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[SANET-MG] bee death syndrome any ideas?
february 12, 2007 NY Times
Mystery Disease Is Threat to Bee Colonies
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Feb. 11 (AP) — A mysterious illness is killing tens
of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey
production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need
bees for pollination.
Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called
colony collapse disorder.
Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some
commercial beekeepers have reported losing more than 50 percent of their
A colony can have roughly 20,000 bees in the winter and up to 60,000 in
the summer. Commercial beekeepers often have thousands of colonies.
The country’s bee population had already been hurt in recent years by a
tiny parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which had destroyed more than
half of some beekeepers’ hives and devastated most wild honeybee
Commercial bee colonies are also important pollinators, along with some
birds, bats and other insects. A recent report by the National Research
Council noted that three-quarters of all flowering plants, including
most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs and fuel, rely on
pollinators for fertilization.
Dave Hackenberg, of Hackenberg Apiaries in Lewisburg, Pa., was the first
to report the disorder to bee researchers at Pennsylvania State
University. He notified them in November when he was down to about 1,000
colonies after having started the fall with 2,900.
“We are going to take bees we got and make more bees, but it’s costly,”
Mr. Hackenberg said.
Daniel Weaver, president of the American Beekeeping Federation, said the
situation was serious. “Whether it threatens the apiculture industry in
the United States or not, that’s up in the air,” he said.
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