“Bees are cows without fences”

I guess stealing bees is a thing. Beekeepers rent out their hives to farmers all over the country, and they actually make more rental income than honey income. From time to time, they have to deal with thieves making off with their bees. Also, I guess Weather.com has a long form section?

Bees are unique when it comes to agricultural property. When almonds get stolen by nut-nappers (yes, the actual term for nut thieves), the farmers still own the trees and can rely on the crop next year. If farming equipment gets stolen, it’s a hassle to replace, but at least the farmers still have their crops. But bees are everything to beekeepers. They are the employees, the equipment and the product. Honey is stored in the hive, as are the eggs that will populate the hive in the future. Without beehives, a beekeeper has lost his livelihood.

“Bees are cows without fences”

It’s the pesticides stupid

Boston Globe Magazine going long on research into what’s killing all the bees.

There’s a certain genius to pesticides known as systemics. Unlike traditional pest-killing chemicals, which are usually sprayed on crops, lawns, and trees, systemic pesticides render a plant toxic to bugs from the inside out. Seeds are treated with pesticide before they’re sowed (or sometimes the soil is pre-treated). When the plant grows, the poison essentially grows with it, spreading to all parts of the tissue and killing any snacking corn borers, rootworms, aphids, or stink bugs.

The big systemic pesticides these days are called neonicotinoids, which are derived from nicotine and target insects’ nervous systems. They have exploded in popularity over the past decade, thanks to a perception that they are both safer and more effective than the pesticides they replaced. The vast majority of corn planted in the United States today is pre-treated with neonicotinoids, the seeds colored like candy. So are other major crops such as soybeans and canola.

The wind, not bees, pollinates corn, but bees can collect corn pollen. And neonicotinoid-laced pollen blows onto nearby flowers and crops, exposing honeybees to the poison. Neonicotinoids are also used on plants that bees do pollinate, including cucumbers and watermelons. Unlike older pesticides, neonicotinoids can linger in the soil for months or even years.

It’s the pesticides stupid

What a produce section looks like without bees

I am terrified of swarms of bees, but also of no more bees. A Providence Whole Foods recently showed customers what the produce section would look like if there were no more bees to pollinate food producing trees and plants. I actually would have thought the impact would be greater, but 52% of the products is still a big deal.

One of every three bites of food comes from plants pollinated by honeybees and other pollinators. Yet, major declines in bee populations threaten the availability of many fresh ingredients consumers rely on for their dinner tables.

To raise awareness of just how crucial pollinators are to our food system, the University Heights Whole Foods Market store temporarily removed all produce that comes from plants dependent on pollinators. They pulled from shelves 237 of 453 products – 52 percent of the department’s normal product mix.

whole foods produce with bees

whole foods produce without bees

What a produce section looks like without bees

Can someone please do something about the bees

Bees are important because they pollinate fruits and vegetables and if you like fruits and vegetables, you should worry about why all the bees are fucking dying.

Precisely why last year’s deaths were so great is unclear. Some blame drought in the Midwest, though Mr. Dahle lost nearly 80 percent of his bees despite excellent summer conditions. Others cite bee mites that have become increasingly resistant to pesticides. Still others blame viruses.

But many beekeepers suspect the biggest culprit is the growing soup of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that are used to control pests.

While each substance has been certified, there has been less study of their combined effects. Nor, many critics say, have scientists sufficiently studied the impact of neonicotinoids, the nicotine-derived pesticide that European regulators implicate in bee deaths.

The explosive growth of neonicotinoids since 2005 has roughly tracked rising bee deaths.

I also like this guy who would have been insulted to be called an environmentalist previously, but gee, maybe they were on to something now that all his fucking bees are dying. You think?

Experts say nobody knows. But Mr. Adee, who said he had long scorned environmentalists’ hand-wringing about such issues, said he was starting to wonder whether they had a point.

Of the “environmentalist” label, Mr. Adee said: “I would have been insulted if you had called me that a few years ago. But what you would have called extreme — a light comes on, and you think, ‘These guys really have something. Maybe they were just ahead of the bell curve.’”

Can someone please do something about the bees

50,000 bees in the wall

You have to go to the link to watch the video, but it’s pretty interesting seeing how they remove bees from a wall (as opposed to exterminating them).

“I’m not really terrified of the bees… I just remained calm, and I figured they wouldn’t bother me too much… I got stung once, but I was more curious about how big the hive actually was. I figured it was just a small clump of 1,000 or so,” Chen said.

After his investigation, he spent a month on the road, traveling for work. When he returned, Chen found time to call a professional to assess the situation. He explained that he recently saw a documentary about the endangerment of bees, so he wanted to save – not exterminate – them.

He found a man on Craigslist, who goes by the name Mike Bee, who said he would safely remove the bees. He is a member of the rescue organization Backwards Beekeepers, a group that works with HoneyLove.org in order to educate the public about bees.

Via Andre Torrez and Ben Greenman who said “”Calif. Man Finds 50,000 Bees Inside Home” http://abcn.ws/N9TQJ9 I think that at that point, it’s the bees’ house.” Agreed.

50,000 bees in the wall

Semi-truck full of bees crashes

Well, this is one of my nightmares. Back in October (this tab has been around a while), a semi-truck with 25 million bees rolled over on I-15 in Utah. Releasing all of the bees. All of them. Local beekeepers arrived quickly to help collect the bees, but there was one problem.

There were two boxes per colony and four colonies per pallet, Lofthouse said. Each colony contained an average of 80,000 bees. Part of the challenge, he said, was making sure the correct two boxes were matched together. If a box that contained one-half of a colony was placed with a box that contained a different colony, the bees would attack each other, he said.

Semi-truck full of bees crashes

Zombie flies killing honeybees

DAMN IT. Come on, zombies, leave the bees alone.

The parasitic fly lays eggs in a bee’s abdomen. Several days later, the parasitized bee bumbles out of the hives—often at night—on a solo mission to nowhere. These bees often fly toward light and wind up unable to control their own bodies. After a bee dies, as many as 13 fly larvae crawl out from the bee’s neck. The bees’ behavior seems similar to that of ants that are parasitized—and then decapitated from within—by other fly larvae from the Apocephalus genus.

Zombie bees via ebertchicago.

The Atlantic has an article about a parasite found in cat poop that might be doing something along the same lines to humans, and then a good rundown of other similar parasites.

What’s more, many experts think T. gondii may be far from the only microscopic puppeteer capable of pulling our strings. “My guess is that there are scads more examples of this going on in mammals, with parasites we’ve never even heard of,” says Sapolsky.

Zombie flies killing honeybees