I’ve written several times about the problems the world’s bees are having, along with unfortunately a lot of insect and animal species these days.
Today I spotted another article on the disappering bees. You know why this is a problem, right? I don’t have to explain? Well, I’ll say a few words just in case you haven’t heard. We need bees to pollinate our food crops. Without the bees we would be in serious trouble. We cannot do mechanically what they do for us just by their normal living habits.
The article is in the New York Times. Here are a few quotes from the article:
“Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.
Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.
A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One.”
They said that combination attacks in nature, like the virus and fungus involved in bee deaths, are quite common, and that one answer in protecting bee colonies might be to focus on the fungus — controllable with antifungal agents — especially when the virus is detected.
Still unsolved is what makes the bees fly off into the wild yonder at the point of death. One theory, Dr. Bromenshenk said, is that the viral-fungal combination disrupts memory or navigating skills and the bees simply get lost. Another possibility, he said, is a kind of insect insanity.
In any event, the university’s bee operation itself proved vulnerable just last year, when nearly every bee disappeared over the course of the winter.”
The problems facing our world’s bee populations are just one of the many ecological disasters coming down on humanity like a train wreck. Whether we work together to solve these problems, or learn how to live with the consequences will probably determine whether we continue to exist as a species and as an organized society.
The hamster cares.