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back to article Brussels goes in to bat for beleaguered bees

The European Commission has launched a plan to restore bee health in response to widespread reports of increases in bee mortality. bees Is that a mite on your thorax, or are you just happy to see me? But a British boffin has warned that much of the media coverage is hype and that bees, along with all other species, have …

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Stop

Colony collapse disorder in the US..

It's hardly surprising - they tend to move their hives around a *lot* - the commercial beekeepers rent them out to farmers to pollenise their crops. So the bees get exposed to a hell of a lot more toxins and infection/infestation vectors than if they stayed in one place and anything they do have well spread to local hives as well as other commercial hives that they come into contact with.

So yes - there is an issue but nowhere near what public hysteria is imagining.

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Happy

Nothing new to see...

"to the decreasing availability of flowers.... Habitat loss is the greatest threat to wildlife including honey bees."

Yup pretty obvious, falling food = falling numbers. Save a bee, plant a (native) flower!

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the authorities...

at least publicly, seem unconcerned about CCD.

beekeepers feel differently, one i used to be able to buy honey from lost 4 of 5 hives virtually overnight.

he didn't move his around.

he thinks the varoa mite and monoculture farming could be responsible.

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Welcome

EU to combat bee mortality?

Then I for one welcome our immortal apian overlords...

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The End

"The European Commission has launched a plan to restore bee health"

I guess that's the end for bees then. They're doomed.

Hordes of EU inspectors out there checking each flower before a bee is allowed to land and collect pollen.

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I like bees

Much like global warming and other various subjects which are hyped, people hype them because they are important and without that hype large swathes of the population couldn't give a toss.

So it is done as a social manipulation tool, to draw attention to the fact it's done, to decry it makes the assumption that everyone else on the planet is as clued up and as good at critical thinking as you are. And you're an expert, so how is that going to be true?

Just because something is hyped up to be a bigger issue than it actually is in the eyes of an expert doesn't necessarily mean that the issue should be ignored.

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@ Richard 120

Yes, that's fine to a point, but it leads to attention for the noisiest, not the most worthy. Once the EC latched on to the hard precautionary principle, it made it so easy for anyone with an unproved axe to grind to get action in spades, on the basis of "Well, you never know, and you can't be too careful", instead of waiting to see what happens. This undermines the credibility of all "shouty" campaigns, regardless of merit.

Now, I'm not saying that this bee issue necessarily falls into that category, but species do undergo occasional severe reductions in numbers. What has changed is that we can see it more easily when it does because of the vast improvement of global communications. What may well be a perfectly natural process with, say, a two-hundred year cycle seems to be unusual because it is the first time we've seen it. However, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't monitor the situation and see if there is anything that might have changed, but wait-and-see is a valid response.

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Ah,

Wait and see.

Are we talking about a passive wait and see where nobody actually does anything, or the active wait and see which means scientists (who have to be paid) monitor the situation and speculate, experiment and recommend?

Because without the shouty part you end up with the former, with the shouty part you end up with the latter. As I've pointed out, without the shouty part the majority of the populace couldn't give a stuff and these are the people paying taxes, and ultimately they make the decision as to whether anything gets done about an issue or not. And by something being done I mean it being studied, with real (paid) scientists actively doing stuff (like counting bees for instance)

Should we do the same regarding climate change? I think that's been hyped and shouty. Where do you stand on that one?

How do you judge "worth" given that worthiness is a matter of opinion? Popular opinion governs worth (and you could argue vive-versa), if a cause is popular then the shoutiness gets louder.

So has the worthiness of the save the bee campaign become shouty because of popular opinion or has the issue been exaggerated from the start? My guess (and that's all it is) is that it's driven by popular opinion in this case, on account of my bias towards liking bees.

I am also not particularly keen on the resilience of species argument (humans recovering from black death etc.) if that argument was followed every time there was an outbreak of a new virus then there would most likely be very few people around today. (HIV - who cares, we've survived plagues before, we'll do it again.) It may be accurate but it doesn't actually help us evolve as a species. You could equally point to dutch elm disease, or perhaps more appropriately potato blight.

We'll survive, but at what cost? (Should we stand idly by to wait and see?)

We've already manipulated the human population to be significantly greater than would be the case if we ignored plagues, it stands to reason that we need to do the same with the species we depend upon, hence industrialised farming.

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Megaphone

On previous form...

... the eventual result of all this will be a plan that's too late, too expensive and which makes the problem worse. After which they'll turn around and say that they need to solve all the problems they created, which will result in another raft of solutions that are too late, too expensive and make everything worse.

This is what politicians do. They make messes, which they then claim they have to clear up, making more messes in the process. Assuming that one lot will be better than another lot just because they wave a different flag or profess superior "fairness", or some sort of "mission", or what have you, is akin to assuming that being shot in the face by someone with a smile is better than being shot in the face by someone with a frown. You still get shot in the face.

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Headmaster

library schmibrary

Well, that's bee health sorted. All we need now is for El Reg contributors to be able to distinguish between the words 'library' and 'laboratory' and European integration will be ours at last.

PS - Would the person in charge of studying bee nutrition at said laboratory be Captain Bee Fart?

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Panic

Will there be honey still for tea?

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Coat

Honey's off, love.

(with apologies to P.Sellers)

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It isn't just hype

So how many bees have you seen in the wild recently that weren't just casts or swarms from a beekeepers hive?

Unfortunately as European bees cannot groom themselves to remove the varoa mite, they require help from humans to survive. Otherwise they are unable to increase their population enough to collect enough pollen and nectar to survive the winter. The mite isn't really a problem for adult bees, it is the little grubs they find extra tasty.

Also trying to encourage farmers to crop dust at certain times so they don't lag bee's in pesticides/herbicides/fungicides is very important. This could require European legislation to make it stick, also maybe some research into bee friendly pesticides could be done.

I would say when estimates of how much the honey bee pollinates are taken into consideration, they are pretty bloody important- Note that the peculiarity of the honey bee is that it'll just pollinate one plant all day, as opposed to other bees that meander around just collecting nectar and pollen from any old plant.

My 2 penith worth.

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Pesticides and insecticides?

There's what looks to be good research by C.A. Mullins et at in PLoS:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0009754

They note that, "One third of honey bee colonies in the US were lost during each of the last three winters between ’06-’09 ." The problem is quite serious.

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More than serious

Not "doomed", but "gone". Haven't seen one here for two summers. Bumblebees and hover-flies are more common than usual, however, and might be filling the gap to some extent.

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Coat

Where's our moderatrix ?

Hope she's not taken ill too, or something ... oh no, probably busy with the fire extinguisher at hffp://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/07/server_virtualisation_study/ or outside having a jasper?

go-go-gadget-coat

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Where's our moderatrix ?

I am here. Reading all your wonderful comments.

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Joke

typo?

I think you mistyped there, you got an extra n,d & r in the word before comments.

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Coat

Save the Bee

Don't give the bloody Dolphins an excuse !

grabs the one with salted thins, beer and towel in pockets. exits SR to MC*G...

* crikkit

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Mr

Ratniek told the Register: "There is no evidence that mobile phones are a factor."

Oh ffs, whatever happened to joined-up thinking? At the time of the Black Death there was no evidence that rats, fleas or bacteria were a factor.

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