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RE: [hreg] Bees Vanish,and Scientists Race for Reasons - New York Times

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  • Shafer, Mark B
    There are several identified problems with bees: 1. California almond orchards(biggest world producer) poisoned all their bees indirectly through pesticides.
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 27, 2007
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      There are several identified problems with bees:

      1. California almond orchards(biggest world producer) poisoned all their
      bees indirectly through pesticides. Now bees are shipped in from all
      over US. Almonds are only pollinated by bees - we're talking millions
      of bees.

      2. Most of the devastation in the bees seems to be happening to
      commercial bee keepers. Some think the stress of traveling and the
      spread of disease due to mingling of bees from all of the country in
      California may be a problem.

      3. There is a mite that is causing serious problems with bees.

      It would be simple to say cell phones are the problem - this is not a
      simple problem.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      Ron Spross
      Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 11:56 AM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Bees Vanish,and Scientists Race for Reasons - New
      York Times

      One should be very careful in attributing effects to EM-waves based on
      the evidence cited below.

      Homing pigeons: Placing magnets on the heads of the pigeons merely
      introduces a (solely magnetic, not electro-magnetic) DC (constant) bias
      to the external, uniform magnetic field of the earth that it is supposed
      that the pigeon senses. Frequency is everything in these issues, and the
      frequencies emitted by the antennas (100s of MHz to GHz) are quite
      different from those "emitted" by magnets and the earth (zero Hz,
      essentially, although technically the actually frequency of the earth
      might be on the order of a FemtoHertz or so). The simplest explanation
      of the pigeon experiments is that the magnets on the heads of the
      pigeons are merely confusing the pigeon about the true direction of the
      earth's magnetic field, just as a human relying on a compass would be
      confused if his/her compass is too close to another magnetic or a
      sufficiently large ferro-magnetic body. EM radiation has nothing to do
      with it.

      Cell phone radiation: I'm unfamiliar with the IEEE article on cell
      phone EM radiation, but a number of years ago Physics Today (a magazine
      that is to physicists what IEEE Spectrum is to electrical engineers)
      discussed the supposed association between cancer and power line EM
      radiation. The bottom line is that there was no known physical process
      that might have an effect (for example, the energy of the radiation was
      insufficient to induce molecular dissociation, from which an increased
      rate mutations might result). I think this is true also, at least for
      the 2nd paragraph below. If I read it correctly, the photoelectric
      effect is cited as something " about which man has no explanation." Not
      so; the PE effect was described by Einstein in 1905 and his paper doing
      so was one of the seminal developments in the early 20th Century
      breakthroughs in quantum mechanics. Again, the EM frequency is
      important. Electrons are only dissociated from matter when the photon
      energy (a linear function of EM frequency) is high enough to overcome
      the work function of the material. I'm no expert in p hotovoltaic
      response mentioned below, but again the photon energy (frequency) must
      be sufficient to overcome the band gap in these devices. I believe that
      typically the required frequencies are in the optical range or higher.
      Cell phones, microwaves, etc. operate at much lower frequencies, and
      make EM radiation as a mechanism highly unlikely. (Note that microwave
      heating is not an ionization phenomenon; it is merely an efficient way
      of heating material containing water).

      The time signature is important -- Cell phones have been around for
      years, and their coverage is extensive. The bee phenomenon, while
      extremely alarming and potentially catastrophic, is very recent
      (apparently). It is more reasonable to look for the reasons in recent
      changes in the environment -- the supposedly harmless pesticides would
      seem to be a more likely culprit than some yet-to-be-discovered
      mechanism in EM radiation, the physics of which is probably much better
      understood than is the chemistry of many pesticides.

      The preliminary results for the gamma ray sterilization of hives is
      consistent with the existence of a pathogen. Wait and see.

      On 4/25/07, Bashir Syed <bsyed@...
      <mailto:bsyed@...> > wrote:

      Having worked on Radiation Effects for almost twenty three
      years, and last thirteen for Space Program, it is a pretty well-known
      fact that Electromagnetic Radiation from Antennas plays a significan
      role not only on the Electronic Systems but also on Biological systems.
      Experiments with homing pigeons have been conducted by placing tiny
      magnets over the head (brain) and it has been discovered that the
      magnetic field effects their senses to confuse them for navigation using
      earth's magnetic field. The hazardous effects of these EM-waves emitted
      by Antennas are pretty well-known and documented. But like the Petroleum
      Industry, the Telecom Industry has kept a lid on the hazards imposed by
      such radiations like it has happened to the environment warmed by
      Carbon-dioxide vehementy refuted by the vested interests till now. But
      as time passes, the TRUTH is emerging as shown in the PBS Frontline
      Program - HOT POLITICS <www.[
      atures_2_frontlinebrpolitics_2007-04-24> . December 2003 issue of IEEE
      Spectrum Magazine had a special article on the effect of EM-Radiation
      emitted by Cell-Phone Antennas on Human brain (going approx. 3 inches
      deep to interfere with brain tissue leading to brain tumors). Similarly,
      the recent (unpublicized study regarding the effect of EM Radiation from
      the Cell-Phone Towers effecting the BEES cannot be rulled out as
      non-sense. We know from the laws of Physics that Radiation does interact
      with matter [The effect known as Photovoltaics in which Light PHOTONS
      (Bundles of EM-Waves) knock off Electrons which are collected on the
      surface of a Planar Diode due to a space charge electric field created
      at the junction by creation of a depletion zone. Thus things happen
      about which man has no explanation and its only by relating observations
      one can deduct conclusions - pointing the finger towards these EM waves
      emitted by these towers. In Europe, there are very stringent rules for
      placing such towers based on radiation hazards observed else where. Thus
      one cannot rule out this possibility (like three US astronauts losing
      their life due to leukemia and one with brain tumor).

      Bashir A. Syed.
      Member: IEEE (Nuclear & Space Radiation Effects & Nucl.-Plasma
      Physics Society), ASES, APS, UCS, New York Academy of Sciences. Sr.
      Member International Solar Energy Society.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: jmiggins <mailto:jmiggins@...>
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 8:08 AM
      Subject: [hreg] Bees Vanish,and Scientists Race for
      Reasons - New York Times

      this is a scary scenario that affects us all.
      John Miggins
      Harvest Solar Energy LLC
      "renewable solutions to everyday needs"
      1571 East 22 place, Tulsa OK 74114
      918-743-2299 office
      918-521-6223 Cell
      www.harvestsolar.net <http://www.harvestsolar.net>

      ----- Original Message -----


      April 24, 2007

      Bees Vanish, and Scientists Race for Reasons


      BELTSVILLE, Md., April 23 - What is happening to the

      More than a quarter of the country's 2.4 million bee
      colonies have been lost - tens of billions of bees, according to an
      estimate from the Apiary Inspectors of America, a national group that
      tracks beekeeping. So far, no one can say what is causing the bees to
      become disoriented and fail to return to their hives.

      As with any great mystery, a number of theories have
      been posed, and many seem to researchers to be more science fiction than
      science. People have blamed genetically modified crops, cellular phone
      towers and high-voltage transmission lines for the disappearances. Or
      was it a secret plot by Russia or Osama bin Laden
      laden/index.html?inline=nyt-per> to bring down American agriculture?
      Or, as some blogs have asserted, the rapture of the bees, in which God
      recalled them to heaven? Researchers have heard it all.

      The volume of theories "is totally mind-boggling," said
      Diana Cox-Foster, an entomologist at Pennsylvania State University
      nsylvania_state_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org> . With Jeffrey S.
      Pettis, an entomologist from the United States Department of Agriculture
      iculture_department/index.html?inline=nyt-org> , Dr. Cox-Foster is
      leading a team of researchers who are trying to find answers to explain
      "colony collapse disorder," the name given for the disappearing bee

      "Clearly there is an urgency to solve this," Dr.
      Cox-Foster said. "We are trying to move as quickly as we can."

      Dr. Cox-Foster and fellow scientists who are here at a
      two-day meeting to discuss early findings and future plans with
      government officials have been focusing on the most likely suspects: a
      virus, a fungus or a pesticide.

      About 60 researchers from North America sifted the
      possibilities at the meeting today. Some expressed concern about the
      speed at which adult bees are disappearing from their hives; some
      colonies have collapsed in as little as two days. Others noted that
      countries in Europe, as well as Guatemala and parts of Brazil, are also
      struggling for answers.

      "There are losses around the world that may or not be
      linked," Dr. Pettis said.

      The investigation is now entering a critical phase. The
      researchers have collected samples in several states and have begun
      doing bee autopsies and genetic analysis.

      So far, known enemies of the bee world, like the varroa
      mite, on their own at least, do not appear to be responsible for the
      unusually high losses.

      Genetic testing at Columbia University
      umbia_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org> has revealed the presence
      of multiple micro-organisms in bees from hives or colonies that are in
      decline, suggesting that something is weakening their immune system. The
      researchers have found some fungi in the affected bees that are found in
      humans whose immune systems have been suppressed by the Acquired Immune
      Deficiency Syndrome or cancer
      pics/cancer/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> .

      "That is extremely unusual," Dr. Cox-Foster said.

      Meanwhile, samples were sent to an Agriculture
      Department laboratory in North Carolina this month to screen for 117
      chemicals. Particular suspicion falls on a pesticide that France banned
      out of concern that it may have been decimating bee colonies. Concern
      has also mounted among public officials.

      "There are so many of our crops that require
      pollinators," said Representative Dennis Cardoza, a California Democrat
      whose district includes that state's central agricultural valley, and
      who presided last month at a Congressional hearing on the bee issue. "We
      need an urgent call to arms to try to ascertain what is really going on
      here with the bees, and bring as much science as we possibly can to bear
      on the problem."

      So far, colony collapse disorder has been found in 27
      states, according to Bee Alert Technology Inc., a company monitoring the
      problem. A recent survey of 13 states by the Apiary Inspectors of
      America showed that 26 percent of beekeepers had lost half of their bee
      colonies between September and March.

      Honeybees are arguably the insects that are most
      important to the human food chain. They are the principal pollinators of
      hundreds of fruits, vegetables, flowers and nuts. The number of bee
      colonies has been declining since the 1940s, even as the crops that rely
      on them, such as California almonds, have grown. In October, at about
      the time that beekeepers were experiencing huge bee losses, a study by
      the National Academy of Sciences
      ional_academy_of_sciences/index.html?inline=nyt-org> questioned whether
      American agriculture was relying too heavily on one type of pollinator,
      the honeybee.

      Bee colonies have been under stress in recent years as
      more beekeepers have resorted to crisscrossing the country with 18-wheel
      trucks full of bees in search of pollination work. These bees may suffer
      from a diet
      pics/diet/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> that includes artificial
      supplements, concoctions akin to energy drinks and power bars. In
      several states, suburban sprawl has limited the bees' natural forage

      So far, the researchers have discounted the possibility
      that poor diet alone could be responsible for the widespread losses.
      They have also set aside for now the possibility that the cause could be
      bees feeding from a commonly used genetically modified crop, Bt corn,
      because the symptoms typically associated with toxins, such as blood
      poisoning, are not showing up in the affected bees. But researchers
      emphasized today that feeding supplements produced from genetically
      modified crops, such as high-fructose corn syrup, need to be studied.

      The scientists say that definitive answers for the
      colony collapses could be months away. But recent advances in biology
      and genetic sequencing are speeding the search.

      Computers can decipher information from DNA
      pics/geneticsandheredity/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> and match
      pieces of genetic code with particular organisms. Luckily, a project to
      sequence some 11,000 genes of the honeybee was completed late last year
      at Baylor University
      lor_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org> , giving scientists a huge
      head start on identifying any unknown pathogens in the bee tissue.

      "Otherwise, we would be looking for the needle in the
      haystack," Dr. Cox-Foster said.

      Large bee losses are not unheard of. They have been
      reported at several points in the past century. But researchers think
      they are dealing with something new - or at least with something
      previously unidentified.

      "There could be a number of factors that are weakening
      the bees or speeding up things that shorten their lives," said Dr. W.
      Steve Sheppard, a professor of entomology at Washington State University
      hington_state_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org> . "The answer may
      already be with us."

      Scientists first learned of the bee disappearances in
      November, when David Hackenberg, a Pennsylvania beekeeper, told Dr.
      Cox-Foster that more than 50 percent of his bee colonies had collapsed
      in Florida, where he had taken them for the winter.

      Dr. Cox-Foster, a 20-year veteran of studying bees, soon
      teamed with Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the Pennsylvania apiary inspector, to
      look into the losses.

      In December, she approached W. Ian Lipkin, director of
      the Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory at Columbia University, about
      doing genetic sequencing of tissue from bees in the colonies that
      experienced losses. The laboratory uses a recently developed technique
      for reading and amplifying short sequences of DNA that has
      revolutionized the science. Dr. Lipkin, who typically works on human
      diseases, agreed to do the analysis, despite not knowing who would
      ultimately pay for it. His laboratory is known for its work in finding
      the West Nile
      pics/westnilevirus/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> disease in the
      United States.

      Dr. Cox-Foster ultimately sent samples of bee tissue to
      researchers at Columbia, to the Agriculture Department laboratory in
      Maryland, and to Gene Robinson, an entomologist at the University of
      versity_of_illinois/index.html?inline=nyt-org> . Fortuitously, she had
      frozen bee samples from healthy colonies dating to 2004 to use for

      After receiving the first bee samples from Dr.
      Cox-Foster on March 6, Dr. Lipkin's team amplified the genetic material
      and started sequencing to separate virus, fungus and parasite DNA from
      bee DNA.

      "This is like C.S.I. for agriculture," Dr. Lipkin said.
      "It is painstaking, gumshoe detective work."

      Dr. Lipkin sent his first set of results to Dr.
      Cox-Foster, showing that several unknown micro-organisms were present in
      the bees from collapsing colonies. Meanwhile, Mr. vanEngelsdorp and
      researchers at the Agriculture Department lab here began an autopsy of
      bees from collapsing colonies in California, Florida, Georgia and
      Pennsylvania to search for any known bee pathogens.

      At the University of Illinois, using knowledge gained
      from the sequencing of the bee genome, Dr. Robinson's team will try to
      find which genes in the collapsing colonies are particularly active,
      perhaps indicating stress from exposure to a toxin or pathogen.

      The national research team also quietly began a parallel
      study in January, financed in part by the National Honey Board, to
      further determine if something pathogenic could be causing colonies to

      Mr. Hackenberg, the beekeeper, agreed to take his empty
      bee boxes and other equipment to Food Technology Service, a company in
      Mulberry, Fla., that uses gamma rays to kill bacteria on medical
      equipment and some fruits. In early results, the irradiated bee boxes
      seem to have shown a return to health for colonies repopulated with
      Australian bees.

      "This supports the idea that there is a pathogen there,"
      Dr. Cox-Foster said. "It would be hard to explain the irradiation
      getting rid of a chemical."

      Still, some environmental substances remain suspicious.

      Chris Mullin, a Pennsylvania State University professor
      and insect toxicologist, recently sent a set of samples to a federal
      laboratory in Raleigh, N.C., that will screen for 117 chemicals. Of
      greatest interest are the "systemic" chemicals that are able to pass
      through a plant's circulatory system and move to the new leaves or the
      flowers, where they would come in contact with bees.

      One such group of compounds is called neonicotinoids,
      commonly used pesticides that are used to treat corn and other seeds
      against pests. One of the neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, is commonly used
      in Europe and the United States to treat seeds, to protect residential
      foundations against termites and to help keep golf courses and home
      lawns green.

      In the late 1990s, French beekeepers reported large
      losses of their bees and complained about the use of imidacloprid, sold
      under the brand name Gaucho. The chemical, while not killing the bees
      outright, was causing them to be disoriented and stay away from their
      hives, leading them to die of exposure to the cold, French researchers
      later found. The beekeepers labeled the syndrome "mad bee disease."

      The French government banned the pesticide in 1999 for
      use on sunflowers, and later for corn, despite protests by the German
      chemical giant Bayer, which has said its internal research showed the
      pesticide was not toxic to bees. Subsequent studies by independent
      French researchers have disagreed with Bayer. Alison Chalmers, an
      eco-toxicologist for Bayer CropScience, said at the meeting today that
      bee colonies had not recovered in France as beekeepers had expected.
      "These chemicals are not being used anymore," she said of imidacloprid,
      "so they certainly were not the only cause."

      Among the pesticides being tested in the American bee
      investigation, the neonicotinoids group "is the number-one suspect," Dr.
      Mullin said. He hoped results of the toxicology screening will be ready
      within a month.

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