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Well lookee here... people using science to figure out what's killing all the poor bees.

Spoiler: It's the freaking pesticide.

http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0405-hance_colonycollapse_pesticides.html
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Albert Kuo's profile photoGary Young's profile photoJohn A. Tamplin's profile photoBrandon Donnelson's profile photo
13 comments
 
It's an interesting result, but it doesn't mean that it's the cause of the specific collapses that have occurred so far. A colony collapse is just a failure mode; multiple unrelated causes can cause the same failure mode.

Of course, it's certainly an..... intuitively satisfying.... hypothesis. :P
 
I'm glad they found a cause. Sucks to hear pesticide is to blame for another evil deed.
 
Hmm, a chemical designed to kill insects, nematodes, slugs, etc causing harm to an insect -- who ever would have thought of that? That is about as shocking as the heavy use of herbicides leading to herbicide resistance in the species it is used against.

What's next, will we discover you get wet when you dive in the pool?
 
+John Tamplin I think point here is that nicotinides were extensively tested on bees, and found no problem. The effect here (if this is correct) is extremely subtle.
 
What the snot, there feeding bees High Fructose Corn Syrup. Nice study!
enki wa
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Extensively tested for immediate fatalities, not tested for sub critical damage.
 
High-fructose corn syrup as the vector. Amazing.
 
I've been following / covering this story since it broke several years ago. Beekeepers figured it out almost immediately, but the pesticide manufacturers took a page from Big Tobacco and made loads of noise to obscure focus. "A Spring Without Bees," one of the first books on CCD, published 4 years ago, made a devastating case against neonicotinoids: http://www.amazon.com/Spring-without-Bees-Collapse-Endangered/dp/1599214326 It's just taken a while to catch up with more data.

"The best science available" may be among the snarkiest phrases out there. If research isn't funded, then the best science may not be so good. And years can easily go by in the time it takes to for studies to be funded, conducted and published.

CCD is just one of many wildlife health catastrophes. Considering that nearly three quarters of all diseses are zoonotic, which means that they affect multiple species, including humans, you'd think we'd put more money into research, yet wildlife biologists are among the most under /insecurely funded. Adding to the mess, they often publish in obsure subsciption-required journals.

There really needs to be a coordinated m-health / citizen scientist / open science effort aimed at wildlife health. Over the years (going all the way back to West NIle), I have seen all kinds of clever schemes suggested and some even started only to wither for lack of funding. The politics can be pretty thick (there are big economic consequences for admitting that certain widlife / livestock diseass are circulating).

My friends at InSTEDD (which is party Google-funded) have been doing some amazing work re human health surveillance in SE Asia. The same sort of effort needs to be directed toward wildlife.

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btw, I've been trying to reach you for a while. I have what I think could be a kind of sparky use for G+. Hoped to see you at Refresh, but when that was canceled, Shay was kind enough to send me your website page with your email address. I promptly wrote, cc'ing Shay. He got it, so I'm guessing yours is stuck in a spam filter... sigh.
 
As a hobby beekeeper (+Cedars Farm), I find this to be an interesting experiment. However, I agree with +Dan Morrill that this is currently just one possible cause. There are plenty of pathogens that affect bee hives, and the increased commercialization of bees transported across state lines for crop pollination, the heavy use of miticides resulting in resistant forms of Varroa mites (a natural bee parasite), etc., are all compounding to put pressure on over-wintering bees. Over-wintering is already difficult for bees, and some hives are not expected to survive the winter even without CCD.
 
+Todd Larsen You are absolutely right: bees are under siege. Although the combination of viral, fungal, bacterial, parasite and chemical threats is clearly lethal, neonicotinoids could very well be the CCD driver. In 2010, a Dutch researcher, Henk Tennekes, published a paper in the journal, "Toxicology" that got so much attention, he followed up with a book called "The Systemic Insecticides: Disaster in the Making" (http://www.disasterinthemaking.com/reviews.html). Also take a look at the site's news article section: http://www.disasterinthemaking.com/what_the_papers_say.html) It's a jaw-dropper.
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