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Stress may be behind bee colony collapse


Posted on Thursday, 12 February, 2015 | Comment icon 14 comments

Are young bees being forced to grow up too quickly ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Mark Winterbourne
Immense pressure being placed upon younger bees may be the key factor in colony collapse disorder.
The disappearance of bee populations in countries all over the world remains one of the most talked about mysteries of our time. With scientists unable to agree on exactly what is causing it, taking action to prevent further bee decline is notoriously problematic.

Now researchers in London have put forward a new theory in an effort to get to the bottom of the mystery which implicates stress as the main contributing factor in the collapse of bee colonies.

The study suggests that as more and more adult bees are being killed by disease and starvation, the younger bees are being forced to grow up too fast in order to take their place.

"Young bees leaving the hive early is likely to be an adaptive behavior to a reduction in the number of older foraging bees," said lead researcher Dr Clint Perry.

"But if the increased death rate continues for too long, or the hive isn’t big enough to withstand it in the short term, this natural response could upset the societal balance of the colony and have catastrophic consequences."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (14)

Tags: Bees, Collapse

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by maximusnow on 12 February, 2015, 17:11
We need to create adult only bath hives for stress relief Including tiny poles on a raised honey comb floor with a nectar bar. May-bee start a Bee Blog called the BUZZ with tips on where to find plants for recreational use. The end result would bee an increase in single parent hives with an explosive population of rebellious youth that rarely rise above poverty. Over time, a small fraction of bees will have control over all of the world’s honey reserves and corrupt leadership will start wars with other hives. The upside is that War could create job opportunities for young bees with daddy issue... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by rashore on 12 February, 2015, 17:33
There isn't any one key to the bees troubles. Just like there isn't any one magic bullet to a lot of other situations, and all we do is waste time and effort trying to pin that single thing- when it isn't a single thing at all. It's pesticides and herbicides, polluted waters, restricted diets, diet habitat loss and poisoning, farming practices like the shuttling of hives from crop to crop, stress factors, air quality factors, frequency factors.. and I'm probably forgetting a few. And yes, they are stressed from all these things impacting them as well. Another problem is how heavily we rely on ... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by k0zm1k on 12 February, 2015, 22:01
I spent about a year working as a beekeeper here in the US. The common belief amongst beekeepers has always been that pesticides, pollution, and parasites are the number one culprits for Colony Collapse. The former two being far more of a factor than the parasites (most of our day consisted on delivering hives medicine to fight off the parasitic mites which can completely destroy a colony if left untreated). Our bees never suffered from total Collapse because we refused to do business with farmers who used pesticides on their crops (our largest concern was actually the potential for hives to A... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Foil Hat Ninja on 12 February, 2015, 23:14
That's three number one culprits, a feat worthy of the Guinness Book of Records.
Comment icon #9 Posted by k0zm1k on 12 February, 2015, 23:15
That's three number one culprits, a feat worthy of the Guinness Book of Records. I'm pretty amazing. It's true. *takesabow* #stayhumble
Comment icon #10 Posted by CrimsonKing on 13 February, 2015, 0:18
Bees are amazing creatures and certainly ones we cannot afford to let disappear...
Comment icon #11 Posted by rashore on 13 February, 2015, 0:22
Well k0zm1k... what is your take on honeybees verses other bees? I mean, since you have been in the industry, you might have a different take on it than other beekeepers might. Where I live in the midwest fuitland, there are some beekeepers that are starting to focus more on orchard or other specialized bees- mostly because they seem to have been less impacted and just as useful in their niches as honeybees. Other beekeeps are all about honeybees, but are starting to think more about protecting their hives, and using more "organic" methods. I'm almost getting the feel that as much as folks wan... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sundew on 13 February, 2015, 3:01
I spent about a year working as a beekeeper here in the US. The common belief amongst beekeepers has always been that pesticides, pollution, and parasites are the number one culprits for Colony Collapse. The former two being far more of a factor than the parasites (most of our day consisted on delivering hives medicine to fight off the parasitic mites which can completely destroy a colony if left untreated). Our bees never suffered from total Collapse because we refused to do business with farmers who used pesticides on their crops (our largest concern was actually the potential for hives to A... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by k0zm1k on 13 February, 2015, 3:34
Well k0zm1k... what is your take on honeybees verses other bees? I mean, since you have been in the industry, you might have a different take on it than other beekeepers might. Where I live in the midwest fuitland, there are some beekeepers that are starting to focus more on orchard or other specialized bees- mostly because they seem to have been less impacted and just as useful in their niches as honeybees. Other beekeeps are all about honeybees, but are starting to think more about protecting their hives, and using more "organic" methods. I'm almost getting the feel that as much as folks wan... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by rashore on 13 February, 2015, 14:43
I don't think I can say I keep bees- unless "wild keeping" counts. I put out nesting boxes for bumble bees and tube nests for orchard bees and let them be rather than attentively work the nests like one does with honeybees. Orchard bees pretty much always nest, but bumbles can be a hit or miss. I don't have my hives yet for honeybees- I'm supposed to be getting them this year so I can start a proper apiary next spring. It was supposed to be this year, but I got outvoted and the chicken coop is refurbished and restocked instead. Still trying to figure out if I can squeeze a top bar hive into th... [More]


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