Colony collapse disorder and bees dying

In reference to Why are the bees vanishing? by SDSTAFF Doug.
This is kind of irking me, but even the Wikipedia page on colony collapse disorder seems to have same inconsistency. I just can’t get the straight dope on this.

So, the way I understand it, the thing actually dying in this situation is the hive, as a collective. The bees themselves are missing, presumed dead. Of course bees that are missing are most likely dead, but it seems that from a scientific point of view they’re still mostly unaccounted for, rather than known dead . However unlikely it might be, could it be some sort of a bizarre swarming behavior rather than mass death?

“Who cares? We still lose our pollinators!” one might say, but personally I find a
‘millions of missing bees’ to be a very different issue from ‘millions of dead bees’. Another way to see the difference is imagine the two issues as premises for horror movies, and in my mind those are two completely different horror movies.

So where are they? Getting lost? Going somewhere to die? Disintegrating? Do bees ever join other existing colonies (to the best of my knowledge the answer is no, but I’m not an expert)?

What I want to know is, what does the vanishing of the bees have to do with Smurfs being antisemitic communists?

Well, that’s what the mouseover on the tab in FireFox says.

Well, according to this website, the natural lifecycle of worker bees involves several different jobs within the hive, followed by the last stage collecting pollen and such outside the hive. So if the bees are living out their natural life cycle, they would likely die outside the hive, and so the absence of dead bees in itself would not be surprising. Maybe the ‘dying off’ of the hive involves some problem in raising new workers?

Or, maybe they’re just regrouping

Steven King better write something quick so we can call him a prophet when the day of reckoning descends upon us and we will bee made to pay for our sins! :wink:

And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

I recently watched a mini-documentary (HD World News) on Colony
Collapse Disorder. Interviewing a commercial beekeeper the beekeeper
mentioned he gets his Queen Bee’s (which only live about a year) from
a commercial breeder/supplier of QB’s.

Given Cecil’s observation the CCD’s seemed to be a localized
condition, it occurs to me that maybe the QB breeders have introduced
a genetic defect into the QBs that contributes to the CCD.

What do ya thinks Cecil?

“Being with a woman all night
never hurt no professional baseball player.
It’s staying up all night
looking for a woman that does him in.”
Casey Stengel

First, it was a staff report, not a Cecil column.

Second, Doug never says it’s a localized condition. He says it’s related to one species of bee, but you’re the one seeming to make the leap that the European honey bee is a localized species.

In fact, that doesn’t appear to be true, as its name should indicate. Assuming there’s anything to the issue, it’s indeed physically widespread.

I’m not sure why the mouseover is screwed up, but the Staff Report on the Smurfs was scheduled to appear this week, but got bumped because of Doug’s report being needed to help stop the panic. The smurf report will appear sometime soon.

BTW, the ‘Are the Smurfs anti-semitic communists?’ also appears as the window header in IE.

We’ll get 'er fixed when TubaDiva returns from the holiday weekend… thanks.

What does that have to do with anything?

I made NO Leap whatsoever. I never even mentioned “honey bees”

And this does suggest localized conditions:

Lighten up Mapcase. I asked a legitimate question, not attack
anyone. No need to get defensive.

If a man will begin in certainties
he shall end in doubts;
but if he will be content to begin in doubts
he shall end in certainties.
Sir Francis Bacon

You’re new, so I’ll forgive the tone. Still, you need to realize that all we have to go by here are your actual words, and not your intent.

So when you say “Given Cecil’s observation” we have to assume that you thought Cecil indeed made a comment. He didn’t. The piece is clearly labeled “A Staff Report by the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board” and it was written by SD Staffer Doug. Cecil had nothing to do with it. Asking “What do ya thinks Cecil?” won’t get you anywhere either, since Cecil virtually never comments on staff reports. Doug might, however, and I hope he does.

The sentence continues, “Given Cecil’s observation the CCD’s seemed to be a localized condition.” Again, I merely pointed out that no such observation was made. Spotty is not the same as localized. You can have individual reports from quite a wide area, as is indeed the case, but it can’t therefore be called localized. We prize close reading and accurate paraphrasing.

Saying that you made a mistake is not being defensive nor is it an attack. Stick around with that attitude and I can guarantee that you’ll soon see the difference. :slight_smile:

I think the implication is exactly the opposite. It affects some beekeepers more than others, sometimes in the same area – to me that means that even in the same area effects are sometimes different beekeeper to beekeeper.


As usual, my namesake does an excellent job with his staff report! Hats off to you, Doug!!! :slight_smile:

I do wish the report had done a better job actually quantifying what exactly IS going on. I think Doug assumed we all know, but given that the press has been so poor at saying, I would think a brief paragraph establishing exactly what we DO know about the condition at present would be helpful. :slight_smile:

From a recent discussion of this in Great Debates:

As background, Scylla says he lives in beekeeping territory and used to keep hives. In this thread, he supports the nicotine-based pesticide theory, which seems to run counter to the Staff Report (which emphasizes that this is not a new phenomenon).

I had a question about the following item from the article regarding colony stress:

I’m not sure I understand the research-usage of the term “stress” here. It seems clear that each of the individual causes mentioned–infection, overheating, etc.–can in and of themselves cause changes in colony behavior. But rather than saying how each of these affect the colony, the report says that these factors affect the colony stress, and that stress is what causes the change in behavior.

My question is, is the use of “stress” merely a handy metaphor, or does it mean something more specific. For example, if there are certain colony behaviors which always occur when any of the listed “stess factors” occur, this argues for saying “the colony is experiencing stress”, rather than “the colony is behaving like X because of an infection”. On the other hand, the statement “stress is difficult to quantify and control experimentally” leads me to think there is only a tenuous relationship between certain colony behaviors and potential stress.

In short, what does it mean observationally when one says a bee colony is under stress? Does a stressed colony, e.g., swarm more easily, produce less honey, etc.? Just curious…

Psst, check the join date.

As to the OP - I think it’s safe to say that we just don’t know yet. I think they should tag some hives with little markers or something and see where the bees end up.

Pishposh! Anyone who reads Over the Hedge knows where the bees are: Vegas, baby!


(I’d link to the relevant strips, but I’m not sure it’s allowed. They’re pretty funny, though.)

There’s an enlightening piece on (you’ll probably have to watch a commercial) about the phenomenon; much of Doug’s information is repeated by his colleagues, so it looks like there is consistency in the scholarly realm about this problem. I wasn’t completely put at ease over the situatioin, but I feel a lot better about it after reading Doug’s explanation and the Salon discussion.