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What Happened on Oahu Didnít Stay on Oahu
Townhall.com ^ | March 26, 2016 | Paul Driessen

Posted on 03/26/2016 5:34:13 AM PDT by Kaslin

If modern activist groups held sway in the mid-nineteenth century, countless multitudes would have died from typhoid fever and cholera. The “miasma” paradigm held that the diseases were caused by foul air arising from putrid matter – and only dogged scientific work by William Budd, John Snow and others finally convinced medical and health authorities that the agent was lethal organisms in drinking water.

Ultimately, the investigators’ persistence led to discoveries of Vibrio and Salmonella bacteria, the use of chlorine-based disinfectants for drains, water purification and hand washing, programs that kept sewage away from drinking water supplies, and steady advances in germ and virus theories of medicine.

Parallels exist today, with activist politics driving the science, rather than solid science guiding informed public policy decisions. One such arena is neonicotinoid pesticides and large-scale bee deaths.

Europeans introduced domesticated honeybees to North America in the early 1600s. They helped foster phenomenal growth in important food crops like tomatoes and almonds. Indeed, over 60% of all U.S. beehives are needed each spring just to pollinate California’s extensive almond groves. By contrast, staples like wheat, rice, corn and most citrus fruits do not require animal pollination at all (by bees, hummingbirds, hover flies, butterflies and bats); these crops are self-pollinating or wind-pollinated.

Commercial beekeeping grew steadily, and today about 1% of all beekeepers manage nearly 80% of the 2.7 million U.S. honeybee colonies. The system generally functioned well until 1987, when a vicious new pest arrived. As the appropriately named Varroa destructor mite spread, beekeepers began reporting major to total losses of bees in Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin hives in spring 2006, and later in Florida, the Dakotas, southern states, both U.S. coasts, Europe and elsewhere.

Dubbed “colony collapse disorder” (CCD), the problem led to scarifying news stories about a “bee-pocalypse” and the imminent demise of modern agriculture. However, inexplicable bee colony losses had been reported in 1898, 1903, the 1960s and 1970s – even as far back as 940 AD in Ireland!

Explanations included an undefined “disappearing disease,” organophosphate pesticides, cell phone towers, GM crops that embed Bt insect killers in their genetic makeup, and even a lack of “moral fiber” in bees, Paradigms and Demographics blogspot editor Rich Kozlovich notes. A psychic, he adds, claimed she was communicating with domesticated bees, who told her they were tired of being enslaved by humans and were leaving their hives to protest their crowded, inhumane conditions!

Mounting evidence suggests that today’s die-offs are primarily due to Varroa mites, along with parasitic phorid flies, Nosema fungal parasites, the tobacco ringspot virus – and even beekeepers misusing or over-using pesticides in hives to control disease outbreaks, by killing tiny bugs on little bees.

However, anti-pesticide activists and some news stories continue to blame colony deaths and other bee problems on neonicotinoid insecticides. This new class of chemicals protects crops primarily (97% of the time) by coating seeds, letting plants incorporate the pesticide into their leaves and stems, to target insects that feed on them, without harming beneficial bugs. The regular rotation of different neonic products is also the only means currently available to kill the Asian psyllids that spread “citrus greening disease” (HLB), which is decimating citrus groves in Florida and is now spreading to Texas and California groves.

This is where solid scientific detective work becomes vital. Without it, the wrong conclusions are drawn, the wrong “solutions” are applied, and the unintended consequences can be serious. For example, banning neonics will likely mean farmers are forced to use insecticides that truly are dangerous for bees.

Over the past 50 years, Varroa mites have killed off millions of honeybee colonies around the world, scientists note. Among the diseases the mites carry is deformed wing virus, which results in short, twisted or otherwise deformed and useless wings. Like many other viral infections, DWV had long been present in hives, but was generally considered harmless before Varroa became ubiquitous. Disease-carrying mites bite through the bees’ hard shell (exoskeleton) and inject viruses and infections directly into the bee blood (hemolymph). The mites’ saliva also carries an enzyme that compromises the bees’ immune systems, making the diseases far more toxic.

Making the beekeepers’ challenge even more daunting, female Varroas often lay eggs in the same hexagonal beehive cells where the queen lays newly fertilized eggs, before worker bees “cap” the incubator cells. New honeybees then emerge with an infected mite already attached. And to top it off:

Trying to kill vicious bugs you can’t even see, in a box filled with some 40,000 buzzing bees that you don’t want to hurt, using chemicals that could easily become toxic – and that the Varroa mites quickly become resistant to – is a devilishly complicated business, beekeepers like Randy Oliver attest. In fact, they are already on their third generation of miticides, and Varroa have become resistant to all of them. So the battle rages on, as pesticide companies again try to gain the upper hand against the crafty pests.

Varroa was discovered on Oahu in August 2007. By spring 2008, 274 of 419 honeybee colonies on Oahu had collapsed, and wild bees had disappeared from its urban areas. Despite quarantine measures, by late 2010 the mite spread throughout the island of Hawaii. Now even effective Varroa control cannot eradicate DWV, since the disease is in their hemolymph and transmitted through feeding and sexual activity.

Studies in the United Kingdom and New Zealand found similar mite, DWV infection and CCD patterns.

Another nasty plague on honeybee houses involves parasitic phorid flies, which have now been found in California, Vermont and South Dakota hives. The flies stab bee abdomens and lay their eggs inside. When they hatch, fly larvae attack the bees’ bodies and brains, disorienting them and causing them to fly in circles and at night – giving rise to stories about zombie bees, or “zombees.” As the larvae mature into new flies, they exit the bees at their necks, decapitating them. Not surprisingly, phorid flies also carry DWV, Nosema parasites and other bee diseases.

Meanwhile, in the real world where bees interact with nature, agriculture and pesticides (rather than with artificial laboratory conditions and egregious over-exposure to those pesticides), multiple studies in Canadian and other countries’ canola and corn fields have concluded that neonicotinoids do not harm bees when used properly. And in equally good news, U.S. Department of Agriculture, StatsCanada, EU and UN data show that bee populationshave been increasing over the past several years, with American and Canadian colony totals reaching their highest levels in a decade or more.

And yet, news stories still say neonics threaten domesticated and wild bees with zombee-ism and extinction. That’s partly because anti-pesticide groups are well funded, well organized, sophisticated in public relations, and aided by journalists who are lazy, gullible, believe the activist claims and support their cause, or simply live by the mantra “if it bleeds, it leads.” A phony bee-pocalypse sells papers.

The activists employ Saul Alinsky tactics to achieve political goals by manipulating science. They select and vilify a target. Devise a “scientific study” that predicts a public health disaster. Release it to the media, before honest scientists can analyze and criticize it. Generate “news” stories featuring emotional headlines and public consternation. Develop a Bigger Government “solution,” and intimidate legislators and regulators until they impose it. Pressure manufacturers to stop making and selling the product.

Too often, the campaigns are accompanied by callous attitudes about the unintended consequences. If banning neonics means older, more toxic pesticides kill millions of bees, so be it. If a DDT ban gives environmentalists more power and influence, millions of children and parents dying from malaria might be an acceptable price; at least they won’t be exposed to exaggerated or fabricated risks from DDT.

When activism and politics drives science, both science and society pay dearly. The stakes are too high, for wildlife and people, to let this continue. The perpetrators must be outed and defanged.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: Hawaii
KEYWORDS: agriculture; bees; hawaii; oahu; pesticides; science
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1 posted on 03/26/2016 5:34:13 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
I admit I thought the headline referred to the virulent strain of barackobamacoccus that eventually reached the US mainland.
2 posted on 03/26/2016 5:41:11 AM PDT by relictele (Principiis obsta & Finem respice - Resist The Beginnings & Consider The Ends.)
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To: Kaslin

The headline sure did not seem to relate to the total story of “collapse update”. It was, however, an interesting story.


3 posted on 03/26/2016 5:54:40 AM PDT by 3D-JOY (I'm on the TRUMP train!)
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To: Kaslin

Wow. An article I can comment on from firsthand knowledge.

The article is correct in part where it notes that neonics are not the issue. The big issue is still varroa and varroa related disease and hive weakness caused by varroa.

However, the article also failed to mention that lousy beekeeping practices and rotten forage caused by current ag practices are major contributing issues.


4 posted on 03/26/2016 6:44:04 AM PDT by RKBA Democrat (GOP delenda est)
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To: Kaslin
I am a beekeeper. The hive losses I've had over the past 38 years have been from:

Not splitting a colony which has grown too fast or kill off replacement queen cells.

Being greedy and leaving inadequate honey (food reserves for overwintering)

Poor ventilation

Varoa mites(nasty little bastards)

Tracheal Mites

Hive beetles (gross)

Failing to re-queen after a 4th season.

The only ones impractical to try to fix are Varoa mites and hive beetles. It's best to kill off the hive, boil the wood-ware in water with lye, move to another location and start over again. I have also found recent successes by raising the height of my hives off the ground to about ten feet high. I use those folding portable deer hunting stands. This has eliminated my beetle problem, ventilation issues, and I have yet to get Varoa mites in an elevated hive. I noticed that swarms and wild colonies make their hives up in the trees or other structures from eight to forty feet up. I think being close to the soil invites all kinds of bacteria, bugs, parasites, damp dew every day / night, and such.

5 posted on 03/26/2016 6:49:55 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: Kaslin

I want to hear more about the bee “medium.” She sounds like a fun gal to party with ... if you can get her down out of her tree.


6 posted on 03/26/2016 6:52:09 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: Kaslin

Just wanted to add to this. If you care about the bees, do not destroy your first bursts of dandelions in early spring. (not a rich source, I know) This is the first blooms feeding for a lot of bees. After the first flush, do what you must but leave the first for the hungry bees.


7 posted on 03/26/2016 6:56:22 AM PDT by griswold3 (Just another unlicensed nonconformist in am dangerous Liberal world.)
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To: Kaslin

Since my son discovered that bees like celosia, he wants to plant them in all the flowerbeds so that we have a yard full of busy little bees.

On-topic, the misuse of science by anti-science Luddite leftists is nothing new. “Organic” foods, the use of “supplements” as pharmaceuticals, anthropogenic “climate change,” the majority of nutrition fads—all are examples of the misuse of science to push an agenda.

Honestly, I wish that conservatives were distinctly better in this area, but they are not. Sometimes, they push a different agenda with pseudo-science, and other times, they are in lock-step with the leftist agenda.


8 posted on 03/26/2016 7:25:04 AM PDT by exDemMom (Current visual of the hole the US continues to dig itself into: http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
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To: blackdog

Wow. Excellent. Makes total sense. I really miss the bees around here (eastern PA).

I’ve been asking this for years, you may be able to help. One time only, around 20 yrs ago, I saw a 1/4 inch totally yellow bee. Bright, beautiful, pure yellow. Never saw one again and can’t find any info on it. Any ideas?


9 posted on 03/26/2016 7:32:44 AM PDT by huldah1776 ( Vote Pro-life! Allow God to bless America before He avenges the death of the innocent.)
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To: huldah1776
I have sometimes seen what looks close to that. When the ash trees and oak trees go full bloom in their pollen, it's so much that a bee can be coated in it. Pollen is very sticky to anything furry, like a bee.

I started my first bee hive in Chestnut Hill, Montgomery County. That's on the edg-ish of North Philadelphia.

When the bee gets back to the hive, other attendant bees will help get it cleaned up of pollen. They are very good at cleaning each other up.

10 posted on 03/26/2016 7:38:34 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: griswold3

Dandelions and red maple bloom are the first end of winter meals for the bees. It triggers the queen to lay her eggs. The more dandelions and red maples, the more she lays her eggs.


11 posted on 03/26/2016 7:41:13 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: griswold3

Other than the bees, the red maple is the most worthless tree ever! It breaks at the drop of a hat. Attracts carpenter ants like a dinner bell. But still great for the bees.


12 posted on 03/26/2016 7:43:15 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: Kaslin

And Global Warming too.


13 posted on 03/26/2016 7:43:53 AM PDT by arthurus (Het is waar. Tutti i liberali sono feccia.)
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To: blackdog

I’m no beekeeper but admire those that can do it. Yours was a good read! I finally saw a honeybee back in my yard towards the end of the season and noticed one yesterday. Hopefully the flowers, etc. that I do hav will keep them coming back.


14 posted on 03/26/2016 7:58:16 AM PDT by SueRae (An election like no other..)
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To: relictele

HAHAHA1!


15 posted on 03/26/2016 7:58:44 AM PDT by SueRae (An election like no other..)
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To: blackdog

The small hive beetle is an interesting creature. It comes from sub Sahara Africa, buries its way through the honeycomb as a larva, leaves the hive and pupates in the ground away from the hive. The adult then flies around to mate & lay its eggs in any beehive available in the territory. It is small enough to sneak past the guard bees. One (at least , this one) would not expect these beasties to survive the winter here in east central Illinois, as the ground freezes and should do them in. However, I suspect some may overwinter as adults, eggs or larva in the cluster, allowing a fresh batch in the spring.


16 posted on 03/26/2016 10:50:53 AM PDT by Western Phil
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To: Kaslin

I remember when it was global warming’s fault.


17 posted on 03/26/2016 11:18:56 AM PDT by Organic Panic
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Thanks Kaslin.
Dubbed “colony collapse disorder” (CCD)... Mounting evidence suggests that today’s die-offs are primarily due to Varroa mites, along with parasitic phorid flies, Nosema fungal parasites, the tobacco ringspot virus... However, anti-pesticide activists and some news stories continue to blame colony deaths and other bee problems on neonicotinoid insecticides.
Oddly enough, my first exposure to CCD being due to throat mites was via OG magazine, and books like "Carrots Love Tomatoes".


18 posted on 03/26/2016 11:46:15 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Here's to the day the forensics people scrape what's left of Putin off the ceiling of his limo.)
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To: IronJack

She may bee sweet at first; butt in the end; she’ll sting ya!


19 posted on 03/27/2016 3:36:14 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Elsie

True, but it keeps her busy, even if she’s surrounded by drones.


20 posted on 03/27/2016 6:23:29 AM PDT by IronJack
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