sgilman at netheaven.com
Thu Jun 14 11:01:32 EDT 2001
Subject: Re: Beekeepers can't compete with Chinese
From: "Bill Shoemaker" <wshoemak at inil.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 08:18:06 -0500
>Another problem is the Bee mite which has decimated the
>honey bee population.
>Some estimates put it at 80% decimated.
>Here's a web site:
There are two mites which have decimated the wild honeybee population; the
varroa mite and the trachea mite. Both are natural enemies of honeybees.
I've heard actual estimates of wild honeybee losses due to these two mites
as high as 95%. Crop spraying has had little to nothing to do with this
The USDA is in the process of releasing honeybees which are resistant to
these mites but it will take years for the commercial industry to recover.
And if the market for honey doesn't improve, it may not recover. And the
wild bees will only recover very slowly. That's why it's important for
growers to become more knowledgeable about alternative pollenizers, such
mason bees, and support their local populations.
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
Univ of Illinois - St Charles Hort Research Center
I'm not sure it is accurate to say crop spraying has nothing to do
with the susceptibility of bee populations to the mites. A more holistic
point of view looks at the overall ecological impacts of pesticides,
GMO's, and other agro-biocides that have been let loose in the
environment. Bees, in their role of crop pollinators, may well be the
Number One "non-targeted species" and after all, over 90% (!!) of applied
pesticides miss their targets entirely. When you consider the research
showing that bees pick up Sevin in pollen, for example, and bring it back
to the hive where it can kill colonies outright, then it follows that the
state of overall health for pollinators has been severely impacted,
making them susceptible to the mites. Under this view, pests (the mites)
are a symptom, not the cause.
More information about the Market-farming