The Honey Trade - Excellent BBC podcast on honey, honey industry and the honey trade. Includes honey laundering, fake honey and the world honey market. Why what the Beekeepers Guild of Southeast Virginia does is important in preserving food safety.
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Last Updated (Friday, 26 August 2016 16:15)
Pesticides & Pollinator Decline
Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN North America, or PANNA) works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. PAN links local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society. One of PAN's current campaigns is honey bee health.
Bees have been dying off in droves around the world since the mid-1990s. First in France, then in the U.S. and elsewhere, colonies have been mysteriously collapsing with adult bees disappearing, seemingly abandoning their hives. In 2006, about two years after this phenomena hit the U.S., it was named “Colony Collapse Disorder,” or CCD. Each year since commercial beekeepers have reported annual losses of 29% - 36%. Such losses are unprecedented, and more than double what is considered normal.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:44)
Honeybees 'Entomb' Pollen to Protect Against Pesticides
Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert.
Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon – bees "entombing" or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighbouring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees.
"This is a novel finding, and very striking. The implication is that the bees are sensing [pesticides] and actually sealing it off. They are recognising that something is wrong with the pollen and encapsulating it," said Jeff Pettis, an entomologist with the US Department of Agriculture. "Bees would not normally seal off pollen."
But the bees' last-ditch efforts to save themselves appear to be unsuccessful – the entombing behaviour is found in many hives that subsequently die off, according to Pettis. "The presence of entombing is the biggest single predictor of colony loss. It's a defence mechanism that has failed." These colonies were likely to already be in trouble, and their death could be attributed to a mix of factors in addition to pesticides, he added.
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Last Updated (Tuesday, 21 June 2011 14:48)
Removing Bee Stings: Speed Matters, Method Doesn't
(expanded from an article published 1996 in The Lancet 348:301-302)P. Kirk Visscher, Ph.D.
Richard S. Vetter M.S.
Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521 Scott Camazine MD Ph.D
Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16802
Background Conventional advice on immediate treatment of honey bee stings has emphasized that the sting should be scraped off, never pinched. The morphology of the sting suggested no basis for this, and such advice is likely to slow down removal of the sting.
Methods The response to honey bee stings was assayed with a measurement of the size of the resulting sting weal. Injection of known quantities of venom demonstrated that this is a good measure of envenomization.
Findings Weal size, and thus envenomization, increased as the time from stinging to removal of the sting increased, even within a few seconds. There was no difference in the response to stings which were scraped or pinched off after two seconds.
Interpretation These data suggest that advice to patients on the immediate treatment of bee stings should emphasize quick removal, without concern regarding the method of removal.
To read the entire article, click here.
Last Updated (Friday, 26 August 2016 16:17)
New Honey Bee Viruses Identified
From CATCH THE BUZZ
A 10-month study of healthy honey bees by University of California, San Francisco scientists has identified four new viruses that infect bees, while revealing that each of the viruses or bacteria previously linked to colony collapse is present in healthy hives as well.
The study followed 20 colonies in a commercial beekeeping operation of more than 70,000 hives as they were transported across the country pollinating crops, to answer one basic question: what viruses and bacteria exist in a normal colony throughout the year?
The results depict a distinct pattern of infections through the seasons and provide a normal baseline for researchers studying a colony – the bee population within a hive – that has collapsed. Findings are reported in the June 7 issue of the Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS ONE)
The study tracked 27 unique viruses that afflict honey bees, including four that previously were unknown and others proposed as causes of the Colony Collapse Disorder that has been wiping out colonies for the past five years, according to senior author Joe DeRisi, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF.
To read the complete study, click here.
Last Updated (Friday, 26 August 2016 16:17)
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