CCD and solitary bees

CCD and solitary bees

Postby BeeWolf on 16 Oct 2009, 21:46

The world is full of the woes of the Honey Bees and the woes this will bring humanity, poor us. Solitary and semi-social bees have been suffering at the tarsi of human-mediated honey bee populations for longer than we know, I remember reading an article twenty odd years ago on the effects increased honey bee farming was having in parts of Australia previously free from honey bees, at least at the commercial level. Obviously honey bees have been in Europe for so long we cannot se as clearly their effect on other bee populations, at least not the original populations. But it seems to me that CCD may be giving other bee species a reprieve from the heavy handed competition of honey bees trucked into areas by the hundreds of hives once the flowwering season starts. But I do not have access to any modern literature, so I wonder, has anybody been monitoring the populations of any species of solitary bees in Europe through the last few decades sufficiently closely to observe a response to, or the lack of, the declining honey bee populations. I await the expert opinions.

I will leave you with a mediocre sonnet, written by myself of course.

Solitary Bee

I could not be a worker honey bee,
for all the joy that making honey brings;
that servile dance, those self-destructive stings,
that over-crowded domesticity.
A solitary bee works just as hard
provisioning each precious hidden cell
wherein a single egg, then grub, will dwell.
I know her calm idyll is often marred
by thieves and parasites that steal her hoard,
devour her egg and occupy its home,
but gen’rally she knows it is her own
descendents who enjoy the wealth she’s stored.
Her portion may be small and plain, but then
her riches are not lusted for by men.
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Re: CCD and solitary bees

Postby Eckart Stolle on 19 Oct 2009, 16:54


I cant remember all details now, but i have read several recent studies on CCD. In America its seems to be related to a virus. In Europe not, here its rather a combined effect of pesticides etc. which weaken the colonies and then parasites like waxmoth, small hive beetle, Varroa mite, Nosema (Microsporidia) etc. can overcome the colonies protection & hygienic efforts.
Apis mellifera is autochthon in Europe, Western Asia and Africa but there's almost no natural colonies anymore here. During last decades the honeybee declined alot. In Germany we have maybe 50% of what we had 50 years ago or such. And colonie densities are as big as in the Kalahari desert! Also its unknown to me that the honeybee had significant impact on other solitary species just by competition. Many ppl talked about it but after checking on available studies i didnt find something substantial. Also no that since 50 years the honeybee is declining (by less beekeepers basically) there has been no real increase in other bee populations at the same time. In general it seems that there no real competition. Actually its getting critical in terms of pollination service if the trend holds up.

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