Just an update on the bees. I know you’re busy.
I came across the attached paper in a journal I was browsing at work the other day, and it caught my eye. It is the published data from a study reported a year or so ago. It seems a plausible explanation, and the numbers quoted are quite horrifying really:
“However, a travelling wave of disease is predicted to form suddenly, infecting up to 35–100% of wild Bombus, and spread away from the greenhouse at a rate of 2 km/wk.”
To me, it seems that CCD and it’s spread is more likely due to a pathogen outbreak, rather than stressed out bees (pesticides or dirty chemicals). It spreads, for one thing. Crithidia bombi isn’t a virus like IAPV which was held against the wall last autumn, but a single cell trypanosome (related to the more infamous African ‘sleeping sickness’). A gut pathogen, easily regaled upon brother and sister bees. And apparently highly prevalent in greenhouse-reared bees. I did a winter working in an insect-greenhouse a few years ago, and can testify that the glass was full of holes. Some young boys in the village enjoyed throwing bricks.
Without realising, we could all be to blame for the fall in Hagen Daaz profits and the current economic slump we see fit to fear.