Bees and Corn Syrup

SUBHEAD: Die-offs may wane as scientists probe bee diet. By Alan Bjerga on 13 March 2009 on Bloomberg News
Image above: Label graphics for "Beehive" corn syrup. A brand of table sweetener. From
Ron Spears, a California beekeeper, says he’s breathing easier about his hives this year because the threat of honeybee extinction may be subsiding. Beekeepers, or apiarists, are investing more in food and cutting chemical levels in hives to withstand colony collapse disorder, the malady that helped wipe out about a third of the U.S. commercial hives in the past two years, Spears said. Scientists are studying the honeybee genome and relationships involving nutrition, pesticides and mites to resolve the phenomenon’s mystery.
This year’s first, and biggest, test of honeybee capability to pollinate $15 billion annually of U.S. plants -- California’s almond crop -- showed hive-health improvement, insect scientists and beekeepers said. The disorder, found in at least 35 states and Europe and Asia as well as in the plots of the animated comedy “The Simpsons” and the crime drama “CSI,” isn’t over, Spears said. Still, it seems more under control, he said. “It’s been three, four years since we’ve been able to say this, but there’s been enough bees,” Spears, who trucked half of his 20,000-bee colonies to the state’s Central Valley this year to fertilize the tree nut, said in an interview in Bakersfield, California. He feeds his bees sugar-derived pollen substitute rather than corn syrup. “People are understanding you better take care of them,” he said. After its identification in 2006, the disorder -- in which seemingly healthy bees suddenly flee their hives and die --helped destroy about a third of all U.S. beehives in 2007 and 2008, according to the Apiary Inspectors of America, a nonprofit organization. That’s more than twice the normal rate of hive loss, said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the group’s president, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
for more:
see also:

No comments :

Post a Comment