[permaculture] Bee death syndrome

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Tue Feb 13 14:08:52 EST 2007

------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[SANET-MG] Bee death syndrome any ideas?
Date: 	Tue, 13 Feb 2007 09:00:35 -0800
From: 	Matthew Shepherd (Xerces Society) <mdshepherd at XERCES.ORG>
Reply-To: 	mdshepherd at xerces.org

There has been a considerable discussion and exchange of information and
opinion on the beekeepers listserv, Bee-L, about the die back of honey
bee colonies. I've pasted in below the text of a posting from Jerry
Bromenshenk, of the University of Montana-Missoula, who is one of the
leading researchers looking into the situation. His email is the best
summary of what's happening that I've seen.

It's also worth pointing out that this is a disorder that only seems to
affect honey bees. I don't know if it affects feral honey bees (has
anyone looked?). It doesn't seem to impact native bees. They have plenty
of problems of their own, but this is one that appears, so far, to have
missed them.


_Posted by Jerry Bromenshenk on Bee-L, 1/18/07_

Yesterday, a group of us formalized a working group and named the
current bee loss syndrome being seen in the U.S. As of this time, I have
reports that major losses have been seen in the U.S., starting in the
spring in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Its still ongoing
in Florida, with major losses occurring in Oklahoma, and a number of
reports from California over the last few days.

We are no longer calling this Fall Dwindle Disease -- its not a fall
phenomenon when looked at across the nation, its a rapid collapse (often
in less than 2-3 weeks), and it may or may not be a disease in the
strictest sense. So, we're terming it Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

We, a group of researchers, extension agents, and regulatory officials
have formed a group to investigate this problem and will call ourselves
the CCD Working Group. This group represents a diverse number of
institutions including Bee Alert Technology, Inc. (a bee technology
transfer company affiliated with the University of Montana), The
Pennsylvania State University, the USDA/ARS, the Florida Department of
Agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. We're
planning on adding Eric Mussen to the group to represent California.

*CCD Symptoms*
Based on initial visits to affected beeyards, the CCD drew up a list of
the following symptoms, typical of the disorder:
1) In collapsed colonies,
    a. The complete absence of adult bees in colonies, with no or little
build up of dead bees in the colonies or in front of those colonies.
    b. The presence of capped brood in colonies,
    c. The presence of food stores, both honey and bee bread
       i. which is not robbed by other bees, and
       ii. when attacked by hive pests such as wax moth and small hive
beetle, the attack is noticeably delayed (days, weeks)
2) In cases where the colony appear to be actively  collapsing
    a. An insufficient workforce to maintain the brood that is present
    b. The workforce seems to be made up of young adult bees
    c. The queen is present
    d. The cluster is reluctant to consume provided feed, such as sugar
syrup and protein supplement

Initial results from the online survey (http://www.beesurvey.com
<http://www.beesurvey.com/>) has revealed that beekeepers think that
this started at least 1-2 years ago, in its present form. As this list
has mentioned, similar syndromes have been reported in the U.S., dating
back to 1896. It certainly looks identical to the disorder reported by
Oertel in 1965 (from bee losses in 63-64).

Finally, if you've experienced this, please fill out the survey -
regardless of how convinced you are that you know what caused it in your
bees. Too many factors, too few returns to sort this out without the
help of the nation's beekeepers.


*The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation*
The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization that
protects the diversity of life through invertebrate conservation. To
join the Society, make a contribution, or read about our work,
please visit www.xerces.org <http://www.xerces.org/>.

Matthew Shepherd
Director, Pollinator Conservation Program
4828 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR 97215, USA
Tel: 503-232 6639 Cell: 503-807 1577 Fax: 503-233 6794
Email: mdshepherd at xerces.org <mailto:mdshepherd at xerces.org>

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