26 February 2013

Who Killed The Honey Bee (BBC)

Bees are dying in their millions. It is an ecological crisis that threatens to bring global agriculture to a standstill. Introduced by Martha Kearney, this documentary explores the reasons behind the decline of bee colonies across the globe, investigating what might be at the root of this devastation.
Honey bees are the number one insect pollinator on the planet, responsible for the production of over 90 crops. Apples, berries, cucumbers, nuts, cabbages and even cotton will struggle to be produced if bee colonies continue to decline at the current rate. Empty hives have been reported from as far afield as Taipei and Tennessee. In England, the matter has caused beekeepers to march on Parliament to call on the government to fund research into what they say is potentially a bigger threat to humanity than the current financial crisis.
Investigating the problem from a global perspective, the programme makers travel from the farm belt of California to the flatlands of East Anglia to the outback of Australia. They talk to the beekeepers whose livelihoods are threatened by colony collapse disorder, the scientists entrusted with solving the problem, and the Australian beekeepers who are making a fortune replacing the planet's dying bees. They also look at some of the possible reasons for the declining numbers - is it down to a bee plague, pesticides, malnutrition? Or is the answer something even more frightening?

Colony Collapse Disorder

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.[1] Colony collapse is significant economically because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees; and ecologically, because of the major role that bees play in the reproduction of plant communities in the wild.

12 things to prevent Colony Collapse Disorder:

#1 General approach: use organic practices
#2 General approach: strengthen bee immune system instead of "attack and kill" what nature uses to remove weak bees
#3 Don't use insecticide (for mite control or any other insect problem) inside of hives - bees are insects!
#4 Allow bees to create their own cell size (typically smaller) - no more pre-made foundation or cells
#5 Genetics based on "survival of the fittest" is superior to genetics resulting from mass production where the weak are medicated
#6 Swarming is the natural way to good genetics
#7 Local bees have adapted to challenges in your area
#8 Stop moving hives
#9 Feed bees honey, not sugar water
#10 Feed bees polyculture blossoms, not monoculture
#11 Stop using insecticides on crops - bees are insects!
#12 Raise hives off the ground

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