We recently reported on the mystery of bees that are disappearing from their hives and being found dead?or not being found at all. Now it turns out that organic beekeepers are not having this problem.

The website of the Organic Consumers Association quotes organic beekeeper Sharon Labchuk as saying, “I’m on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list. The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies.”read more

UPDATE – The same researcher who discovered the SARS virus in 2003 has found a microbe that may be causing the downfall of several strains of bees.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Sabin Russell reports that researcher Joe DeRisi conducted tests on dead bees and found genes from a parasite which researchers in Spain have identified as a bee killer.

UPDATE: The Boston Herald reports that the missing honeybee phenomenon has now spread to Hawaii.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

Linda Howe will have a report about this on Dreamland!

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This week on Dreamland, Linda Howe reports on the frightening disappearance of thousands of bees. Since these are the insects that pollinate the flowers of the foods we eat, this could be the start of a major emergency.

This is a problem in the US that has been reported in around half the states and has now spread to Canada. The UK and eight other European countries also report the same problem: Spain, Poland, Greece, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, and Germany. Jasper Copping reports in the British Telegraph newspaper that in London, over 4,000 hives in London alone, two-thirds of the bees are missing. Sometimes the dead bees are found, but often the bees seem to have simply disappeared.
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Linda Howe will soon file a report on the current mystery of missing bees. This has been going on for about a year, when commercial beekeepers first began noticing that huge numbers of their bees were missing.

In New Scientist, Michael Reilly quotes bee expert May Berenbaum as saying, “Imagine waking one morning to find 80% of the people in your community are just gone.”

Reilly reports that, “bustling colonies, tens of thousands strong, were emptying in a matter of days. Systematic searches for dead bees around the colonies mostly drew a blank.” As we noted in an earlier story, piles of dead bees have turned up in swimming pools in some locations, but they mostly seem to have vanished into thin air.
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