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Bee Rapture postponed.
September 7, 2007 2:51 PM   Subscribe

CCD caused by IAPV and KBV via AU. CDMA and GSM exonerated.
posted by damn dirty ape (20 comments total)

 
About time Australia started exporting invasive species and exotic diseases. I hope those American bees are enjoying paperbark flowers down there in Florida...
posted by Jimbob at 2:54 PM on September 7, 2007


I've been having a crappy day, and taking the time to decipher that and succeeding gave me a little surge of joy. Thanks! Also, I hope they can cure it now.
posted by Kattullus at 2:54 PM on September 7, 2007


I would've guessed "no rain".
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:55 PM on September 7, 2007


No rain?
posted by basicchannel at 2:56 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bee Rapture

There is porn of it?
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:58 PM on September 7, 2007


Superfluous acronyms make me say WTF?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:59 PM on September 7, 2007


From research at PSU.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:05 PM on September 7, 2007


Like crash davis, I had my money on rain. Chocolate Rain.
posted by Tacodog at 3:21 PM on September 7, 2007


Well thank god for that. I was really worried that this might cut into my new business: Ever wanted to try calling a cell phone that has been jammed into hive? 1-900-BEE-HIVE, coming soon!

This is the one that gets me rich, I can feel it.
posted by quin at 3:30 PM on September 7, 2007


Superfluous acronyms make me say WTF?

QFT.
posted by eriko at 3:49 PM on September 7, 2007


I don't know about you all, but CCD caused me to become an atheist.
posted by psmealey at 3:53 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


QED.
posted by GuyZero at 3:53 PM on September 7, 2007


I still think that genetic collapse is a big factor in this. A single virus like this wouldn't cause such a devastating die-off if the bees were more genetically diverse.

If so, then ironically we may already have the solution. Has this plague also affected Africanized honeybees? I bet not.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:54 PM on September 7, 2007


Well, the Africanized bees have been hit intensely by the varroa mite, so separating out the two pathogens might be hard.

Also, there's the fact that they're a mite harder to study than regular bees, what with not living in nice ordered hives and attacking anyone who gets close.
posted by Malor at 4:03 PM on September 7, 2007


The following New Yorker article from a few weeks ago provides some good background information on colony-collapse disorder and the world of bee keeping in general.

Stung: Where have all the bees gone? by Elizabeth Kolbert
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 4:31 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


When this whole business hit the news a couple of months ago, it struck me as being hyped beyond all reasonable expectations. Mass famine! Half the human race wiped out! Well, not exactly.

For one thing, the majority of our food doesn't rely on insect pollinators at all. As for those crops which do, there are a large number of pollinators, many not domesticated, which can take up the load.

If there was a collapse of the domestic honeybee population, it obviously would be bad news for the beekeepers. And it turns out there are a relatively small number of crops which would be drastically affected, most notably the almond industry.

Now honey and almonds are quite tasty. I like them both. But they're not critical to survival -- unless you're a beekeeper or an almond orchard owner. And what I've noticed in the past is that these kinds of gloom-and-doom media hype-fests are often the result of some relatively small group who really do face doom-and-gloom who get some reporter's ear, and kick off the hysteria.

The problem for the almond industry is that they really cannot rely on natural pollinators, the way that potato growers do. But a lot of the reason for that is self-inflicted. It's because such a large number of almond trees are concentrated in such a small area, one piece of California. In order to get all the pollination done during the brief flowering season, then it takes a stupendous number of bees. That population of bees could not be sustained in that area year round. So to gain that yearly saturation they have to be trucked in.

If we stop relying so heavily on honeybees for pollination (and in fact, we don't rely on them anything like as much as the original hype suggested) and stop moving them around by truck, then it means the almond industry will have to reorganize -- by spreading the orchards out over a much larger area (e.g. multiple states). But that means bankrupcy for the existing farmers down in California, all concentrated in that one small area.

And the almond industry might well be responsible for a lot of this calamity, for a different reason. With more than half the honeybee population of the US being taken to one small area of California every year, any disease that does threaten the bees can spread very easily during that yearly bee convention. If the bees weren't being concentrated like that, even a deadly bee disease wouldn't be able to spread as rapidly as it seems to have.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:31 PM on September 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Steven C. Den Beste writes "I still think that genetic collapse is a big factor in this. A single virus like this wouldn't cause such a devastating die-off if the bees were more genetically diverse."

That made me remember about one documentary about the influenza virus and its infamous pandemic outbreak called "Spanish". Apparently some very accurate researched tracked one possible "birth place" of Spanish in a camp that was visited by many thousand soldiers during 1st world war. The presence of many animals for feeding purposes, including pigs, would explain a possible root of the infection. Also the presence of many different nationalities coming from most of the world would explain the pandemic distribution.

And probably there's was enough genetic difference between these humans (ok not that much, but still) ; could be that the virus is attacking one commonality of the bees that wasn't introduced by human selection.
posted by elpapacito at 4:33 PM on September 7, 2007




WTF
posted by caddis at 5:13 PM on September 7, 2007


no wonder the colony collapsed- all those chubby girls in such proximity, and the place has such paper-thin walls!
posted by Challahtronix at 8:13 PM on September 7, 2007


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