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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb A possible explanation for CCD

    Some studies have reported that summer bees rather than winter bees were found in colonies going into the winter. The difference is in the smaller fat reserves, leaving summer bees with much shorter lifespans.
    When the fat reserve is used up, a bee leaves the colony to die away from the hive.
    Lots of bees leaving at the same time leave behind an empty hive, the beekeeper calls it CCD or Marie Celeste or dwindling disease.

    The trigger for winter bee production in a healthy colony is the shortening of daylength after the summer solstice, June 21st.
    Depending on your type of bee, winter bee production should commence soon or slightly later after that.


    If the colony is under the influence of neurotoxins, like neonicotinoids, the bees might not be able to perceive the change of daylight and continue production of summer bees.

    It has already been proven that neonicotinoids reduce the memory of bees in field studies (reutrn rate of foragers) and in the lab (training experiments).

    A compromised memory would make perception of daylight changes impossible, and as many colonies are exposed to neonics at the critical time of year for winter bee procuction, we should look into this possibility more closely.


    sources of neonics that could therefore be responsible for CCD:

    @ fields of corn/maize
    @ flowering trees like lime trees on golf courses and in parks, where the lawn/turf has been treated with the pesticides
    @ other treated crops flowering around midsummer and after
    @ contaminated water (runoff) that bees collect for brood rearing


    Comments?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromnessbees View Post
    Some studies
    Comments?
    please post links to these studies
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromnessbees View Post
    A compromised memory would make perception of daylight changes impossible
    This is a very big assumption that is probably untenable. Memory has nothing to do with the innate response to shortening day length. Responses to day length are usually triggered by the decrease/increase of chemical cues that cross a pre-set threshold causing up/down regulation of different genes that then, ultimately, act to change behavior. It is the exposure to light (or specific wavelengths) that either breaks down the chemical cues or aids in the synthesis of these cues. Bees don't "remember" how long the previous day was like they remember the timing and source of a resource.

    I don't really know how bees translate day length into action but I do know that changes to day length affect insects in general at the hormonal level--allowing the establishment of circadian rhythms and the triggering of overwintering strategies. Often, when it comes to overwintering strategies, the strategy is in response to the exposure of a previous generation (I would guess not in bees, though, as only the queen lays eggs).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by wildbranch2007 View Post
    please post links to these studies
    The seeming lack of body reserves has repeatedly been mentioned in studies I have read over the years, but is usually attributed to other factors like varroa or malnutrition.
    e. g. here:
    Adult bees, which are infested by V. destructor as pupae, do not fully develop physiological features typical of long-lived winter bees compared with non-infested workers [6][8], making it unlikely for them to survive until spring and contribute to the build-up of the colony in early spring [2]. To date, however, the relation between the lifespan of individual bees and colony losses for different levels of V. destructor infestation has not been tested.
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%...l.pone.0036285
    There are other quotes, but it would take me a while to find them again.

    I am proposing the effects of neonics on the ability of bees to determine seasons as an alternative explanation.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    This is a very big assumption that is probably untenable. Memory has nothing to do with the innate response to shortening day length. Responses to day length are usually triggered by the decrease/increase of chemical cues that cross a pre-set threshold causing up/down regulation of different genes that then, ultimately, act to change behavior. It is the exposure to light (or specific wavelengths) that either breaks down the chemical cues or aids in the synthesis of these cues. Bees don't "remember" how long the previous day was like they remember the timing and source of a resource.

    ...
    It is a theory and it needs testing, of course.

    That shouldn't stop us from debating it here, adding our own observations.

    Daylight perception is based on chemical reactions, so is memory.
    Add unnatural chemicals and the whole system can be upset, possibly cancelling out natural triggers.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    "Memory," in ethology, usually refers to a form of mental recall of past individual experience. The only bees that would live long enough to remember a past shortening of day length would be queens.

    The lack of fat reserves that may contribute to losses due to Varroa usually leaves dead bees in the hives. CCD is characterized by a disappearance of bees. The idea that pesticides may interfere with bees' instinctive behaviors at different times of the year is worth investigating, but I wonder if the symptoms here are really consistent with CCD.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    I doubt that you will see all of the symptoms that define CCD, such as no wax moths or robbing in dead hives. I am sure that there is some effect, but Hackenberg showed that CCD was a pathogen by irradiating half the dead hives in a group, then installing bees in all. The irradiated hives thrived, non-irradiated hives died.

    Game over, please try again.

    Crazy Roland

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    I doubt that you will see all of the symptoms that define CCD, such as no wax moths or robbing in dead hives. I am sure that there is some effect, but Hackenberg showed that CCD was a pathogen by irradiating half the dead hives in a group, then installing bees in all. The irradiated hives thrived, non-irradiated hives died.
    The Hackenberg irradiation story is from 2007.

    If it was effective then everybody would be doing it by now ...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Stromness: Are you open to considering all scientific evidence or do you only follow leads that fit your hypothesis?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromnessbees View Post
    It is a theory and it needs testing, of course.
    Daylight perception is based on chemical reactions, so is memory.
    Add unnatural chemicals and the whole system can be upset, possibly cancelling out natural triggers.
    If only things were that simple. I'd argue that response to changes in day length has nothing to do w/ memory so there is nothing to test but don't really see the point. I'm not discounting any possible human pesticidal causes for CCD but would rather do a lit review before I profess my own opinions (I am not familiar w/ all the work that has been done).

    I do think, however, the idea that natural systems have a "balance" is a misguided view that may cause misinterpretation of observations. Systems are better thought of as a collection of competing entities that really have no regard for the other entities (my opinion only). The tension between these competing entities are perceived, by us, at one point in time as an "equilibrium". Hence, when we perturb one facet of the system the advantage/disadvantage line shifts, and we think it is out of "balance". The fact is, equilibriums are constantly shifting--just as climates are always changing. Change would still happen even if our species did not exist (despite how important we think we are). That being said, our footprint obviously has it's own effect on the systems in which we live. To think we could avoid disturbing systems and still survive is naive, I think. We're kind of damned if we do and damned if we don't.

    Anyway, to get back on topic, by this line of logic, unnatural chemicals obviously will have influences on systems just as much as natural chemicals will but I am in no position to conjecture what these influences are, good or bad. Just keeping track of what I do individually and what the response of my particular bees are. Everything I do has an effect, just trying to learn to minimize the negative and maximize the positive. Am glad that, in my location, I don't really have to worry about what influences neonics, GMOs and the like may have on my hives. The only corn pollen my bees get are from my sweet corn. Happy to say I have seen no difference between pollen from se, sh2, or su sweet corn. Bees seem to do fine.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Sromness - you do not "cleanse' all hive bodies every season? Hmmmmm.... oh well. Maybe the sucessfull do and just don't talk about it.

    Crazy Roland
    Linden Apiary, est. 1852

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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Sromness - you do not "cleanse' all hive bodies every season? Hmmmmm.... oh well. Maybe the sucessfull do and just don't talk about it.
    Just to clarify:

    I have never had a disease problem or CCD in any of my hives.
    I scrape boxes clean between use, that's all that I need to do, as I live in a disease free area where no pesticides are used, so my bees are extremely healthy.

    I am addressing the problem of CCD in a general way, and after studying it for a long time I am certain that neonicotinoids are the cause.

    The problem has always been, how to explain the sudden disappearance of bees during the winter months.
    A friend of mine living in an agricultural area who has his bees close to home, observed them leaving the hives and not returning. That was at the onset of winter. The dwindling of his previously strong colonies lasted for about 10 days, and he was left with nearly empty boxes - typical of CCD.
    And yes, he had treated and checked for varroa.


    My theory, that neonics comporomise the bees' system of recognizing the change of season, would explain it in a very straight forward way.

    It also explains other related phenomena, like the continued brood rearing very late in the season, which seems to precede CCD.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromnessbees View Post


    The problem has always been, how to explain the sudden disappearance of bees during the winter months.
    A friend of mine living in an agricultural area who has his bees close to home, observed them leaving the hives and not returning. That was at the onset of winter. The dwindling of his previously strong colonies lasted for about 10 days, and he was left with nearly empty boxes - typical of CCD.
    And yes, he had treated and checked for varroa.


    My theory, that neonics comporomise the bees' system of recognizing the change of season, would explain it in a very straight forward way.
    I've watched a few hives do as above, on dissecting the hives, found that they were lacking in pollen, so the bees had used up there bodies.
    The on going investigation in the NFL about head injuries has interested me. After watching these hives I realized that all had entrances that were 3/8" and I noticed that the bees continually hit there heads while entering the hives. To test my theory I switched some of the hives to 3/4" opening, and others to small cell, since doing this I have not had any more problems with CCD like symptoms, and all the above hives are in heavy corn areas with neonics. I prefer the 3/8" opening so reluctantly I may have to invest in more small cell comb to prevent them from hitting there heads while entering. I haven't investigated how to write a paper on this, but with the quality of many of the papers I have read lately, I don't think that should present any problems. I have the same problem as most people doing CCD research, finding the missing bees with the head trauma is tough, and finding a mri small enough to use on them will probably prevent me from finishing the study.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Mike, the solution to your CCD problem is clear .... you need some signs at the hive entrance warning of the "LOW BRIDGE AHEAD". And where do you get such small signs? You use "microprinting" to make your own ...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microprinting

    Graham
    --- HVAC design via ESP ... Who'd a thunk it ...

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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromnessbees View Post
    The Hackenberg irradiation story is from 2007.

    If it was effective then everybody would be doing it by now ...
    Not true at all. Many factors determine what methods are actually used. and effectivness is seldom at the top of the list. cost usually is.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Also worth pointing out that Stromness, Orkney is a varroa free area which makes quite a difference to how bees need to be managed.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Stromness: Are you open to considering all scientific evidence...
    What do you consider to be scientific evidence?

    All we really have are facts and observations.

    All facts have to be interpreted.

    That doesn't even require a scientist or a governmental entity.

    (Unless the conclusion desired is "more research is needed")

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Stromness: So you are contending that the only possible variable between your hives and your friends is exposure to Neonics even though you have already conceded that they were in an entirely different forage area presumably exposed to different nectar and pollen flows. How about other climactic conditions and specific location variables such as water sources, wind and sun exposure? Are all beekeeping equipment, methods and manipulations identical between your hives and your friends? And let's not so lightly dismiss varroa and the related viruses that they are known to spread. Tell us about you and your friends testing methods and results? Are you aware that there is no more classic sign of varroa mite stressed hives in collapse than seeing far more eggs and open brood than the reduced hive population can possibly care for? Tell us the body of experience that you and your friend (whose observations are a large part of your evidence) actually have. How many hives, how many years? Have either of you had much if any experience with bees prior to the introduction of Neonics? One final question. If I were to take the time to read through your 60+ posts here on Beesource would I find that you have participated in any other general bee discussion besides advancing your Neonic theories?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #19
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Quite a few beekeepers continue to advance the hypothesis that neonicotinoids are the sole cause for CCD. A quick scan through the threads on neonicotinoids here on Beesource will demonstrate just how frequently it is suggested.

    Professional scientists have devoted large amounts of time and money to identifying a cause for CCD. With the emphasis on publishing in academia, and with the publicity that would accompany such a discovery, I think any number of scientists would have published such a simple result if evidence would have supported it.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A possible explanation for CCD

    Pretty interesting study on CCD and pathogens.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3424165/

    Current evidence for a chemotoxic basis of CCD is equivocal. Honey bees have been exposed for many years to diverse anthropogenic chemicals, primarily agricultural applications aimed at reducing pest plants or arthropods. Chemical residues, including known insecticides, have been detected in bees and in hive materials (mostly wax and pollen) [11]. Recent evidence suggests the effects of low-level exposure to such chemicals range from impaired behavior (Henry et al., 2012) to lowered disease resistance (Alaux et al., 2012, Pettis et al., 2012), and further study of agrochemical toxicity is warranted. Nevertheless, neither individual chemicals nor overall chemical loads have been tied to increased risk of CCD; in fact, levels of the pesticides coumaphos and Esfenvalerate have been found at higher levels in control colonies as compared to CCD colonies
    Last edited by camero7; 02-17-2013 at 08:56 AM. Reason: added info

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