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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Australia
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    218

    Default Report released/blogged about today. SBBA & Santa Barbara die-off.

    This might be of interest to some, it's a little inconclusive (lots of "weasel words" used) but does indicate that pesticides should be of great concern both to beeks and to society in general.

    http://foodintegritynow.org/2013/01/...santa-barbara/

    Cheers, Thomas.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Default Re: Report released/blogged about today. SBBA & Santa Barbara die-off.

    I'm not sure that I would characterize the loss of 16 hives as a "massive honeybee die off." Awareness of problems for bees, including pesticides, is important. But some of it is exaggerated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Santa Barbara, Ca, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Report released/blogged about today. SBBA & Santa Barbara die-off.

    I am one of the people that helped put this news release together. We are small backyard beekeepers. One of the unusual problems we found was that all the hives we knew about within a 1.5 mile area were killed in a very short time period. These were feral hives and managed hives. Please feel free to ask me questions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Default Re: Report released/blogged about today. SBBA & Santa Barbara die-off.

    No offense intended, tomasmore. Like I wrote earlier, drawing public attention to some of the problems facing bees and beekeepers is valuable. Just to clarify where I see some problems in the story:

    Last October, amateur beekeeper, Carrie Kappel, called the SBBA (Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association) when she saw hundreds of dead and dying bees outside her beehive in her backyard. -quoted from linked story
    The description that immediately follows this lead to the story reads like a clear indication of acute pesticide poisoning. I believed as I started reading it that the evidence in the story would identify a particular pesticide, or help confirm a pesticide poisoning. Really, what I read seemed to contradict it.

    Just as the Association suspected, the labs found several commonly used pesticides found in bee food stores, brood cells and wax. ... These chemicals are all known to be highly toxic to bees. They also found low levels of two legal miticides used by beekeepers to control mites. While this does not prove that pesticides were behind the die-offs, it does point to them as a possible factor. -quoted from linked story
    My understanding is that this mix of chemicals can be detected in a large number of hives, including those that show no overt problems. I read the paragraph that contained the edited quote as refuting the idea of an acute pesticide poisoning. The symptoms don't seem to match what others have described as chronic pesticide poisoning, but the test results didn't seem to indicate any pesticide as being high enough to cause acute poisoning.

    Based on the relatively inconclusive lab results, I thought drawing the conclusion that is offered in the story to be leaping beyond what the data could support. Were the dead and dying bees tested for pathogens, such as viruses or Nosema or bacteria?

    The SBBA hopes that by getting the word out about this die-off, people in the Santa Barbara community and other areas will become more aware of the danger to bees from pesticides. The SBBA encourages pest control companies, horticulturists, landscape contractors and homeowners to evaluate their use of pesticides and products to mitigate the risks to honeybees and other beneficial insects. -quoted from linked story
    I like the thesis of this paragraph. I'm still not convinced that the beed died of pesticide poisoning -- it might have been, but it might also have been something else -- but that last sentence is clear, well written, and carries weight with it that I hope the people identified in it recognize and take to heart.

    Bees help pollinate around 70% of all the crops on the planet. -quoted from linked story
    Could be. I've never understood just how such a number is estimated, and I hesitate to throw numbers like that around without citing a source. Bees are closely linked through the evolutionary explosion of diversity among flowering plants. However, a number of important (and large acreage) crops on the planet are wind pollinated.

    “If the bee became extinct, man would only survive
    a few years beyond it”, Einstein predicted… -quoted from linked story
    The citation of this quote has been refuted in the past, and, given the subject matter that concerned Einstein, it seems highly unlikely that he gave much attention to this sort of matter. Humanity can certainly survive without honey bees. Large populations of humans lived quite nicely in North America and South America for centuries before colonists from Europe introduced honey bees to the Americas. If the quote means the entire group of several families of insects that make up "bees" (sensu latu), the same broad statement might be said about any number of such groups. Regardless, my understanding is that this quotation was created, revised and deliberately incorrectly attributed to Einstein by a group of beekeepers to use as a form of propaganda.

    Nearly a million honeybees lost–pesticides are suspected to be the cause.-lead-in from the story cited in the link
    A million sounds like a lot (and it is, I suppose), but I have far more honey bees than that living right in the yard around my house. I think many beekeepers manage far more bees than that, if each individual worker were counted. I was left with the impression that the description was deliberately chosen to make the losses sound exceptionally large.

    One of the unusual problems we found was that all the hives we knew about within a 1.5 mile area were killed in a very short time period. These were feral hives and managed hives. -tomasmore
    That seems much more newsworthy to me. The facts that 1) all known hives in that radius apparently died at the same time, and, 2) unmanaged and managed hives similarly died, were neglected in the story. The story left me with the impression that 16 hives died (all managed), but any number more might have survived even in the same yards.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Santa Barbara, Ca, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Report released/blogged about today. SBBA & Santa Barbara die-off.

    Kieck no offense was taken and thank you for the long response. This story is getting bigger than we ever imagined.

    I can not speak to the quote about Einstein, percentage of crops pollinated or the lead in about almost a million bees as the blogger added those parts. Attached is a link to the original press release that has more information. http://www.sbba.org/in-the-news.html

    We had a really tough time as we were only able to afford to send in 4 samples. We took samples from 4 of the hives. 2 samples of honey, 1 sample of pollen and 1 sample of wax from the brood area. The sample from the brood area showed levels of fipronil that according to my research was high enough to cause the die out. Unfortunately it took 3 months to get the results back. If it would have been sooner we could have had the wax from the brood area of the other hives tested but now it is too late. Having spoken to several experts and shown the photos they all agreed that it most of the hives exhibited classic signs of acute pesticide poisoning. There were 6 beekeepers involved and around 10 different locations. I admit there is no smoking gun. There are so many correlating facts that add weight to the hypothesis. Most if not all the hives died in close proximity (1.5 miles) and close in time (less than 2 weeks). The die out was possibly within a few days, but from the time the first hive was discovered until we checked on the last hive was about 2 weeks.

    We have had to learn everything the hard way. Your input is very valuable and we are continuing to pursue the truth in this incident. We have just started to move bees back into the area and hope that they survive. If they die we will be better prepared to do more effective testing. I will work on getting better data, maps, photos, and test results together so that I can provide a better case for the conclusions we came up with and post it at our website sbba.org as soon as it is ready.

    Thanks again and if anyone else has questions please ask and it helps our little club of backyard beekeepers to develop the story and find the truth.

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