fungi just make it worse.

A friend sent this article to me earlier today.
What a Scientist Didn't Tell the New York Times About His Study on Bee Deaths

The Times  reporter who authored the recent article, Kirk Johnson, responded in an e-mail that Dr. Bromenshenk "did not volunteer his funding sources." Johnson's e-mail notes that he found the peer-reviewed scientific paper cautious and that he "tried to convey that caution in my story." Adds Johnson: The study "doesn't say pesticides aren't a cause of the underlying vulnerability that the virus-fungus combo then exploits...."
Underlying cause of bee deaths still unclear

Dr. Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with the health group at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that while the Bromenshenk/Army study is interesting, it fails to ask the underlying question "Why are colonies dying? Is it because they're getting weak? People who have HIV don't die of HIV. They die of other diseases they get because their immune systems are knocked off, making them more susceptible." In other words, pesticides could weaken the bees -- and then the virus/fungus combination finishes them off. That notion, however, is not explored in the new study.
The EPA has based its approval of neonicotinoids on the fact that the amounts found in pollen and nectar were low enough to not be lethal to the bees -- the only metric they have to measure whether to approve a pesticide or not. But studies have shown that at low doses, the neonicotinoids have sublethal effects that impair bees' learning and memory. The USDA's chief researcher, Jeff Pettis, told me in 2008 that pesticides were definitely "on the list" as a primary stressor that could make bees more vulnerable to other factors, like pests and bacteria.