Dennis van Engelsdorp: Why Are the Bees Dying?

Bee on a Dandelion

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Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews on Aug 4, 2013

With a third of food production dependent on bees, a new study finds out the reason behind the sharp decline in their population. 


The Real News Network
Aug. 4, 2013


We really hoped that the beginning of this to find one cause for these declines, but it’s pretty clear that there are many factors coming together. And so we suspect honeybee diseases, especially the varroa mite, which is this large parasitic vampire mite that sucks the blood of bees and also passes viruses from bees to bee. We also suspect pesticides, both the pesticides beekeepers apply to the colonies to control the verroa mite, but also pesticides that are sprayed to fields and bees bring back to the colony. The third one is lack of good nutrition. And increasingly we’ve seen a lot of area that used to grow meadows of flowering plants that provided good nutrition for bees getting plowed under with corn and soybean. So we think it’s a combination of these factors.

DESVARIEUX: So, is it pesticide exposure interacting with pathogens that make–causes negative effect on bees? Essentially, is there a way that we could have safe levels of pesticides so that we don’t kill bees?

VAN ENGELSDORP: That’s a really good question, because back 20 years ago, a pesticide kill was easy to see. You would find a lot of dead bees in front of your colony. However, pesticides have become much more advanced. And so they’re not killing bees directly as pronounced as they have before. Still you’ll see mortality that’s clearly pesticide kill, but we think pesticides are having a sublethal effect. So they’re weakening the bees’ immune system or they’re changing the bees’ behavior. And certainly that was one of the major findings of the study that we’re talking about today.



from the archives:

Killing Bees: Are Government and Industry Responsible? + Hope for bees — 48 hours to act!

Dennis vanEngelsdorp: Where have the bees gone?

15 thoughts on “Dennis van Engelsdorp: Why Are the Bees Dying?

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  4. There are studies that reveal that glyphosate (the herbicide in roundup) damages the bees immune systems, and makes them more vulnerable to pesticides and other toxins. It does that to humans too, by damaging the biota in the intestinal system. Devastating article in April 18 issue of Entropy. A must read for anyone who eats. There are no restrictions on glyphosate, as it is considered harmless. Its not only killing the bees, its killing the humans.

  5. Nine billion people, converting the world’s forests, meadows and wetlands into soy bean and corn fields…

    • I don’t buy the population argument either, as the birth-rate is allegedly flat-lining, while the toxic damage is increasing exponentially.

      No it is the mindless destruction of habitats because of corporate greed for profit, not to increase food but to process disease causing sterile biomass, compounded with pollution, pesticides, herbicides & the whole cocktail of abuse.

      If you think about, if even a small percentage of people were to become caring apiarists (ie ecologically sensitized) we’d have more bees and theoretically less problems. But the biodiversity is being systematically degraded.

      If you watch the documentary King Korn, it is abundantly clear that massive monoculture consolidation is a scourge that is destroying all the remaining vestiges of family farming & threatening all smakll-scale organic growing.

      It is utterly lunatic because it cannot continue without huge government tax-payer subsidies. As Michael Pollan points out, we are hyper-efficiently producing perfect rubbish to poison cattle and give human beings life threatening illnesses.

      It is completely and totally mad & can only end in catastrophic breakdown of living systems.

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