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back to article Häagen-Dazs battles honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder

Ice cream manufacturer Häagen-Dazs is stumping up a $250,000 research grant to university researchers in California and Pennsylvania to probe the cause of "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD) - the unexplained sudden disappearance of millions of honeybees which has affected hives around the world since 2006. As we reported last year …

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Black Helicopters

Dont mention the unmentionable...

Its nothing to do with genetically modified crops. Nothing I tells you. Just because massive trials and commercial planting of GMOs rolled out during a similar time frame, remember correlation != casuation.

We dont need pathetic nature to run the biosphere! Monsanto can provide all the seeds we need from a much cleaner more profitable source; their labs.

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Unhappy

@Dont mention the unmentionable...

It has nothing to do with the GM crops. It is the increased levels of Monsanto's weedkiller that the Genetic modification allow the plant to withstand. More pestacides on the crop = more pesticide in the air, on the land and in the rivers, didn't we go through this with DDT or was I just having a bad dream for the whole of the seventies.

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OH MY GOD

Tell me where the IT angle is BEFORE I STICK PENCILS IN MY EYES.

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cor
Coat

The bees is all ...

.. in my honeypot

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Pirate

agreed with first poster stuntman........

Have heard this problem talked about quite a bit, but why does no-one seem to question GM cropping programs.

They are starting to give the go ahead on GM crops here in Oz. Note that we do not seem to be affected by the problem yet, hives are sent overseas regularly.

Yet is the key word.

I used to have no problem with GM foodstuffs, but then again, a lot of people thought asbestos was geat for many years.

Trouble coming.

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@stuntman

I'd love you to actually explain the theory behind your sarcastic post hoc ergo proctor hoc statement. I don't see how changing the sequence of genes in corn seeds effects the bees. Maybe I'm blind to the fact that the bees must somehow become genetic mutant flying corn seed.

Bloody hippies again, kicking off about genetic modification... tsk when will they learn, if it wasn't for short sighted (pun intended) people like you then vitamin A deficiency wouldn't be taking the sight of a quarter of a million children every year.

the ignorant, the foolish, those sitting on a moral high ground, you're all fair bait when you come up with ludicrous claims like this.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: OH MY GOD

"Tell me where the IT angle is BEFORE I STICK PENCILS IN MY EYES."

It's in the Biology section, if you look. Oh, I must be too late, you've gone and done it... ooh, should I ring a doctor?

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Anonymous Coward

Also remember to not mention...

... that its spread nothing to do with the small industry of mobile bee-keepers traipsing from crop-to-crop over thousands of miles. Certainly no possibility there of infecting local populations.

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Boffin

IBPV

The Israeli acute paralysis virus has been found to be associated with some of those, check e.g. the Journal of General Virology. It's not clear yet whether the colonies get infected 'cos they're collapsing, or they're collapsing 'cos they're infected.

The GMO link pointed out is interesting, does anyone know if it's been researched at all?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Sarah Bee

Should you be declaring an interest in this article, Sarah?

:)

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Black Helicopters

another unmentionable

i agree with stuntman..

experimental GM crops are a likley cause in my opinion.

it would seem that regardless of what the problem really is, it'll surley be found to be something that is not the fault of corporate business or our authorities..

no surprises there!

i've also heard people saying that they think that Chemtrails may be killing the bees.

Chemtrails are the common name for the prolific and intentional dumping of 'unknown stuff' out of aircraft into our skies.. this dumping is categorically denied by our govenments and military (so it couldn't possibly that, because it don't exist), but if you know anything about physics and contrails, you know that chemtrails are very real. just look up into the sky sometime and take note.

who knows what damage that these chemtrails are causing.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @ Sarah Bee

I couldn't possibly comment.

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Go

Ask Dr. Robert Paxton @ Q.U.B.

He'll give you good theories on why their numbers are dwindling...just don't tell him I sent you, in case he gets hundreds of emails on the subject! Poor wee fluffy Hymenopterans :'(

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Alien

@Karl Lattimer

"I don't see how changing the sequence of genes in corn seeds effects the bees. "

And I guess you don't see how using stronger pesticides as described by Joe Stalin could affect the bees either?

And y'know there were people who didn't think that smoking could possibly cause cancer...

Or that Thalidomide could be responsible for birth defects....

etc...etc...etc...

I'll tell you what, you PROVE that changing the sequence of genes in corn seeds effects absolutely nothing in our ecosystem and then I'll be willing to accept it. But guess what, you can't. You can only point at a pile of studies (all of which are totally impartial of course and couldn't possibly be manipulated or false) and these don't study all possible external factors and I'll bet bee activity wasn't even considered.

When it comes to modifying our ecosystem, I'd rather stick with the hippies than trust corporations that have no interest besides making themselves and their shareholders rich.

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Africanised honey bees

Does it bother these? These "killer" bees actually provide more honey than boring ordinary bees and they're rock hard. Plus, they pollinate plants. Same with some flies, wasps and other insects. And the wind. Etc.

Oh, and GM crops means you use fewer pesticides, not more. But carry on ranting, there's sure to be a climate change article soon.

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Mercury!

It's obviously the mercury in the vaccinations that are causing bee autism. That's what's killing 'em!

Or maybe its all those Wi-Fi hubs the farmers are using nowadays. Those emit *radiation*, don'tcha know?

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I know! It's power-lines, is what it is. Sure, power-lines have been with us since forever, but it's only lately that people have been sending data over them. That's like mixing the worst of power-lines and Wi-Fi!

Cataclysm, I tells ya!

</sarcasm>

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Bronze badge
IT Angle

Genetics and pesticides

@Karl Lattimer

An earlier message made at least one connection painfully clear: one of the aims of modifiying crop genetics (as well as improved yields etc.) is to enable crops to withstand more chemical treatments: so herbicides designed to kill weeds can be used more heavily (because the weeds are becoming resistant) for example. There is also the matter of allergies: one theory for the occurrence of modern wheat allergies is that humans have not evolved to handle modern wheat versions, even though they have evolved over thousands of years; there is a real concern that the sudden changes in protein structures of genetically modified plants could be a problem, not just to humans of course. This is not to say this is a cause; but as the cause is unknown and there is some coincidence, one should be a little more circumspect before bellowing out one's ignorance. I seem to recall some research showing real (negative) effects on certain butterfly populations with certain genetically-modified crops, I regret that I have got no details

So, before you get so aggressively rude, please do some research, keep your mind a little more open and your neck a little less red.

There is an IT angle, if not direct: all of the genetic analysis would be impossible without IT. IT provides the capability, the tools to do this work. Perhaps one should have a discussion on IT ethics.

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Unhappy

Chemtrails!?!?!?

Oh...

My...

God...

Now we have the chemtrails loons in on the act.

Listen, you twits have been nattering about "chemtrails" for decades, and the bees are only dying now. Let's face it, you have NO connection between "chemtrails" and CCD, you just wanted a chance to spread your paranoid-delusional rantings to the world.

Get therapy, or get medication, but please get off the 'net.

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Sam

Ok, I give up..

..what the hell are "unauthorised bee treatments"?

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Unhappy

Monoculturing

Monoculturing whether you do it with potatoes, bees or GM crops is bad idea, when will they ever learn.

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Interesting point...

The beeb make an interesting point here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7240456.stm) apiarists in the US are mostly professionals who move their hives around frequently (oooo-er), which could lead to stressed bees (O_o). In the UK apiarists are mostly amateur, and keep them in one static location, probably leading to heppier bees.

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IT Angle

Probably yours .. never mine

Why do IT folk think that they have a moratorium on thought ?

In fact they are generally sad f**ks with little to no experience outside their chosen fields but because their field is so monumentally boring they spend vast amounts of their time trawling the underbelly of the interweb (or the 'net if I was also wanting to cause undue pain and stress on an innocent apostrophe) reading other weird and wacky takes on the issues of the day.

They then give forth on their chosen hobby-horse with predictable attacks on the mental state of the other poster and maybe throw in a "HA you lose, you mentioned Hitler!"

Its not a game, there are no do overs, no gimmes and no hacking in RL. If ever their was a valid argument for a precautionary principle to be adopted, there it is.

There is no IT angle at all, but why let that stop you? Mines the Nomex Winter Jacket, I will get it myself.

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Black Helicopters

It is a CIA - LSD inspired plan to control the Bees as part of the GWoT!

The Bees would be used to form a perimeter around the Glorious God Fearing Commie-Hating USofA to protect the USofA from the evil Terrrrrisssts...

I thought that was obvious to everyone...

The experiment just didn't work right, but there's collateral damage with everything...

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POZ

And nobody even mentioned

Mobile phones?

All that interference to the magical bee-homing fandoodles?

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Silver badge
Unhappy

@Kebabster

It is slightly weird that you are asking for PROOF that your speculation is wrong. How about I speculate you're a member of the lizard alliance, now YOU prove that I'm wrong.

Of course, about the only fact you apparently know about crops is that some are genetically modified. Therefore, anything that happens to crops MUST be because of genetically modified crops, right? Anything bad, of course.

For the moment, nobody knows what is causing CCD. GM have been proposed, stress, cellular phones, whatever. Everybody is pointing the finger at something. Maybe it's you guys from the lizzard alliance...

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IT Angle

Killer beez

I've had honey made from Killer Bees, they're barf doesn't taste as good as the honey barf from regular bees.

While I do not think the GM crops are the issue. The thought that they might be using more pesticides on these crops which are designed to handle it better - could be a cause.

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Paris Hilton

Since 2006

Probably the introduction of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD thats done it

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Anonymous Coward

GM crops and CCD

I'd've thought it'd be relatively easy to find a correlation between GM crops and CCD: plot the locations of one against the other, or do American farmers only use GM crops these days?

Of course, you'd hve to have full data and hopefully a control, but it should be easy enough to get some sort of indication.

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Sam

unauthorised bee treatments

unauthorised bee treatments?

Anyone? I'm imagining tiny hypodermic syringes with some dodgy Olympic stuff in them...

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Alien

Wake up, peeps!

Talk about missing the obvious... !!!

It's caused by crop circles. Everybody knows that a bee flying into a crop circle is the apiarian equivalent of an alien abduction. And let's face it, bug-eyed aliens are gonna prefer bug-eyed bees to ugly humanoids any day.

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to Stuart Van Onselen

i'm used to attitudes like you display, and still stand by what i said.

chemtrails COULD be causing decline in bee populations.

chemtrails are very real despite claims they don't exist, and since we don't know what's being dumped, it's reasonable to think that it's not always the same 'stuff' being dumped. perhaps some new compounds are being used that are causing dammage.

we didn't know forsure what was being dumped 40 years ago, and still don't.

people who have analysed chemtrail fallout say that there are so many organic and chemical substances in there that they can only name a few of them.

you can think what you like of me, but i can think for myself and actually care about my family and our environment enough to speak out. knowing that some people (like you) out there will call me a 'loony'. shows how much you know!!

don't you care about what effects these chemtrails may have?

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Unauthorised Bee Treatments

Apart from the possibility that there IS such a thing as colony collapse disorder (still the subject of some debate, though it's accepted that there is some evidence) the biggest worry for most beekeepers is the blasted Varroa mite.

There are no good remedies for Varroa, most are only partly effective and the mites are becoming resistant. Integrated Pest Management is the buzzword but it's a serious pain to do: applying different treatments at different times of year and having to do things like put drone comb in the hive then take it out and freeze it (varroa mites grow on the brood and prefer drone to worker cells) . That helps you to manage the infestation levels but not eliminate the parasite.

Some of the allegedly more effective treaments tend not to be authorised for use in food production by regulatory authorities. And of course, the main reason for keeping bees is honey production for resale.

So, yes, there are unauthorised bee treatments.

I don't claim expert levels of knowledge here, but I do keep bees and I have tried to keep up to date with my reading on the subject.

There is no shortage of doomsayers predicting the eventual disappearance of honeybees in substantial tracts of the world. The European varieties are all susceptible to Varroa, the Asian ones that aren't cant live in climates like most of North America, Europe etc.

Given the evil temper of my current crop of bees, I reckon they'd take on the Africanised lot and give 'em a seeing-to. Hard-working bastards too, they were out in force yesterday despite it being February in freezing fog, I have no idea where they are finding all the pollen at this time of year.

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Coat

Oh dear

"use of unauthorised bee treatments"

Don't tell me they've started doing acupuncture with their stings - bad idea, li'l friends, very bad idea.

Mine's the striped one with the wings...

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Silver badge
Alert

Industrialization of bee- keeping

That seems to be the one thing that's never mentioned as probable cause.

Once upon a time, bees were kept by bee-keepers in clusters of hives that sat in one place.

Then somebody had the clever idea of mounting bee hives on trailers and carting them around to pollinate crops on a rental basis.

Bees navigate by environmental cues, such as position of the sun and terrain. Suddenly uprooting the bees on a weekly basis disrupts the cues, since the hive is no longer where it was when the bees last left the hive. Plus, the effects of constant shipping (being locked in the hive for days, through temperature swings, coupled with unfamiliar jostling) puts the bees under a stress they never encounter naturally.

Look at it from a personal perspective, Every week or so, at random, you wake up to find your home in a completely different area. Now you have to figure out which way to go to get to work, and hope you can remember the way home again afterward! How stressful do you think you'd find that situation?

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Coat

@Industrialization of bee-keeping

Now that has to be the most reasonable explanation I've read on this board so far. Bee suicide?

Although I'm leaning toward allergies from GM modified crops, as well. I suffer from allergies, I need to carry an epi-pen (because of bees, of all things!, so I sort of get that, too.

Of course, all that means is the shysters will be out hanging shingles that read "Bee Psychiatrist." I wonder how many idiots would fall for that one?

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@ Kebabster

"Or that Thalidomide could be responsible for birth defects...." Hmm not exactly the same as changing a gene sequence, looks like another false dichotomy to me... You really should learn how to forge valid arguments, you can't compare DNA changes in a food stuff to a chemical acting directly upon the body, they are not alike.

"And I guess you don't see how using stronger pesticides as described by Joe Stalin could affect the bees either?" FYI - Monsanto actually genetically modified the crops to use FEWER pesticides, and FEWER growth agents to produce better crops... The reason for this, pesticides cost big bucks, especially in the volumes they were using. The idea was to cut costs by giving them a genetic resistance to insects.

So Joe Stalin obviously didn't think about his statement, then you come along and believe it... Then use a couple of logical fallacies to attempt to prove the improvable and improbable series of events.

Sure its easy to blame corporations for killing the bees, , but seriously the genetic research we're talking about is ideal, feed the world, save the children kind of stuff... There are some weird things in the GM world (like burgers grown to size/shape and protein content to order) for the most part its good research creating better technology for a brighter future (oh dear I'm starting to sound like a salesman)...

Modifying corn to make it easier and safer to grow (goodbye DDT etc...) is good for everyone. Its the idiotic hippies that think its wrong because they don't see the benefits, they only get scared and spread a lot of FUD.

The benefits of GM far outweigh any perceived evils of the technology, and it doesn't kill bees!

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At last someone is taking this seriously

Forget about global warming, if the bee population continues its current decline we're in real trouble. No honey bees in the US by 2035, as the article says bees have a vital role in providing 30% all our food; were not hust talking fruit and vegetables here its ALL our food. CCD has been found all over Europe, Australia and America. This is a huge issue that many governments are just ignoring.

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Current research suggests...

Sorry to plss on the bonfire of the tinhat 'oh, it's GM crops' brigade (actually, I'm not. You're all mental), but the suggestion is so far that the bees' immune systems completely collapse, leaving them wide open to each and every infection out there. Current theories focus on a fungus or other infection. And show me how GM crop=> immune system meltdown??

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Pirate

@Karl Lattimer

"you can't compare DNA changes in a food stuff to a chemical acting directly upon the body, they are not alike."

Thats not entirely true, DNA encodes for different proteins, so if you change the DNA of a plant you change the proteins in that plant.

One example of DNA changes making plants toxic is Bt cotton, where the cotton plant has been modified to express proteins from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis.

These proteins are toxic to insects and protect the cotton from being eaten.

Perhaps varietys of Bt cotton or Bt maize are expressing these proteins in their pollen which i believe bees eat as food, perhaps that is whats killing the bees?

I think starlink, a variety of Bt maize, is banned for use in human foodstuffs because the type of Bt proteins it uses arent digested as quickly as other types of Bt proteins and there was felt to be a risk of a small number of people developing an allergy to it if it was allowed into human food.

And whilst this sort of GM crop may reduce the use of pesticides there is also the herbicide resistant type of crop that allow you to dump Glyphosate (Roundup) on to your crops to kill off the weeds, the crop will survive, I doubt this does much to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals used.

Dont get me wrong, I think there could be great benefits to humanity from GM crops, like the golden rice i think you mentioned in an earlier post, which could help in poor areas where vitamin A deficiency is a problem, but poor people dont have the money to pay for such things so arent going to be a target maket for the likes of monsanto.

Personally id like to see the genes from fireflys put into trees and moderated by the trees night time respriation so the trees glow at night, you could use them instead of street lamps, it would be awesome, you'd save loads of electric too.

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Gates Horns

Glowing trees

Awesome.

To all the lizards....buzz off.

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Anonymous Coward

@Karl Lattimer

"The idea was to cut costs by giving them a genetic resistance to insects."

And perhaps such a resistance to insects is causing problems for the bees, which IIRC are insects

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Stop

@Karl Lattimer

"FYI - Monsanto actually genetically modified the crops to use FEWER pesticides, and FEWER growth agents to produce better crops..."

I do not think you are familiar with Roundup (a herbicide). "Roundup Ready" (TM Monsanto) crops are sold with an eye to farmers spraying as much roundup as possible on the crops to keep all but the crop quite dead, none of the marketing or users ever say anything about reducing use of the product.

I watch early morning TV before going to work (all the commercials aired that early here are aimed at farmers) and get inundated with Monsanto commercials in the midwest.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah! The GM crops, eh? Problem: SOLVED.

Honey bees and a lot of other creatures are having weird troubles, irregardless of our opinions of GM crops or inhumane bee-treatment. We are, you know, in the middle of a mass extinction. Frogs are vanishing, newts, salamanders, lots of birds en route to extinction, etc. Rather than unproductive bitching and moaning wouldn't it be lovely to frame this issue in a larger context? Because in terms of species survival things seem to be getting worse as time goes by.

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