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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Pocatello, ID, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid

    Just gonna preface this by saying I'm not a beekeeper. I know as much about beekeeping as the average person who depends on you guys, because I AM the average person who depends on you guys. So, here goes...

    Could have sworn I saw an article last year that said it was figured out. Something about some Invasion of the Body Snatchers type parasite that exploded out of the inside of the bees, Alien style. Guess not? Imagine my surprise to see the issue on the cover of Time.

    I've read a lot of articles about this issue since I first heard about it in 2006. I forget how I even first heard about it...strange. Seems every single one, including the most recent Time article avoids something that should be heavily implied. It mentions the cash value of crops. It mentions the cash lost to beekeepers. It mentions the cash value of trying to treat the bees. But doesn't no pollinating mean...no food? Seems every article treats it as purely an economic issue or a niche issue, along the lines of unemployed auto workers. Isn't this a mass starvation issue?

    Thought I'd try and contact you guys. Cut through the (sorry for the pun) buzz. What say you? Am I overthinking here? If the plain issue, black and white, is that without bees, or even significantly less bees, there's just not enough food to go around, shouldn't the commentating be more on human survival than jobs? Are we actually talking End Times famine here or am I getting too far ahead?

    Thanks for taking the time to read. Hope to hear back.

    Marc

    P.S. For what it's worth, I live near a AAA baseball team called the bees. And they're lousy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,020

    Default Re: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid

    A parasitic fly was discovered to prey on honey bees. Yet, the cause/causes of CCD has not yet been definitively determined.

    If famine is on the horizon, I don't feel qualified to even speculate on that topic.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,180

    Default Re: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid

    I think the whole "we'll all starve if there are no bees" thing is overblown. In fact, when varroa first arrived in this country and decimated honey bee colonies, there was an uptick in native pollinators like bumblebees.

    But certain kinds of agriculture would have to retool extensively without the migratory beekeepers who are used to pollinate vast monocultures.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Nevada, MO
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid

    There are a lot of other pollinators besides honey bees. Not that I think we're going to lose them all, but if they were suddenly extinct, bumble bees and other natives would pick up some of the slack. The plants that are native to the US all had other pollinators before there were honeybees here. Look carefully at a fruit tree in bloom and you'll see all kinds of bugs crawling on them. I'm sure some kinds of agriculture would not be profitable anymore, like almonds probably. Some things would not be affected at all. Beans and tomatoes don't require pollnators. Beans are more productive with them. The winter strawberries in my greenhouse did fine without pollinators, unless they had some that were too small for me to notice.. I don't mean to say that we aren't very dependant on bees. That's why I have bees. Just that it wouldn't be the end of the world. Bet it would really limit the choices in the grocery store.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,928

    Default Re: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid

    > tomatoes don't require pollnators

    Perhaps pollination of tomatoes is not so clear cut. Read about "buzz pollination" of tomatoes by bumblebees here:
    http://pollinator.com/self_pollinating_tomato.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Nevada, MO
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid

    That's interesting about the tomatoes. I haven't heard that before. It does make sense.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fair Grove,MO,USA
    Posts
    1,615

    Default Re: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid

    Tomato's and corn are the two things i can think of' that is wind pollinated, i'm sure there's more.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, Commonwealth of Virginia, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Gotta ask once and for all; maybe I'm paranoid

    Loss of honeybees would definitely stink and your diet wouldn't be as varied, but what we're seeing with bees is not likely to become an extinction or even result in a loss of huge numbers of bees or beekeepers.

    I'll probably irritate some of my fellow beeks, but I view CCD and varroa as primarily economic issues. It's sort of like raising milk cows. If half your herd dies every year with milk prices at $3.00 a gallon, it's not a viable proposition to farm milk cows. If, however, the price of milk goes to $20.00 a gallon and you can sell all you can produce, then you adapt. You breed more cows on the expectation that you'll lose a lot of your herd. You try new treatments and practices that show promise for reducing mortality. If you're lucky, you'll lose fewer than you expect to lose.

    We're seeing pretty much the same thing with honeybees. The price of pollination services and honey have gone up greatly in the last 10 years. And beekeepers are raising new hives like mad to keep ahead of the mortality. We have to. I'm just a hobbyist, but this last year I tripled my number of hives on the expectation that I'll lose up to 40% over the winter. If I'm very lucky and manage my hives well I'll do better than that.

    And keep in mind...it isn't paranoia if the really ARE out to get you!

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