I think blaming CCD on almond orchards is a little like blaming car breakdowns on major highways. Most auto malfunctions happen on highways because the cars just happen to be there: most of the commercial bees happen to go to California. As mentioned before, commercials NOT going to California have reported similar collapses. The reason why you primarily hear about it from commercials (who just happen to go to California) is that it is their livelihood and exponentially more colonies die. When a hobbyist has a high percent crash they blame themselves or starvation or whatever. It is not as financially important to them. When you think about it, losing 5 of 10 colonies or similar is a pretty high loss but I would guess not uncommon. Or 1 out of 1, that is 100%!! But while some might suspect CCD (that is the in vogue bee boogieman right now) they are more likely to blame mites or starvation or any of the other usual suspects.
Like any other communicable disease, higher population masses, especially those being pushed hard for productivity are more susceptible. Smaller isolated non mobile colonies would have an edge, other things equal.
There was a lot of of joking about CCD for awhile.(not the losses, just the name) PPB and other such comments.
Truth is,there are major losses of bees going on in many outfits(I know of plenty that never made the news). I started seeing this several years back in semi loads of bees coming into holding yards from out of state hives in January. There has been a huge amount of guessing on the cause. I bounce back and forth on the reasons. But it is becoming apparent that there are new pathogens at work, spreading from outfit to outfit. And of course Sherri is right-the almonds just happens to be where all the hives are mingled.
I have seen that it is not taking as many varroa mites to cause viral problems as it used to. Nosema C is everywhere now and add in drought and maybe some Tracheal mites and sooner or later the 'perfect storm ' arrives in YOUR bees.
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Henry David Thoreau, Mark B
"always blame myself first"
Me too. And usually with good reason. Coulda/shoulda done something different. Thats how we learn.My dad called it the school of hard knocks.But there are definitely things beyond our control.
What is the commercial opinion on this group and what they are doing with CCD.
My opinion is very high of Israeli agriculture and biotech from everything I've seen. They really know how to grow stuff in a harsh enviornment. I use a type of greenhouse covering from an Israeli group that is remarkable in how it filters light, enhancing plant growth....
Israel has great greenhouse tech in general. Really innovative....
What Mike and Mark are talking about is so very true for most of us...the emotional toll that heavy losses take. Everyone else is doing better, why didn't I do that too, It's all my fault, and so on. Something has changed, it's much much more difficult to keep your bees healthy these years than it used to be. Picking up truckloads of deadouts is a lot of hard work and very depressing. Think how good you feel when they are all boiling over, well there is another side to that coin. Then you have to spend money you don't really have, just to get back to an economic unit. How to keep that enthusiasm? When it all becomes a burden you're just a step away from quitting all together.
very well said Sheri
I watched the last beekeeper with an open mind. I am not ashamed to admit that a tear or two slid down my cheek. I feel sorry for those that lose so much just trying to make a living.
Keeping my fingers crossed that the solution and or answers bring help to those who must haul their bees for a living. We are all in this together whether we like it or not.
"Younz" have a great day, I will.
I have not seen the film, but talked to a beek today that said he knew two of the three beeks followed in the film. He said one is bankrupt and out of business now, and the second one he knew is just a shiver away from bankruptcy. The third he did not know.
What I do believe is that commercial beekeepers are some of the hardest working businessmen and women that exist in the country. Especially, if you take into consideration the amount of possible return for the work, time, investment, and risk that must be put into it. My small hobby/sideline operation won't bankrupt me if it fails completely. Commercial operators with no other businesses or income is another matter.
My hat is off to each and every one of you!
His Hive Honey Farm - Do all for His glory!
JBG A very good point, however almond pollination(massing of bees togather) is not the cause, I believe the cause is a weakoned immune system, then with bees in a smal area it does allow disease transmission. That said, I think the only big problem would be afb if we didnt have the comprised immune sytem along with NO imported bees. The big question is what is causing the immune system to crash. Once it does then nutrition (drought. monsoon), mites, viruses are all magnified. So it seems we need to fix the immune system. Anyone researched how neonictinoids kill? Do they not weaken the immune system? Down the road when everything comes to light I believe they will make DDT seem like a mole hill and nictinoids a mountain!
Of course, realistically, all our problems have migration at the root: migration of Varroa, migration of Nosema, migration of IAPV....
Unfortunately water under the bridge.
Yes I agree about the scale issues for sure and the fine point about the overweighting is a good one to consider. I forget the kind of sampling that you have to do but I think you have to be up on Bio-stats and epidemiologic
methods so its not easy. I do see it as more an AIDS like thing where mutiple
immunity factors have been impaired but this is only speculation and we are now way beyond my brain limit on this thread.