Is this good news for bees?

“I’m not convinced that it’s so much worse than what we saw in 2004 and 2005,” said Eric Mussen, a bee specialist with the University of California, Davis.

While bees are undoubtedly in trouble this year, Mussen said, there’s little evidence so far that it’s anything other than the continuation of their long struggle with disease, environmental stress and the hardship of being hauled cross-country in midwinter to pollinate crops in California.

“This time the media just became much more involved in it,” he said.

That’s from an article by Jim Downing in the Sacramento Bee. (I kid you not; it is actually a very good paper, although you may need to register and log in to see the full story, which is why I am quoting from it at some length.) Mussen is just one of the experts who says that the fuss this year about vanishing bees reflects more media interest rather than fewer bees.

“About all we’ve got is anecdotes,” said, Troy Fore, executive director of the American Beekeeping Federation.

There is, in fact, no central agency responsible for monitoring the status of honeybees in the US. News comes by word of mouth, and while some beekeepers are playing down the crisis, hoping that farmers don’t question the pollinating ability of the hives they’ve rented, others are blowing up the problem in a bid for government support.

Years ago, Mussen said, many Central Valley counties employed a bee inspector to check the health of rented hives. That person helped resolve disputes between beekeepers and farmers and served as an informal census-taker.

Today, those inspectors are scarce. One of the few remaining is Clifton Piper, who has checked hives for the Merced County Department of Agriculture since 1973. He isn’t sure about the big picture, either.

“It’s difficult to see just how short the shortage is,” he said. Beekeepers often bolster weak hives with imported packages of bees from Australia, he said. And in cold and rainy weather, it’s hard to tell whether sluggish bees in a hive are sick or simply chilly.

I suppose time, and the price of almonds, will tell.

2 Replies to “Is this good news for bees?”

  1. It is interesting that the whole country will go into a frenzy when American Idol cuts a particular singer, or they get booted because of controvery, but when 1/3 of the Nation’s good portion of the “FOOD SUPPLY” may be in a “crisis” people and papers, start reationalizing that the issue is being “overblown.” Now that is “STUPIDITY!”

    Whether or not, the end of the world, as we know it, scenerio is being palyed out here, or not, does not negate the necessity for and the need to moniter and track the progress or demise of the BEES. It is only Prudent at minumum, and a National Crisis if we as Americans fail to realize that WE are dependent upon these little creatures for our FOOD SUPPLY, being estimates of one out of every three bite sof foos we intake…

    The naa-sayers of the BEE crisis, even themselves refer to that fact that the disappearing problem of BEES has occurred before, and so what’s to worry , it’s no different than before?? Oooh JEEE, DID ANYONE BOTHER TO TRACK THE PROBLEM THEN FOR A SOLUTION????? NO! Are they NOW,,, NO!!!

    The Stupidity of Man, to protect his own FOOD Supply and Life, never ceases to amaze me! Yet, the USDA and Government, will steal away all Americans RIGHTS and FREEDOMS, to allegedly protect us ALL, from Unkwone, not yet discovered, or problematic diseases in humans or animals, with the FOLLY of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), for a cost of Millions, to VOLUNTARILY FORCE use all to comply to their FUTURE POTENTIAL DISEASE CRISIS, by giving up our RIGHTS on our own Private Property and Intrusion into our animals on that property… YET, the USDA and Government, in concert with STUPIDITY, DO NOTHING for YEARS NOW, about a Well known, and looming CRISIS of the Dispppearing BEES!!!

    WIth the Intelligence of THIS Government, GOD help us ALL!

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