Bee Health | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies - Part 2

Bee Health

Colony Collapse Disorder

Major buzzkill: pesticides diminish bee sperm, adding to

Neonicotinoid pesticides, already blamed for short-circuiting honeybee brains, also diminish their sperm, possibly contributing to the pollinators’ worrying global decline, researchers said Wednesday.

Widespread neonicotinoid use may have “inadvertent contraceptive effects” on the insects which provide fertilisation worth colony collapse disorderbillions of dollars every year, said a study in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

In their experiment, researchers divided bees into two groups.

One group was fed pollen containing field-realistic concentrations of two neonicotinoids – thiamethoxam and clothianidin.

The other group was given untainted food.

After 38 days, the male drones – whose key role in life is to mate with the egg-laying queen – had their semen extracted and tested.

The data “clearly showed… reduced sperm viability” – which is the percentage of living versus dead sperm in a sample, said the study.

Honeybee queens mate for just a single short period, but with many males in a sort of bee orgy, before storing the sperm for the rest of their fertile lifetime.

Bees have been hit in Europe, North America and elsewhere by a mysterious phenomenon called “colony collapse disorder”, which has alternatively been blamed on mites, a virus or fungus, pesticides, or a combination.

The new study adds reduced sperm quality to the list of possible causes.

“As the primary egg layer and an important source of colony cohesion, the queen is intimately connected to colony performance,” the paper said.

Previous studies have found neonicotinoids can cause bees to become disorientated to the extent that they cannot find their way back to the hive, and can lower their resistance to disease.

The European Union has placed a moratorium on the sale of neonicotinoids.

Read more…

The Buzz About Colony Collapse Disorder | NRDC

https://www.nrdc.org/…/buzz-about-colony-collaps

Natural Resources Defense Council

Dec 31, 2015 –

The average person sitting down to dinner probably doesn’t realize the important role bees played in preparing that meal. Here’s something thatcolony collapse disorder definition might surprise you: One out of every three mouthfuls of food in the American diet is, in some way, a product of honeybee pollination—from fruit to nuts to coffee beans. And because bees are dying at a rapid rate (42 percent of bee colonies collapsed in the United States alone in 2015), our food supply is at serious risk.

The bee’s plight is widespread: Serious declines have been reported in both managed honeybee colonies and wild populations. Jennifer Sass, an NRDC senior scientist, says there are multiple factors at play. Each on its own is bad enough, but combined they are quickly proving too much to handle.

Pesticides: These chemicals are designed, of course, to kill insects. But some systemic varieties—specifically neonicotinoids—are worse for bees than others.

Read more…

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10 Ways to Help Save the Bees

#1. Avoid insecticides

Modern pesticides (such as Roundup) are stronger than ever before and tend to have a long-lasting toxic effect on bees and other insects. If you are looking to get rid of pests, go for biological control methods instead. Generally, eliminating all unnecessary pesticides from the environment can go a long way towards saving the bees.Save the bees

#2. Steer away from seeds treated with systemic insecticides

Many seeds today are usually coated with systemic insecticides such as Clothianidin, which spread to the entire plant and causes it to become toxic to all insects that may feed on it, including bees. Read the labels on the seed packets carefully before purchasing. If you are still not sure, contact the manufacturer for full details.

#3. Watch out for hidden killers in your garden compost!

Check the labels on your garden compost vigilantly before buying. Some are normally combined with a deadly insecticide known as imidacloprid. You may find it under different disguises, such as “vine weevil protection.” All in all, it is awfully toxic to all insects and living organisms in the soil – including beneficial earthworms. Once the plants absorb the insecticide, bees looking for water from the moist compost (for instance, if you are using hanging baskets) may be killed.

#4. Design a natural habitat

If possible, let some of the free space in your garden run wild. This will create a haven for small mammals (such as hedgehogs and solenodons) and insects such as bees.

#5. Plant flowers that are attractive to bees

Wildflower seeds are readily available from numerous seed merchants. The good news is that they can thrive in virtually any patch of ground, including those waste spaces in your garden you may not be using.

#6. Create a beehive site

If there’s some free space in your garden, you could dedicate a corner to keeping one or two beehives (or even offer it to a local beekeeper). If you choose the latter, consider the fact that he/she will need regular access to the site for maintaining the hive.

#7. Create a wild bee house

This could be as simple as providing a small box in your garden for feral bees to establish a home. You will find this particularly beginner beekeepingideal if you just want to keep the bees without having to look after them. You can find great ideas for these sorts of boxes online.

#8. Support your local beekeepers

Honey has been shown to ease the effects of many allergies like hay fever. Generally, buying honey from a local beekeeper is preferable than from supermarkets, which often source their honey from several thousand miles away. Better yet, go for a beekeeper that does not include any chemicals in their beehives and request for comb honey, which is the best.

#9. Learn and share information about bees

Unfortunately, most people are relatively ignorant of the importance of bees. Carve out some time to read a good book about bees and beekeeping. You’ll be surprised at the fascinating creatures bees really are. If it works out, you may even challenge yourself to:

#10. Start Beekeeping!

Becoming a beekeeper is easier than most people think. Do not be discouraged by the expensive equipment you see in those classy catalogs! In fact, it takes just a hive, some bees and some beekeeping supplies to keep bees successfully.

10 Ways to Help Save the Bees

 

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