Bee Colony Collapse Disorder - a wasted opportunity and the Climate change mongerers win yet more funds to squander
""Aristotle identified bees as the most hard working of insects, and with one in three mouthfuls (of food ?) coming from insect-pollinated crops, we need to support bees and other pollinators. " is how Hilary Benn announced an " investment" of up to £10 Mn in research on pollinating insects - including honey and bumble bees, butterflies and moths.
Honey bees are dying across the world at a terrifying rate. The apian epidemic started in the United States, where entire populations of honey bees have simply vanished in the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). At least a quarter of America’s 2.5 million honeybee colonies have been wiped out already . UK funding on honeybee research in 1978 was £180,000.
This "invesment" is a joint initiative from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Defra, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Wellcome Trust and the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly .
The Press release accompanying this makes some odd, even absurd claims.."These insects are susceptible to a variety of disease and environmental threats, some of which have increased significantly over the last five to ten years. " - well .... yes .... varroa mite and the omni ‐present problem of bacterial brood disease, particularly European Foul Brood (EFB) and American Foul Brood (AFB). Nosema ceranae infection has also been found and is becoming increasingly common. Additional ‘exotic’ threats from the possible arrival in the UK of Small Hive Beetle (SHB) and Tropilaelaps mites have generated further concern for the future of beekeeping.
The Press release then makes the astonishing claim that ..."Climate change, in particular warmer winters and wetter summers, has had a major impact on pollinators." Which is total bollocks and not an argument that would be welcomed by any beekeeper.
What is even more worrying is the fact that "The funding will be made available to research teams across the UK under the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership." (who ?) ..."Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) is a collaborative partnership involving the UK research councils, business and policy-making organisations and was launched on 18th June 2008. LWEC will invest £1 billion over five years in programmes to address national and international needs arising from the pace, magnitude and extent of climate and other types of environmental change.
So if you want money to investigate colony collapse disorder which was first reported in October 2006 in the US and has spread worldwide since, you had better have an environmental angle to your research or you are fucked. See the LWEC website for more news of the coming apocalypse.
Thoughts on Bee Colony Collapse
Sudden, unexpected collapse of bee colonies is , whilst not global, (Canada, Brazil, US, parts of Europe) is widespread - it's ecnomic consequences for agriculture, especially soft fruit are becoming increasingly severe.
1 A friend exports beeswax from Zambia to the US.
2. An important ingredient of high quality pipstick is beswax.
3. In the US posh ladies are very careful about what they put on (and in) their body orifices and as a result there are strict contrls over the levels of heavy metals allowed in beeswax for cosmetic use - lead, cadmium, chromium.
4. Beeeswax sourced in Europe and the US has unaccceptable levels of heavy metal contamination which is said to be due to the high levels of industrial pollutants which the bees collect in pollen and is concentrated in beeswax exudates.
5. Made in the (realtively ) poluttion free African rural air their beeswax finds a ready market and a premium price.
6. Ladies in Europe are not so lucky, controls are not so stringent and so they can OD on Cadmium as much as they wish.
Whilst there have been many theories about colony collapse there has been little success in finding a cause. see a post here - Saturday, September 08, 2007Is US "Colony Collapse Disorder" due to the Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) and a result of slackening import controls on honeybees ?
The 12,000 members of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA founded 1874) represents 90 % of beekeepers within the UK and have tirelessly lobbied for help on CCD. They point out that at no cost they provide a pollination service to agriculture contributes over £165 million p.a. to the economy
The BBKA point out the stark reality of the gathering storm is evidenced by the 2007 ‐08 winter losses in England which reached a record 30%, almost double that of the previous year.
The end result will be in 5 years some specious clap trap about the loss of a butterflies and the fact that when it rains crop yields decline.
In short. Fuck All.