[permaculture] [Fwd: [SANET-MG] Re. Colony collapse disorder/Nosema ceranae]

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Sun Jul 29 22:09:26 EDT 2007

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[SANET-MG] Re. Colony collapse disorder/Nosema ceranae
Date: 	Sun, 29 Jul 2007 15:08:44 -0700
From: 	Matthew Shepherd (Xerces Society) <mdshepherd at XERCES.ORG>
Reply-To: 	mdshepherd at xerces.org

Misha asked if I was here. Well, I am, lurking quietly in the shadows of
this listserv.

To be honest, I don't follow every turn of the CCD story. I don't
consider myself a honey bee expert, and as an organization, The Xerces
Society doesn't work on honey bee conservation. The focus of our
pollinator conservation efforts has been native pollinators, promoting
protection of them and the creation of habitat for them. Of course,
native bees and honey bees share a lot of territory and habitat
needs, so much of the work we do to encourage habitat
creation/restoration projects, reduce the impacts of pesticides, and
support legislation benefits all bees. It just that we don't
specifically work on honey bees.

That said, I have followed the general flow of the CCD debate. I doubt
that CCD has a single cause. My feeling is that there may be a number of
factors -- pesticides included -- that have combined to the drastic
results that we've witnessed. There also seems to be a trend that CCD
mainly affects migratory hives, so it's possible that stress from this
lifestyle may be a contributing factor that makes the bees more

Apart from that, I have little to say. The team of scientists
investigating CCD contains huge knowledge and experience, far beyond
anything I have on honey bees. These folks are the true experts. If
anyone can work it out, they are the ones to do it.

There are also alternative views and opinions, as there should be in any
worthwhile debate, and some dubious information and reporting -- blaming
it all on cell phones being one example. Some people say this is just
one more dip in the cycle of bee populations, that CCD is just the
latest name for what has happened before, and that honey bees recovered
in the past so why all the fuss this time? Personally, I think that CCD
is something serious and we need to find out what has caused it.
Unfortunately, this will take some time, probably too much time from the
perspective of a beekeeper who has lost half or more of his or her hives.

The honey bee will remain the most important pollinator of crops. Yes,
native bees can make a great contribution, but it does have to be in the
right place, a farm that contains or is close to adequate habitat. I
wouldn't be surprised to learn that the farms of many SANET readers are
more likely to support strong native bee populations. But for many
(most?) farmers, the scale of their operations and the farming methods
mean that the honey bee, with its ability to be trucked in and placed in
the crop for a limited period, will remain the principal pollinator.

As a foot note, the California almonds got their bees, as have orchards
elsewhere across the West and elsewhere. So, let's find out what's cause
the losses of honey bees and work to make the environment safer and
better for all bees, but also let's not forget that while the media
hoopla was raging and "crisis" was yelled, it appears that crops have
been pollinated.


*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>

More information about the permaculture mailing list