Friday, March 30, 2012

Bee Informed Partnership and Colony Loss

We recently held a webinar with Dennis vanEngelsdorp from Bee Informed Partnership (BIP)(below is the link to the recording). BIP is a five year project which is focusing on which management practices have less winter loss. Information from anonymous surveys, taken by beekeepers, are analyzed and formed into reports that are posted for public review. These reports hold data that interpret different management practices to the amount of winter loss.The success of this project and these reports hinges on beekeeper participation. 

Bees in Hive

Ever since varroa, beekeepers have been looking for the "Silver Bullet" to solve our winter loss issues. Well, there is no "Silver Bullet" product that will do the trick but this survey and the results which come from it is the closest we are going to come. As beekeepers, we have a vested interest in this project and should participate in the survey. Stop waiting for some magic product, be part of the solution. Participate Now by Clicking Here. 

Still not convinced? Here is a sample of one of the 200+ reports that will be released. 

For those who were unable to join the webinar we have uploaded the Broadcast  or check out Bee Informed Partnership for more information.

Frames in Hive

Pesticides and honeybees
In recent years there have been numerous claims that a class of pesticides know as neonicotinoids is the cause for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). While they have been shown to have a detrimental effect on colonies, few are saying they are sole cause. Just within the last week there have been a few studies that provide insight into just how detrimental. 

The first two were released on the website for the journal of Science. Both studies looked at the sub-lethal effect of pesticides and levels which they are exposed to in "the wild". They first found that exposed honeybees were 2-3 times more likely to die while away from the hive than the untreated bees. This finding as well as others suggests that they are unable to navigate home. The second study was similar but used bumble bees. It found that colonies treated produced 85% fewer queens and were 8-12% smaller than untreated colonies.

A third study looked at strawberries grown on conventional farms versus those grown on organic farms and the pollination success. It found that the organic farm had about 45% full pollination compared to 17% conventionally grown. While the study was not designed to answer the question why, they do discuss the possible higher abundance and increased diversity of the pollinators. 

The answers are out there. Be apart of the solution. Take the survey.

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