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Decline of the Honey Bee TIP Grp # 2 . Honey Bees ( Apis mellifera ). All fruits and vegetables require pollination to reproduce and the honey bee is one of the chief pollinators within an ecosystem. Honey bees were transported to North America from Africa and Asia during the 1620’s.

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honey bees apis mellifera
Honey Bees (Apismellifera)
  • All fruits and vegetables require pollination to reproduce and the honey bee is one of the chief pollinators within an ecosystem.
  • Honey bees were transported to North America from Africa and Asia during the 1620’s.
  • Honey bees pollinate an estimated 30% of the foods consumed in the U.S.
  • The domesticated honey bee population has experienced a marked decline from 30% to 50% over the last two decades.
honey bee hives
Honey Bee Hives
  • Honey bee hives are made of wax which is formed in hexagon- shaped cells or units.
  • Hive cells provide storage for honey, larvae, and pollen.
  • An active bee hive serves as a giant nursery, a honey factory, and a well-protected home.
  • Honey bee hives may be domesticated and managed by farmers in grow boxes or they may be feral and located in wooded areas.
types of honey bees
Types of Honey Bees

Drone bees…

Male bees that are born to mate with the queen bee between 2 to 8 weeks of age. Mated drones die soon after, whereas unmated drones are cast out of the hive to conserve winter food resources.

types of bees
Types of Bees

Worker bees…

Female bees makeup the largest population within the hive. Workers care for the young, food storage, clean, forage, protect, regulate hive temp, and attend to the queen bee. They create the wax used to build the hive structure. Females survive 5 to 8 weeks during the busy summer but tend to live longer during winter when there is less work to be done.

types of bees1
Types of Bees

Queen bees...

Female is the exclusive reproducer of the hive. The queen may lay up to 2,000 eggs per day during summer. Larval queen bees are raised in larger cells and are fed royal jelly as they develop. The queen is in the center of the photo.

facts about the honey bee
Facts About the Honey Bee

Honey Bees…

  • Communicate the location, distance and source of nectar or pollen using dance.
  • Every pound of honey produced requires nectar collection from 25,000 flights, visiting 2 million flowers, and 55,000 miles in flight.
  • Oregon honey bees have been documented as non-aggression and mild, whereas honey bees from other parts of the nation are very aggressive. Africanized honey bees have been dubbed “Killer Bees”.
colony collapse disorder ccd
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
  • In October 2006, U.S. beekeepers began reporting losses of 30-90% of their hives. Some colony losses are expected during winter weather but the magnitude of those reported were highly unusual.
  • This phenomenon is termed as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). There is no documented underlying cause currently.
  • An indicator of CCD is the absence adult honey bees. The queen lives, brood bees are present, and honey may remain, but there are no signs of dead honey bees in the hive.
  • Researchers theorize that stress is the factor that drives bees out of the hive.
potential causes of ccd associated with declining numbers of honey bees
Potential causes of CCD associated with declining numbers of Honey Bees

Pesticides…

  • Agriculturalists use chemicals on plant crops to deter or kill unwanted insects. Honey bees may come into contact with pesticides as they collect pollen from these sources and transport it back to the hive. Contamination of the hive would cause the bees to leave or die off.
  • Researchers have discovered recently developed pesticides consist of Neonicotinoids. If this chemical is applied in high concentrations, it will be delivered to the stoma causing the leaves to become deadly to honey bees. This substance affects the honey bee’s navigational ability and has been banned in France.
potential causes of ccd associated with declining numbers of honey bees1
Potential causes of CCD associated with declining numbers of Honey Bees

Malnutrition…

  • Mono-cropping is a process used by farmers who grow few products on a large scale.
  • Domesticated honey bees are used as pollinators throughout the year for these few products.
  • This pollination method does not provide honey bees with enough diversity in their diets to remain healthy resulting in sick and/or dying honey bees.
potential causes of ccd associated with declining numbers of honey bees2
Potential causes of CCD associated with declining numbers of Honey Bees

Mites…

  • Researchers have deemed parasitic mites as plausible causes of CCD.
  • Varroa destructormites infect and feed on honey bee larvae in the brood cells.
  • Mites of the speciesNosemaapis and Nosemaceranae infect the digestive tract of honey bees.
  • Tracheal mites (Acarapiswoodi) invade and reproduce in the airways of mature honey bees blocking the tubes and leading to asphyxiation.
  • Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) is the most likely cause of CCD and the marked decline of honey bees in the U.S. since 2006. IAPV was first identified in Israel in 2004. This virus causes bees to develop shivering wings eventually leading to paralysis and death outside the hive.
potential causes of ccd associated with declining numbers of honey bees3
Potential causes of CCD associated with declining numbers of Honey Bees

Intensive Agriculture…

  • Bee farmers often move colony hives to different locations. Rapid seasonal changes affect relocated honey bee colonies and instigates stress and confusion within the hive. Bees become immuno-compromised and susceptible to diseases when in this state.
value of honey bee pollination
Value of Honey Bee Pollination

Economics…

  • Loss of colonies could seriously affect the production of several important crops that rely on pollination services provided by commercial beekeepers.
  • Florida has a $45 million apple crop, the fourth largest in the U.S., that is completely dependent on insects for pollination. Ninety percent of that pollination comes from honey bees. The value of honey bee pollination to apples is about $40 million.
  • Honey bee pollination contributes about $55 million to the value of crops in the Florida. Besides apples, other crops that depend in part on honey bee pollination include peaches, soybeans, pears, pumpkins, cucumbers, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.
resources
Resources
  • United States Department of Agricultural (USDA). (2008). Colony Collapse Disorder: A Complex Buzz. Published in Agricultural Research May/June 2008 issue. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/may08/colony0508.htm
  • Khamsi R. (2007). Paralysingvirus a suspect in disappearing bee mystery. New Scientist, 22:61. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12605
  • Kaplan K. (2009). Pathogen Loads Higher in Bee Colonies Suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2009/090812.htm
  • Images provided by Foto Search. http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/bees.html