well, crap
April 3, 2007 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Where have the bees gone? Bee keepers all over the U.S. report that huge numbers of bees have mysteriously disappeared. This could be "a perfect storm" for pollination services, as bees are responsible for pollinating almost a third of our diet. via.
posted by cubby (16 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: posted previously -- jessamyn

bee rapture?
posted by longbaugh at 6:06 AM on April 3, 2007

Not just a recent thing, either. You'd think in five years they could have managed to make a few more bees. Or however that works. [NOT APIARIST]
posted by chrismear at 6:08 AM on April 3, 2007

so long, and thanks for all the pollen
posted by ruddhist at 6:09 AM on April 3, 2007

This has been seriously bumming me out.

Mitigating factors: namely that every winter a large number of bees in each hive die out. No one knows yet the extent of these die-offs, and what proportion is natural, or elevated.

This same thing is happening in Europe, Germany and England have both put out reports to this effect: "Uh, the, uh, bees are, uh, not around..."
posted by From Bklyn at 6:09 AM on April 3, 2007

posted by ursus_comiter at 6:11 AM on April 3, 2007

We'll just bring in immigrant bees to do the work the locals don't want to do.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:15 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

How about the killer bees?

Also, a phrase I would not be sad to see banned from MeFi: "perfect storm"
posted by DU at 6:22 AM on April 3, 2007

The "perfect storm link" shows that some of us are at least sticking with genetic modification to solve the problem!!

"It may be that we will find genes in the Africanized hybrids that will be valuable in dealing with this problem."
posted by melt away at 6:22 AM on April 3, 2007

well, crap
posted by cubby at 6:22 AM on April 3, 2007

This is more of a crisis in the media than in the beekeeping community, because as chrismear noted, bees have been struggling for years. Go look at sci.agriculture.beekeeping, you'll notice there's no discussion of the impending beepocalypse.

What's hurt bees is modern animal husbandry. We've bred bees to produce more honey and be more docile, with less regard to their resistance to parasites and disease. This has begun to turn around, largely in response to the devastating varroa mite, and breeders are paying more attention to the durability of the bee.

The larger problem, in my opinion, is that beekeepers have relied on a cycle of antibiotics and pesticides to control threats to the hive, instead of practicing better management in the first place and destroying sick colonies instead of limping them along with chemicals until the honey harvest. Meanwhile, the parasites develop resistance to the treatments, which makes the situation even worse in the long run.

These are trends that negatively affect all of agriculture--emphasizing production almost exclusively in breeding, and indiscriminate overuse of antibiotics and pesticides. It's just that bees are a little more fragile than cows and pigs.
posted by Nahum Tate at 6:30 AM on April 3, 2007

I blame Monsanto.
posted by Balisong at 6:30 AM on April 3, 2007

The bees are all gone because I caught them in my nets.
posted by srboisvert at 6:31 AM on April 3, 2007

I'm a hobbiest beekeeper and I've never had a hive that lasted longer than three years. I don't medicate my hives, so my bees usually abscond (beekeeping word for "leave") due to the Varroa mite or drought condidtions in late summer.

My relatively unscientific view is that humans have screwed this up a bit by going to all kinds of chemicals in the hive to ward off parasites and microbes and not let genetics play more of a hand in building up more resistant queens.

On preview, I side with Nahum Tate...
posted by mania at 6:32 AM on April 3, 2007

Killer bees are doing just fine.

posted by redhanrahan at 6:33 AM on April 3, 2007

Simpson, you diabolical...
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:35 AM on April 3, 2007

shit... the bee rapture joke was made in the previous thread.

Oh well, I'll put my ode to bees up again - make it twice in two deleted threads...

An Ode To Bees

Flying! Yellow and black,
fear the honey gathering hordes,
using stealth (and stingers),
they persist in buzzing,
in peoples faces,
causing motorway pile ups.

Bees! Bastards! Killer bastards!
Hewing through the innocent drivers,
stabbing with their stingers,
they have an electrical charge,
to steal pollen.
Thieving bastard killer bees!

Bees make honey, sometimes.
They dance the boogaloo,
communicating through ritual movements,
like, I don't know, Greek people,
though mostly they just fly around a bit.


Bees! Vanishing from the Earth,
Like the dolphins and mice,
In the Hitchhiker's Guide,
Do they have a message for us?
Yes! "Stop stealing our fucking honey".

- longbaugh (age 12)
posted by longbaugh at 6:37 AM on April 3, 2007

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