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Fritz
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The Demise of Bee ?
« on: 2013-07-12 13:48:47 »
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Just thought this should be noted, as yet another sign post.

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Fritz


Predictive Markers of Honey Bee Colony Collapse

Source: PLOS
Author: Benjamin Dainat, Jay D. Evans, Yan Ping Chen, Laurent Gauthier, Peter Neumann
Date: 2012.02.23



Abstract

Across the Northern hemisphere, managed honey bee colonies, Apis mellifera, are currently affected by abrupt depopulation during winter and many factors are suspected to be involved, either alone or in combination. Parasites and pathogens are considered as principal actors, in particular the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, associated viruses and the microsporidian Nosema ceranae. Here we used long term monitoring of colonies and screening for eleven disease agents and genes involved in bee immunity and physiology to identify predictive markers of honeybee colony losses during winter. The data show that DWV, Nosema ceranae, Varroa destructor and Vitellogenin can be predictive markers for winter colony losses, but their predictive power strongly depends on the season. In particular, the data support that V. destructor is a key player for losses, arguably in line with its specific impact on the health of individual bees and colonies.

Citation: Dainat B, Evans JD, Chen YP, Gauthier L, Neumann P (2012) Predictive Markers of Honey Bee Colony Collapse. PLoS ONE 7(2): e32151. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032151

Editor: Patricia V. Aguilar, University of Texas Medical Branch, United States of America

Received: July 29, 2011; Accepted: January 23, 2012; Published: February 23, 2012

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Funding: This work was supported by a grant of the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Introduction

Agricultural pollination should integrate wild species, which provide pollination as an ecosystem service, and managed pollinator introduction as crop management practices [1]. Amongst the managed pollinators, the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, is clearly a cornerstone, because pollination of many crops in most parts of the world relies on this species [1]. However, managed honey bee colonies are currently affected by a syndrome corresponding to an abrupt depopulation during winter [2]. Many biotic and abiotic factors are suspected to be involved in this condition, either alone or in combination [2]–[3]. Among them, parasites contribute to weakening colony health, leaving room to secondary infections. In particular, the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor [4] is now considered to be the main candidate involved in winter colony losses in Europe [5]–[8]. This parasite originates from South-East Asia and has now become widespread across most of the continents [4]. It has been shown that V. destructor or its associated microbes can affect the immune system of parasitized bees [9]–[12]. In addition, viral infections linked with V. destructor are generally considered as a major cause of bee losses. Indeed, V. destructor plays a central role as a mechanical and biological vector of several viruses [12]–[17]. In addition V. destructor appears to accelerate the replication of latent viral infections [12], [17]–[20]. Although more than 19 different viruses have been detected in A. mellifera, only three have been associated with winter losses on a large scale [5], [21]–[23], namely Deformed wing virus [24], Acute bee paralysis virus [25], [26] and Israeli acute bee paralysis virus [27]. These viruses are positive stranded RNA viruses belonging to the Iflaviridae and Dicistroviridae families and are suspected to enhance the deleterious action of V. destructor on bee colonies by their strong association with this mite [20], [28], [29]. In the United States, IAPV was first identified as a predictive factor for producing CCD symptoms [21]. However, subsequent surveys indicate that this virus was not the main factor responsible for losses but only one of multiple possible factors involved [30], [31]. In Europe, DWV and ABPV are generally suspected to be involved in winter colony losses [5], [22], [23]. Both are transmitted by the mite after feeding on bee pupae or adults [20], [29]. ABPV is highly virulent for bees when injected directly into the hemolymph [25], [29], [32]. On the contrary, DWV is much less virulent and generates typical symptoms of deformed wings only in bees from colonies highly infested with Varroa mites [33]. Despite its low virulence for bees, DWV infects a large range of bee tissues and can produce high titers in infected bees, suggesting a potential impact on bee physiology [34], [35].

Another potential candidate involved in colony losses is the microsporidian Nosema ceranae [36], [37] although the impact of this parasite on colony health in Europe still remains controversial [5], [38], [39].

Despite the fact that several studies have pointed out the potential involvement of pathogens on colony losses, no common pattern has yet emerged. This is probably due in part to the different parameters present in these studies such as climate, bee races, beekeeping practices or sampling methods. Indeed sampling often consists of bees collected once from either healthy, weak or dead colonies. In this context long term monitoring appears crucial, especially because pathogens causing colony death may have disappeared leaving room for opportunistic infections.

In this study, we aimed to identify predictive markers of winter honey bee colony losses. Although the up- or down-regulation of a marker in a sample may not be related to the principal cause(s) of the disease, such markers would help beekeepers or bee inspectors to set up a reliable diagnostic tool and to standardize bee colony monitoring all around the world. For this purpose we performed a survey of bee colonies in Switzerland over six months and checked for the presence and loads of eleven honey bee pathogens in the samples, as well as the levels of expression of three A. mellifera genes involved in bee immunity. <snip>

<snip>
6. Conclusion

This study provides evidence that Varroa destructor is a key player for winter colony losses and highlights the urgent need for efficient treatments against this parasite. The data suggest an indirect effect of mite infestation on honeybee overwintering abilities through the promotion of opportunistic viral infections, which eventually lead to the impairment of critical physiological functions. The knowledge gathered in this work will help to improve our understanding of bee losses, standardize methods for biomarkers of disease and finally to mitigate causes of bee declines.
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Re:The Demise of Bee ?
« Reply #1 on: 2013-07-12 15:34:35 »
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While virus, mould and parasites are all contributing factors to CCD, which in my opinion has been sufficiently correlated to immune system related issues for this to be the only viable working hypothesis,  multiple studies have proved that other immune system suppressants are implicated, not least high fructose corn syrup, neonicotinoids and possibly gmo's conferring neonicotinoid resistance. The former is possibly the most serious, as most North American apiarists use HFCS or derivations as honey substitutes for their hives.

Refer e.g. :

Honey constituents up-regulate detoxification and immunity genes in the western honey bee Apis mellifera, Published online before print April 29, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1303884110 http://www.pnas.org/content/110/22/8842

M J Palmer et al, 2013, Nat. Commun., DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2648 http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n3/full/ncomms2648.html

C Lu, K M Warchol, R A Callahan, B. Insectol., 2012, 65, 99 http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/chensheng-lu/files/2012/10/in-situ-replication-of-honey-bee-colony-collapse-disorder.pdf
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Re:The Demise of Bee ?
« Reply #2 on: 2013-07-15 11:27:29 »
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Quote from: Hermit on 2013-07-12 15:34:35   
While virus, mould and parasites are all contributing factors to CCD, which in my opinion has been sufficiently correlated to immune system related issues for this to be the only viable working hypothesis,  multiple studies have proved that other immune system suppressants are implicated, not least high fructose corn syrup, neonicotinoids and possibly gmo's conferring neonicotinoid resistance. The former is possibly the most serious, as most North American apiarists use HFCS or derivations as honey substitutes for their hives.

Refer e.g. :

Honey constituents up-regulate detoxification and immunity genes in the western honey bee Apis mellifera, Published online before print April 29, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1303884110 http://www.pnas.org/content/110/22/8842

M J Palmer et al, 2013, Nat. Commun., DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2648 http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n3/full/ncomms2648.html

C Lu, K M Warchol, R A Callahan, B. Insectol., 2012, 65, 99 http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/chensheng-lu/files/2012/10/in-situ-replication-of-honey-bee-colony-collapse-disorder.pdf



Thank you for the great info.

I had difficulty not replacing the word Bee with Human, as I read the articles. Are bees the canary in the coal mine ? There must be a cost to human health as well as we eat honey and corn laden with these wonderful cocktails the kids have made under the guise of "we need to do this to feed the growing world population." I see the EU has already banned neonicotinoids.
« Last Edit: 2013-07-15 11:28:43 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:The Demise of Bee ?
« Reply #3 on: 2013-07-15 11:42:01 »
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Just thought this fit here as additional info for the Meme

Cheers

Fritz


Concern over Health Canada's Misleading Ads about Honey

Source: Bee Aware
Author: Rebecca Melnyk
Date: 2011.01.06



HoneyBees.ca commissioned freelance writer  to investigate and report about Health Canada's 2011 ads on infant botulism.

Tibor Szabo Jr, father, professional beekeeper, and former Vice-President of the Ontario Beekeepers Association, is still buzzing from ads published by Health Canada that linked honey to infant botulism. "The ads were silly and misleading. They didn’t point out how miniscule the risk of contaminated honey is," he said.

Ogilvy Montreal Inc. designed the ads through an open competitive process for last year's Children’s Health and Safety Campaign administered by Health Canada. The ads ran for four months and, in the process, shook up the beekeeping community with giant pictures of a honey squeeze-bottle crossed out with a large red line. The focus of the ad, "you should never give honey to a child under 1," was written beneath the picture in small print. Instead of infant botulism, honey looked like the target. Instead of the myriad of other substances linked to botulism, honey was the only product singled out.
[Government of Canada Anti-Honey Camgaign]

When Health Canada was questioned about why honey was targeted, Media Relations Officer, Olivia Caron, replied: "In Canada, the only food that has been proven to be linked to infant botulism is honey; therefore Health Canada is advising parents and caregivers not to feed honey to children under one year of age. This position was first issued through a health warning in November 1985, following the first case of infant botulism in Canada linked to the consumption of honey."

Infant botulism is caused by bacteria called Clostridium botulinum which commonly exists in nature. The bacteria cannot grow or make toxins in honey, but if an infant swallows honey contaminated with spores of the bacteria, the spores may grow and produce toxins in the baby's body and could cause paralysis. Szabo says, "If they're going to single out honey, then what about corn syrup which could also potentially contain these same spores?"

Honey is rarely the means by which children under one may be exposed to botulism. Dr. John Austin, Research Scientist and Chair of the Botulism Reference Service for Canada states, "There have been very few cases of infant botulism in Canada that have been linked to honey consumption. In the majority of cases, a source of C. botulinum spores is never determined. Dust and soil are high factors in cases where the spores haven't been linked to anything." Does this mean that Health Canada should have created ads targeting construction sites or dusty basements? According to their website, 38 cases of infant botulism have been reported in Canada since 1979. In only "2 or 3 of these cases, the discovered spores have been linked to honey," confirms Austin, numbers which account for less than 8 percent of cases. Still, "honey is the only food that has been linked to infant botulism."

Why was honey and botulism chosen to be the target of this specific part of the campaign? Caron stated that they wanted the campaign to "be effective," so "extensive testing was performed on six focus groups across the country. Based on this research, a list of topics was devised and tested with Canadian parents." Out of the topics listed, "the honey concept was the most effective print ad concept." Caron further stated that the aim of the campaign was to "increase Canadian parents' awareness and access to information as well as to encourage them to visit Healthycanadians.gc.ca/kids a one-stop source of information to protect children."

Listed on the website are countless other potential threats to infants. It is also suggested that by six months of age, babies can begin to be introduced to solid foods such as meat. Yet, there is no mention of avoiding seal meat, a common cause of botulism in adults. It is further mentioned that water used for feeding infants under four months of age should be brought to a rolling boil for two minutes and then cooled to make sure it is sterile and will not make a baby sick. No ads circulated during the campaign displayed a crossed out water bottle.

What was intended to be an "effective" ad shocked beekeepers only months before the UN declared that the decline of honey bees is a global problem. Pesticides, parasites, viruses, and the modern transformation of rural landscapes have resulted in colony collapse around the world. Szabo believes that the ads, displayed in malls and consumer magazines, took away from the urgency of protecting honey bees.

"Honey is how I make my living," says Szabo. "More importantly, it's about the survival of our planet." Honey bees are essential crop pollinators. Pollination Guelph, a leading group in Canada dedicated to promoting the appreciation and understanding of pollinators, states that one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat and of the beverages we drink is delivered to us by pollinators. Honey bees are the most important managed pollinators in Canada, responsible for producing fruits, nuts, and seeds which are a critical part of many animals' diets. Approximately 1,000 of the estimated 1,330 global crop plants cultivated for food, beverages, fibers, condiments, spices and medicines depend on pollination by animals. Without honey bees, humanity would experience mass starvation.

Many opportunities exist to help support honey production. During focus testing for the campaign, it was demonstrated that food and nutrition (including food safety, food allergies and junk food) are major concerns for parents of children aged 12 and younger. If junk food was a major worry, honey could have been promoted because it is the "healthiest sweetener around," says Szabo. In 2008, Health Canada published a report requiring manufacturers to relabel over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to indicate that these medicines should not be used in children under 6. Szabo says, "Honey is the best cough syrup; it's natural and has been used for centuries." However, the report ignores honey as a suitable replacement.

When asked if their infant botulism prevention ads could have been designed with more clarity, Caron replied that since the ads were run, they have "received input from various stakeholders and have adjusted their messaging, moving forward to better communicate the fact that the botulism concern is specific to children under one, and that there are no safety concerns with older children or adults consuming honey.

Szabo declares this adjustment isn’t good enough: "They need to reverse the misconception by promoting Canadian honey. Advertise it. Tell people to buy honey. Support honey bees. Without them, there's no food or future for mankind."

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 at 11:39 pm and is filed under Canadian, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.
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Re:The Demise of Bee ?
« Reply #4 on: 2013-07-16 08:57:17 »
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Real life manifestation of civil unrest in the Bee Industry.

Cheers

Fritz


Bee rustlers on the loose in Ontario

Source: The Star
Author: Paul Hunter
Date: 2013.07.13



With honeybee populations under threat, beekeepers are stealing from beekeepers.

HAVELOCK, ONT.—Beekeepers, like the insects they breed, are creatures of routine, slaves to detail.

That’s especially true of someone like Ian Critchell, as he raises queen bees as part of his honey-making operation here amidst the wildflowers on a bucolic 77-acre farm east of Peterborough.

There are key moments that occur like clockwork in the two-week process, such as when the queen, almost ready to emerge from her cell, is transferred to a small plastic cage and placed in the mating box, which is basically a mini-hive. Then, at another specific moment, the worker bees are introduced. Then comes the day for releasing the queen. And so on. It’s exacting enough that when something is amiss, it is instantly obvious, as it was one Sunday last month.

That day, when Critchell opened the wooden mating boxes — where the worker bees are confined with their queen during a 48-hour bonding period — he was stunned. He understood immediately that someone had entered his property, walked up the hill past the house, past the barn, past the chickens and goats, to the large trucking containers where his mating boxes are stored. There the intruder would have taken the lid off one of the boxes, found the small plastic cage containing the queen, popped it open and taken the insect.

Then the perpetrator must have moved on to the next box and repeated the theft.

Talk about a buzz kill. Two of his queens were gone.

Critchell was the victim of bee rustling.

As bee populations across the province are decimated by parasites, pesticides, mites, viruses and changing habitats, those who raise and nurture the important pollinators are also under threat.

It appears beekeepers are stealing from beekeepers.

“They knew exactly what they were doing,” says the 51-year-old Critchell of the robber that hit his farm. “It’s someone who has been around the business. To take queens, this is not a newbie at this.”

Critchell wanted to shrug it off, stoically hoping whoever pinched his bees, which sell for $30 each, got all they needed and wouldn’t be back. Besides, he’d never be able to identify his bees even if he could find them.

“If someone has walked out with queens and they’re down the road, you can’t prove that they’re your queens. You can’t trace your bees. They’re not tagged like a cow,” he says.

But when he later noticed that six of his custom-made mating boxes, worth about $100 each, were also stolen, he called the police. They’re unique enough to be identified.

Critchell is not alone. In May, in another incident reported to police, a thief in the Goderich area decided to take the honey and run, pilfering seven active beehives worth about $2,100. That same month, Kawartha Lakes police were investigating the theft of eight hives worth about $1,600 from a producer near Lindsay.

The buzz in beekeeping circles is that this spring there was also a robbery near Waterloo, another north of Peterborough and yet another in the Ottawa area, none of which made it into the media.

Last year, in Abbotsford, B.C., there was a reported theft of 100 hive frames that amounted to about 500,000 bees and 3,600 kilograms of honey, valued at $100,000. In another large-scale theft, an Alberta beekeeper reported the loss of 150 hives — man-made wooden box structures containing frames of honeycomb cells and a bee colony — and about three million bees valued at about $60,000.

In each case, it’s assumed the criminal with sticky fingers was an industry insider. Each hive can weigh about 80 kilograms and contain between 30,000 and 80,000 bees. It would take a very brave or very knowledgeable burglar to pull off the crime. As one apiarist wryly put it in the Farmers Forum newspaper, “Who would be stealing airplanes? It would have to be a pilot.” On one online chat room related to bee matters, a poster named Honey-4-All suggested “every bee guy needs to keep his eyes open, (and) shotgun loaded.”

The thefts and any hint of vigilantism, however, seem to run contrary to an unwritten code among beekeepers, who are generally calm — a job requirement — folks who love nature, even if it comes with a few stings along the way.

There are 3,100 beekeepers registered in Ontario, from hobbyists to commercial operators. And most honey producers with a large number of hives use more than one location so the bees have access to enough nectar. To guard them all is impossible. So they typically just trust one another.

Guy Anderson, a large honey producer based in Kincardine, has 1,300 colonies of bees spread over 56 farms. He’d heard of thefts this spring in the southwestern part of the province, including the Goderich heist, and says those actions are out of character for people in the industry.

“I’ve just never met a beekeeper that would even ever consider doing something like that. This is some sort of slob beekeeper, like a slob hunter, someone who screws it up for everyone else,” he says. “I can’t see it being a hobbyist who is stealing. It sounds like it is a beekeeper — and not a very good beekeeper — that’s lost everything, then stealing seven hives or something like that to build back up.”

Clement Kent, a post-doctoral researcher at York University who studies honeybee genetics and behaviour, is also convinced that the masterminds behind the thefts must have intimate knowledge of bees and almost certainly want the hives for themselves.

“I’m saddened, not surprised,” says Kent. “They’d be stealing them to make up losses in their operation I would think. Everyone knows each other so it would be pretty hard to become the fence selling stolen bees.”

The thievery, most assume, is simple economics.

“If there’s a shortage of anything, there’s going to be more theft of it,” says beekeeper Len Hordyk, who has 30 hives in two locations in Listowel.

The winter and spring has not been kind to honeybees. While Paul Kozak, the provincial apiarist for Ontario, does not yet have numbers in for this year, he says that “anecdotally, I’ve heard concerns.”

Anderson doesn’t need provincial stats to know what happened. He lost 795 of his 1,300 hives, or about 61 per cent of his bees over winter. It will take him two years to build it back up.

Kozak says an average of 15 per cent mortality in the commercial sector is the threshold and a honey producer at or below that is considered to be “doing well.” Going into 2012, Kozak says, was one of the “best years on record for winter survival” with a colony mortality on average of about 13 per cent. The year before, there was a 43-per-cent mortality rate, the highest on record. That followed a year with 20 per cent mortality. The three years previous hovered around 33 per cent.

Hordyk lost 80 per cent of his bees from one of his yards this winter.

“This spring I was discouraged,” he says. “But I’ll probably give it another year. Farmers always say next year will be better.”

The plight of the bees has been garnering international headlines recently. Pesticides recently killed an estimated 50,000 bumblebees in an Oregon big-box-store parking lot, causing public outrage.

In the Star this month, there was a report of an apiarist in Elmwood, Ont., who lost an estimated 37 million bees, more than half of his stock, as a result of pesticides, he believes. The Canadian Honey Council says the estimated bee population in this country has dropped 35 per cent over the last three years.

There remain approximately 100,000 honeybee colonies in Ontario and honey production contributes $25 million to the provincial economy.

This week, the Ontario government announced it is bringing together a group of experts — including beekeepers, scientists and farmers — as the Bee Health Working Group. It will provide recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risk to honeybees from exposure to neonicotinoid, the pesticide blamed for the deaths in Elmwood.

Critchell, meanwhile, is learning all too well that a pressing new threat is criminal behaviour. He says police don’t hold out much hope that they’ll make an arrest in the theft of his queens.

So Critchell is now doing what he would never imagined necessary when he bought this property — it was last used for a $10-million marijuana-growing operation — just over a year ago.

He locks the gate at the entrance to his long narrow driveway when he takes his goods to the market in Port Perry every Saturday. He locks his storage containers as well. He’s also set up his own sting operation, installing three security cameras.

One camera did pick up an unwanted visitor, who drove in but immediately departed when he got close enough to see Critchell’s car, but it was only a partial image. And a neighbour reported recently seeing an intruder in the thick bushes that were grown at the front of his property to help hide the land’s previous use.

The theft and new security is troubling to a soft-spoken, thoughtful man who simply wanted an idyllic life raising the bees he once had scattered over 25 farms while he lived in Whitby. Here he has consolidated his 110 colonies.

“I moved everything here to make life a little bit easier for the bees and myself. The habitat is very good for them,” says Critchell, who has kept bees since he was a teenager in southern England. “It’s like having a pet dog or cat. You kind of get used to having them close to you. For me to feel at home, it’s good to have a couple of beehives close.”
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