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  1. #1
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    Default 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Dan Rather's team produced this 30 minute documentary from California's Almond groves, describing the current bee-disaster - with one bee farmer describing losses of 60% - many more losing 30-50-% of their hives.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ5ri...ature=youtu.be

    One bee-farmer says: "this may be the last year for large-scale beekeeping in the USA."

    Every year, some 1,500,000 bee colonies are trucked from all over American to pollinate 825,000 acres of Almond trees in California's Central valley. The Almonds are the most valuable single crop on earth and generate more cash than California's wine and tourism industries combined.

    Since 2006 there has been a catastrophe among the bees with roiughly 30% of America's bees dying each winter with the scientific evidence pointing overwhelmingly toward neonicotinoid pesticides used on corn (maize), oilseed rape. soybeans and cotton, as well as on the almonds themselves.

    This year there has been an even greater disaster with some beekeepers losing up to 60% of their colonies. One beekeeper lost 10,000 colonies out of the original 13,000 healthy colonies he took to the Almonds.
    This represents $millions in the loss of the bees themselves and $millions more in loss of cash income from almond pollination contracts ( each hive is worth $150 - $200 in pollination contracts).

    Veteran CBS Anchorman Dan Rather reports on this agricultural disaster, which has not only crippled the almond crop, but destroyed many of the bees which are needed to pollinate apples, blueberries, watermelons, pumpkins etc, right across the country.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    I wonder how much these diebacks have to do w/ last Summers drought, causing starvation?
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  3. #3
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    The voice of the beekeeper is not enough, when the almond growers and other fruit farmers start losing out and prices at the stores go crazy then maybe changes can happen.

    I agree with one line in the special, " it's not rocket science, its more complicated."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    I've seen pictures of the almond groves. Nothing for miles and miles but almond trees. I would call that a very sterile landscape. How can a bee expect to survive in that type of environment? Two weeks out of the year there is food and then nothing else. IMHO they need to leave natural hedgerows where there is other forage when almonds aren't blooming and let a natural bee population build. Bringing in 1.5 million hives per year is just exacerbating the problem by spreading disease from hive to hive and across the country. Plus, it has to stress out the bees being locked in a truck for days at a time. I don't think that is what God had in mind when He made the bee.
    My 2 cents!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Eric, right now God is locking my bees inside their hives for the next two or three days w/ rain and cool temperatures. I guess your are refering to travel stress on the colonies of bees. We have been moving bees for thousands of years. Maybe not on semis and such great distances. But we do do it successfully. Trucking bees may be part of the problem, I guess. But, I still wonder about what happened in the environment during the last 12 to 24 months.

    If someone could figure out what killed the colonies that died and why others have not, that wouyld be valuable information. So far, I believe we are grasping at straws.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  6. #6
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    ericweller, This was my first year in the almonds and you can't see reality from a picture. There are ground cover plants blooming in the orchards and this year the bees made some honey. After the almonds there was lots of fruit trees blooming along with mustard and some other plants I haven't had time to look up yet because i'm dealing with hives full of bees.I only split half of my hives down there and should have done them all. So far I haven't seen any disease and there was four different people in the two orchards wear I was at. Also i'm not sure about the truck idea as the ones stopping by my house[the local rest area]only get a couple hours sleep and are back on the road. When I picked up mine I left at 3:00 am and got home the next morning at 2:30 am. I did get a nap for a half hour in the after noon. I'm not sure how the big guy's handle the work load and the stress but I plan on learning it in the near future. So until you get a small sample of pollination your thoughts are some what uninformed. I have to go now as i'm loading bees to head to the pears tonight.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Two drivers.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  8. #8
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    . But, I still wonder about what happened in the environment during the last 12 to 24 months.

    If someone could figure out what killed the colonies that died and why others have not, that wouyld be valuable information. So far, I believe we are grasping at straws.
    Mark, a day or two ago, I saw a piece on the Watertown Fox affiliate about Ted Elk, who I imagine you know. He was pretty gloomy, and said he was losing 35 to 45 percent of his hives every year. Do you know what he believes is killing his hives? The story was pretty light on details.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    I do know Ted. I don't know what has killed his bees. His numbers don't seem unuaual. I should have counted my "Winterloss", but didn't. I hope to go North w/ bees in as many boxes as I came South with. I don't know if it will happen.

    Ted's bees come to SC, like mine do. Usually we can make up losses and then some. But I have never been able to double my colony count.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  10. #10
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Every year, some 1,500,000 bee colonies are trucked from all over American to pollinate 825,000 acres of Almond trees in California's Central valley. The Almonds are the most valuable single crop on earth and generate more cash than California's wine and tourism industries combined.
    I don't believe this is true. Maybe if you add the word legal, or honey bee pollinated crop. I suspect the pot crop is worth more: http://www.neontommy.com/news/2010/1...out-14-billion
    http://westernfarmpress.com/tree-nut...ued-prosperity

    Tom

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    red, thanks for replying and trying to enlighten me.
    I am a bit confused by your comments, however. From what you wrote, it sounds like there is an abundance of forage sources in the almond groves for the bees, is that correct? Of course, "abundance" can mean many things but basically, but I take it to mean that there is sufficient forage for the bees after the almond bloom to survive. If that is the case and the bees can exist in a grove and have plenty of food, why are hives shipped in for pollination? I would think that it would be more cost effective to keep a few hives going in the groves year round than shipping them across country.
    I must be missing something critical.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I do know Ted. I don't know what has killed his bees. His numbers don't seem unuaual. I should have counted my "Winterloss", but didn't. I hope to go North w/ bees in as many boxes as I came South with. I don't know if it will happen.

    Ted's bees come to SC, like mine do. Usually we can make up losses and then some. But I have never been able to double my colony count.
    I just watched the Dan Rather video, and it's fairly depressing. Another guy I imagine you know, Jim Doan, was on it. I think the guy was practically in tears, and it's hard to blame him. He's one of the beekeepers who are suing the EPA, trying to get it to do its job. I Googled around a little and found an article that has a lot of stuff about Mr. Doan:

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/20...-save-our-food

    Another interesting guy on the video was Lyle Johnston, whose family has been keeping bees in Colorado for a 100 years. He was frankly apocalyptic, saying beekeeping as a profession was pretty much doomed and would be gone in 2 or 3 years. He did not have especially high losses, unlike many of the almond pollinators they talked to, but he keeps his hives in the CO mountains when not in the groves-- away from agriculture. That seems to be a common theme when you start looking into these matters. Jim Doan said the only time his bees looked like bees was while they were wintering in Florida in an area away from agriculture.

    It makes you wonder if farmers are going to have to reach some sort of accommodation with beekeepers to limit destructive practices, if they want pollination. It's like now some farmers treat beekeepers like hookers-- the money's on the nightstand, now get out.

    One of the most depressing parts of the video was the recent conference held in Washington to discuss the problems afflicting pollinators, in which most of the speakers were pesticide company reps and bureaucrats.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Quote Originally Posted by borderbeeman View Post
    Every year, some 1,500,000 bee colonies are trucked from all over American to pollinate 825,000 acres of Almond trees in California's Central valley. The Almonds are the most valuable single crop on earth and generate more cash than California's wine and tourism industries combined.
    It's hard to believe anything in the report when there are outright lies in the opening paragraph.

    The California wine industry was worth about $20 billion in 2011 and California tourism brings in about $95 billion a year. While the almond industry only brings in about $4 billion.

    I wonder why they always have to lie about these numbers. It really destroys the credibility of the report.

    Tourism: http://www.visitcalifornia.com/media...e%20Update.pdf

    Wine: http://www.wineinstitute.org/resourc...ics/article639

    Almonds: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_...01205almpd.pdf

    Oh and agriculture disaster? What disaster?:

    A record 2,600-pounds-per-acre yield has been projected by USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service for the 2011–2012 California Almond crop, an increase of 200 pounds per acre, or 8%, over the previous yield-per-acre record set in 2008–2009. The California Almond objective forecast for the 2011–12 crop year is 1.95 billion meat pounds, which is based on 750,000 bearing acres. Overall, shipments were up 13%, reaching 1.668 billion pounds and marking the fifth consecutive year of record shipments across domestic and export markets.
    Dan Rather has lost his mind.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Quote Originally Posted by borderbeeman View Post
    The Almonds are the most valuable single crop on earth and generate more cash than California's wine and tourism industries combined.
    To supplement the links posted by Nabber86, here are USDA numbers for California farm commodities all in one chart:

    The chart above is from this document:
    http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_...010cas-all.pdf

    Its very difficult to take seriously a Dan Rather report that can't get even basic, undisputed facts straight! Its quite clear that almonds is not the #1 crop in California.


    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    It's the same as when we had the 'drought' a few years ago. Southern Ca cried their eyes out, yet Agriculture posted record sales receipts.....

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Quote Originally Posted by Nabber86 View Post

    Oh and agriculture disaster? What disaster?:

    Dan Rather has lost his mind.
    I have high skepticism as well. Dan Rather is an entertainment personality, not a journalist. The 'apocalypse' story is a dependable ratings getter, whether it is Y2K, global warming, dying seals, extinct bees or whatever. I'm not saying there isn't substance to any or all of these stories, but you won't get close to the truth of the matter via popular media.
    I was at a lecture this winter by Dennis vanEngelsdorp, http://entomology.umd.edu/directory/...svanengelsdorp
    who made the comment "I haven't seen a verified case of CCD in the US for two years."
    This is not to deny the testimony of commercial beekeepers who are losing hives, only to say that one prominent scientist is saying whatever killed them off, it wasn't CCD.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Quote Originally Posted by borderbeeman View Post
    The Almonds are the most valuable single crop on earth and generate more cash than California's wine and tourism industries combined.
    Oh my gosh I cut and pasted that quote and zeroed in on the dollar amounts for the various industries. I completely glazed over the most valuable single crop on earth bit. That is truely insane.

    Seriously, the most valuable single crop on earth !?

    I mean really, the most valuable single crop on earth ?!

    Did I mention that it is the most valuable single crop on earth ?!

    (Sorry for repeting that phrase. I just want to make sure that I remember that almonds are the most valuable single crop on earth next time I am chatting with farmer.)

    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Really? Is there flakes of gold inside I'm missing out on?? I googled most valuable crop.... anyone want to guess... guess I needed to add 'commodity' to my search.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 'buzzkill' - dan rather reports on bee deaths among the almonds

    Apologies - that quote was not from Dan Rather or the video - that was from me. I picked it up from an American article about the issue and just assumed it was correct. I stand corrected. Dan Rather would not have made that mistake.

  20. #20
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    Default Dan Rather

    In response to GM Charlie's ad-hominem attack on Dan Rather, which as usual was 'shoot the messenger - don't deal with the content of the report' - I append Dan Rather's entry from Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Rather

    As you will see, Rather is arguably the most important anchorman in American TV history - certainly on the same ballpark as Walter Cronkite. He has received no less than 7 Peabody Awards - the top award in American journalism.
    He also received the Edward R Murrow award for distinguished journalism.


    Award Year Program Title

    Peabody 1975 CBS News
    Peabody 1976 60 Minutes
    Peabody 1994 CBS Reports: D-Day
    Peabody 1995 CBS Reports: In the Killing Fields of America
    Peabody 2000 48 Hours: Heroes Under Fire
    Peabody 2001 60 Minutes II: Memories of a Massacre
    Peabody 2004 60 Minutes II: Abuse at Abu Ghraib


    "Rather retired as the anchorman and Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News in 2005; his last broadcast was Wednesday, March 9, 2005.[46] He had worked as the anchorman for 24 full years, the longest tenure of anyone in American television history, and for a short time continued to work as a correspondent for 60 Minutes.

    Since retiring, Rather has spoken out strongly about what he perceives as a lack of courage by American journalists. On January 24, 2006, Rather spoke to a Seattle audience. Before the speaking engagement, he told a newspaper reporter, "In many ways on many days, reporters have sort of adopted the attitude of 'go along, get along.'"

    "What many of us need is a spine transplant", Rather added. "Whether it's City Hall, the State House, or the White House, part of our job is to speak truth to power." [47]
    "

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