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 Post subject: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:36 pm 
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Pesticides are blamed.

In a related story, my dog barked when I put her outside last night.


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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:05 pm 
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I appreciate your correlation, KGB.

Typical of the article and the craptastic understanding that some people have of pesticide use. While it isn't entirely impossible (or even improbable) that a fungicide applied to control a disease would have some negative impact, it is very clear that Pettis has a very poor understanding of what exactly a pesticide is and how an all consuming term like that can be misleading.

Once again: an insecticide is always a pesticide; a pesticide is not always an insecticide. Sigh. It can be a fungicide, herbicide, algaecide, etc. :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:04 pm 
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......

Lets move beyond GMO-pesticide-herbicide mechanisms. That so many people are cranked off about the collapse is the main data point. It is real. Really, it is.

This is a serious problem.

I see a, "you're all morons" response; which does not address reality.

This is the wrong answer.

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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:40 pm 
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Don't misunderstand me. Colony collapse seems to be a real problem. Pesticides are a possible explanation among many, and may not be the best explanation. But it is as predictable as that a dog will bark that pesticides will be blamed in any article on colony collapse disorder.

It's not like pesticide use has suddenly ballooned over the last twenty years. Quite the contrary. But I'll entertain the possibility that some novel pesticide has a stronger chronic effect than its acute toxicity would suggest, or that there is some change in pesticide use pattern that increases honeybee exposure -- but while these are possible, I consider them unlikely, and insist on some actual evidence.

Bees dying and people use pesticides are dots too distant to connect comfortably by themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:57 pm 
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I think we are not so far off on our thoughts and interpretations.

I think there is a bacterial or viral issue going on; the cycle of death is way too biological in origin.

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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:05 pm 
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What is the "correct" population density of bees?

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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:39 pm 
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There really is not... In the sense of the wild. These bees are not wild.

A comparison is if we had cow herd exploding disorder.

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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:55 pm 
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The article does give one metric that may actually mean something. It claims a colony normally loses 10% of its population over the winter, but that the figure recently has often been 30% to 50%.


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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:47 pm 
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KGB wrote:
The article does give one metric that may actually mean something. It claims a colony normally loses 10% of its population over the winter, but that the figure recently has often been 30% to 50%.


But I think that metric is actually off what could normally be expected. It will vary by region as well and I think in more northern climes, well taken care of colonies still expect 20-30%, so you have media/geographic fallibility in representing what happens. Yes, CCD is very, very real and worrying.

My problem with the notion of always leaping to pesticides first is it often distracts from what the reality is. It absolutely can contribute, no doubt. But is it, is the real question. It is all too easy to look that way and then see potential for lawsuits and an evil, corporate entity to blame - something that altogether fits with today's anti-corporate mindset. The reality of the matter is that without pesticides there's a whole lot less crop for bees to pollinate. Less crop means less economic return for beekeepers as well.

Beekeepers also use miticides in the colonies to control Varroa, something that is relatively new on a universal basis. So are the beekeepers killing off their own colonies is as plausible as blaming the guy with the crop. Varroa levels are rising and to be honest, based on what I hear from my coworker that is an Apiary specialist, his good managers seem to be having a whole lot less problems than his bad managers. On top of that, as a group, beekeepers don't seem to have interest in dealing with reality (well, not to tar them all, but a significant and vocal chunk). We had local guys trying to blame imidacloprid locally for colony decline two years before it was registered and in widespread use.

I'm inclined to lean to the biological aspect as well, or a combination of factors involved such as virus+Varroa+X. At the same time KGB is correct that there has been a shift in the chemical classes and thus nature and mode of action of the insecticides commonly used. The old OPs and OCs are largely gone, banned not because they're dangerous but because they are perceived to be dangerous and have been lobbied out of use. So we're now into the neonicotinoids in a substantial way and it is thought that they have a sublethal effect that the older chemistries didn't. THe problem with that notion is that it has been tested for, either initially by the companies, then funded by the companies but done independently at research stations (AAFC/USDA) or universities. When neither of those found problems, the beekeepers cried foul because they were funded by industry :roll: So it was done with government grants and no industry 'collusion'. Same result. East coast, north central states, prairie region, France, etc. all the same result. There is no detectable sublethal effect. But never let it be said that the anti-pesticide industry didn't get what they wanted in eliminating the older chemistries.

So it's nice that Pettis sees pesticides as a possibility and I wouldn't discount that. Checking his credentials they far surpass my own, yet here we stand with a lead USDA researcher not understanding the difference between an insecticide and a fungicide. That is problematic, particularly if they haven't geared their research to look at fungicides (which as I understand it, they have not). Maybe there is something to that mechanism, but suggesting an increase in 'pesticide' use is to blame is grossly oversimplifying it and I would expect much more from the USDA than that.


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 Post subject: Re: More colony collapse disorder
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:42 pm 
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I like kicking dead horses.

Not that us Canadian and US regulators and people that think about what is going on have any impact with some of the readers; there are others that are on the fence; and we have have folx who will hate anything coming from a any federal agency; -- will conclude. ----

We have a massive disconnect in understudying. Who does what when. Sorry - we have left the idea that the articles in the constitutional as it deals with day to day law. EPA and FDA and USDA work together; and then EPA holds all the cards. Understand before blame, please.

Another - get over it. It is done. It was done in the mid 18th century and is still not being 'fixed' as you wish.

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