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Thread: hive losses

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default hive losses

    asking for help,or ideas. i keep bees on 2 farms across the road from each other, last fall had 10 hives on one side and 4 hives on the other. we raise fruit and veg.and out of the 4 hives 3 made it overwinter, on the other side all 10 are dead. question is the 4 hive side we keep the fruits[ strawberry, rasp, blueberry, melons etc. the 10 hive side was our sweet corn and some was bt. i remember picking that corn and there were bees in the tassles gathering pollen. is it possible the pollen would still contain bt and bees storing pollen in the hive for baby bee food contains enough bt to kill the young, therefore no hives that were in front of the insect traited corn survived? any thoughts on this would help greatly, or is there any way i can check the pollen stores in the dead hives for contamination before i install bees in there again to go thru the same problem?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Dane County, WI.

    Default Re: hive losses

    Sorry to hear that you lost so many [ten] hives. I would think the other hives would have been affected, if it had anything to do with Bt.

    I'm no expert and this is not a definitive answer. My understanding from reading is that Bt. is specific to Lepidopteran [butterflies/moths] and some Coleopteran [beetles] insects. There are so many variables/unknowns when trying to understand why hives die out today,..unfortunately

    > "Honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) are the most important pollinators of many agricultural crops worldwide and are a key test species used in the tiered safety assessment of genetically engineered insect-resistant crops. There is concern that widespread planting of these transgenic crops could harm honey bee populations."
    Methodology/Principal Findings

    "We conducted a meta-analysis of 25 studies that independently assessed potential effects of Bt Cry proteins on honey bee survival (or mortality). Our results show that Bt Cry proteins used in genetically modified crops commercialized for control of lepidopteran and coleopteran pests do not negatively affect the survival of either honey bee larvae or adults in laboratory settings."

    "Although the additional stresses that honey bees face in the field could, in principle, modify their susceptibility to Cry proteins or lead to indirect effects, our findings support safety assessments that have not detected any direct negative effects of Bt crops for this vital insect pollinator."

    > "A very large number of detailed studies have shown that the Bt proteins in Bt transgenic crops are not dangerous to bees, as also emphasized by the consensus Document No. 42 (July 2007), released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. So far not even a single peer reviewed report has proved that the products of Bt genes in GE crops are harmful to honey bees, bumble bees or such other insect pollination vectors.." >

    From Beesource:
    Last edited by Oldbee; 04-04-2011 at 05:29 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

    Default Re: hive losses

    If the farms, orchards and crops are all within about 3 miles or each other - than all 14 hives had access to the corn and the orchards (and probably foraged in both - although bees will use corn pollen, it generally is not preferred).

    That would rule out pesticides in one crop affecting just one set of hives and causing their death.

    More likely it was varroa or nosema (or some combination of both). Hives placed next to one another are more likely to contract the same pests/diseases through drifting than hives that are separated (ie. across the road).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand

    Default Re: hive losses

    Were the 4 hives "newer" than the others, ie, made from splits, or similar?
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Cache County Utah

    Default Re: hive losses

    is it possible the pollen would still contain bt and bees storing pollen in the hive for baby bee food contains enough bt to kill the young, therefore no hives that were in front of the insect traited corn survived?
    As you well know, bees will travel two miles or more to forage. Colonies just across the street certainly all foraged in the same fields. I think there are other reasons for the demise of the one group.

    Maybe physical things like a windbreak? Exposure to winter sun which warms the hive so the bees will move onto new honey?

    We all wish we had the answer for wintering bees, but unfortunately it is often a mystery why our bees died.


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