California's agriculture depends on honeybees to pollinate, but not enough . . .
Decline of the Honeybee as Ecosystem Pollinators
Changes in our ecosystem have created a dubious situation for community farmers, and the honeybees they rely on for pollination of their crops, many of which are not producing maximal quality or quantity. If changes are not made, further bee losses may prove financially devastating for those who produce US agricultural products, and for those who consume them. Honeybee numbers in the US are dropping for understandable reasons: (1) habitat loss and fragmentation, including territorial invasion by Africanized Honeybees; (2) infestation of apiaries by parasites, resulting in disease, deformity, and bee death; and (3) widespread use of pesticides, including industrial pollution. Researchers are investigating ways to regenerate the ecosystems involved, as well as how to implement these techniques for improvement with limited funding. More environmentally friendly habitats, for both wild and hive-managed bees, would alleviate the pollination crisis before it necessitates a change in consumer eating habits. Tomatoes for salsa, grapes for wine, and pumpkins for Halloween, are but a few of the fruits vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seed oils that could potentially fade from their present abundance in our diet. Bees help maintain a naturally balanced ecosystem, but bee indicators predict agricultural losses.
Honeybees produce honey from the nectar and pollen they gather from flowering plants, pollinating the plant in the process by depositing a small amount of DNA structured information in receptive flower areas, as foraging bees travel from flower to flower, collecting their prize for the hive in sacs located on the honeybees’ posterior legs. This passing of pollen grains across a field in bloom will produce fruits, vegetables, other plants consumed by humans. In addition, the pollination process is necessary for angiosperm plants to produce seed, prolonging the lifespan of entire species of plants.
In addition to the abundant production of honey in the hives every year between the months of July and October, substantial amounts of other nourishing and beneficial substances are produced, and then stored in the hive for the benefit of the small percentage surviving the winter season. Researchers also document that bees in the larvae stage of development receive genetic “awakening” instructions via specific proportions or combinations of royal jelly provided in their diet. The social community of the bee is intricately efficient.
The social hierarchy within the hive community necessitates that workers participate in differing functions, so that adequate numbers of bees work on all the aspects necessary for species survival and reproduction. Genetic information transmission is only one investigated theory that explains the bee's assignment to the specific job any single male or female bee will perform in maintaining the hive. Perhaps combinations of hereditary and environmental factors come in play to determine the social position of a single bee in the hive hierarchy. This position, or job duty, changes with the passage of time, bestowing the job of foraging to the elder, and more experienced bees. Individuals in the hive function as a specialized drone, worker, brood nurse, forager, or the singular, largest, and behaviorally dominant female bee of the hive. The queen is the one bee directly responsible for procreation, the continuance of the hive, and the life cycles of the bees within.
Beekeepers also collect bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis from the stores within the cells of the hive. These bee by-products are used for modern medicinal purposes. However, by far the greatest contribution of members of the domestic and wild honeybee population is the role it plays as a pollinator. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, about one-third of the human diet exists as a direct or indirect result of insects pollinating plants. Honeybees accomplish about 80% of insect pollination.
Plants and pollinators have evolved together, in a mutually beneficial ecological relationship for over 144 million years (http://nationalzoo.si.edu). Bees now inhabit seven continents, excepting frigid Antarctica, which lacks the required flowering vegetation to support bee pollen requirements. However, in the past fifty years, intentional, organized habitat destruction by humanity has continually created ecological chaos, committed in the name of civilization
Increasing numbers of the US population live as city dwellers, exemplified by larger population concentrations in urban communities, from New York to California. Urbanization trends have seen increased appropriations of land, thereby diminishing the available areas previously used for bee purposes. We rob bees of their territory when we build new steel and concrete structures upon pristine native environments. Existing cultural biases, attitudes towards conservation, and varying philosophies emphasizing useful land management techniques, sometime burst into a previously uncultivated tract of land. It would seem that man continuously acts on his human compulsion to attempt improvement on any given piece of dirt by destroying what nature has so meticulously created. As the more intellectually developed species, we rearrange environments to suit our needs and wants exclusively, ignoring our responsibility to evolve in conjunction with neighbors in our ecosystem.
Equally as destructive to native pollinators, but beyond human control, looms environmental change, such as fluctuations in temperature extremes which may be one result of global warming, and habitat destruction caused by severe weather events such as the movement of Hurricane Katrina through the Central Gulf Coast. Human encroachment on native pollinator territory has precipitated a drastic decline in population numbers, and genetic diversity, in the 4,000 bee species now considered native to North America.
The last fifty years have presented new opportunities, as well as potential liabilities and pitfalls for individuals engaged in honeybee hive management as a sideline or hobby, particularly within the confines of our concrete jungles. The number of individuals practicing hive management as a non-commercial venture reached its height of popularity when the soldiers of World War II returned home to the United States, reuniting with sweethearts and wives, beginning a family, and finding sufficient leisure time to participate in family activities. During the culmination of beekeeping popularity in the mid 1940s, family members of all ages helped with different aspects of hive maintenance. During that heyday, there were 5.7 million managed bee colonies throughout the United States.
Beekeepers have gathered locally to discuss hive management problems, share information, and assist beekeepers requesting specific help as long as keepers have kept bees. The Harris County Beekeepers Association, located east of Houston, in Pasadena Texas, shares information about pertinent bee issues on the Internet at www.harrisbee.org. This local association of beekeepers, originally formed in 1908, is one of the oldest in Texas. As others located across the country, and around the world, this group offers instruction, education, and assistance in hive management, as well as promoting a spirit of enthusiasm and cooperation among their members. Unfortunately, many local bee organizations are losing membership as novice beekeepers too often lose their entire investment to illness, and pesticide contamination of their honeybee community, giving up the venture.
Laura Tyler, artist of images inspired by bees, maintains a web presence at www.LauraTyler.com. She began beekeeping in her youth in Maine and New Hampshire, as a family member who helped with hive management duties. Early in life, she learned apiary traditions and techniques from her father. This set of family beekeeping practices has passed from one generation to the next, during much of US beekeeping history, beginning with the colonists who brought European honeybees to the New World as parcel commodity. The value of honeybees is fossilized, and more ancient than the written word.
Theoretically, this passing down of time tested beekeeper applications of hive management to posterity should increase the fold of beekeepers, as youthful helpers reached adulthood, and begin beekeeping as the owners and mangers of their own hives. Many have approached beekeeping with enthusiasm, and like Ms. Tyler eventually found it impossible to maintain adequately populated hives because of mite infestation, and the resulting disease, genetic deformation, behavioral confusion, and loss of bee life. Like many, she walked away from a full-time hobby requiring diligent physical labor to maintain the bee apiary. This expensive and time-consuming hobby is one into which many enter, but few persist to realize the achievement of financial profit.
Laura Tyler described a unique, humanistic, and almost spiritual perspective on the life of bees, differing drastically from Internet article data contributing to bee losses. Her artistic temperament and creative enthusiasm for the role honeybees play in nature enable her to create astounding renderings of honeybees. Swarming is visual movement in charcoal, and illustrates the remarkable excitement and emotional attachment of one who has experienced and contributed to the vitality of managed and wild hives through several different types of creative press. Ms. Tyler produced a documentary film that follows six beekeepers through the highs and lows of beekeeping, “encountering startling beauty, and spiritual truth” in the process. “Sister Bee” is shown regularly at the library in Boulder, Colorado, for the benefit of those in her community expressing an interest in honeybees.
Laura Tyler maintains a blog as well, recently describing the state of nature at Thanksgiving when she drove through her old home territory. Ms. Tyler actively seeks opportunities to educate people who are unaware of current honeybee predicaments. By spreading information vital to bee population stabilization, Ms. Tyler hopes to help initiate changes that will restructure developed acreage to include more hospitable bee environments, which in turn will house happier, healthier, and more productive honeybee hives. Ms. Tyler was most generous with her knowledge, sharing, by e-mail, her experiences and vast knowledge on honeybees and their current plight.
Fifty years ago a greater percentage of the US population resided in rural areas, and a grand scale of the US territory lay open for the future development. Modern vehicle transportation routes have since been constructed over hundreds of thousands of miles within US borders, connecting corridors between urban areas that become more densely populated with the passage of time. By building structures and roads to carry vehicular traffic, we have displaced numerous native plant and animal species in the process, and left too few areas in their native state of shrub and scrub vegetation.
The Baby Boom Generation, children of families reunited after the bomb decimated lands as previously believed impossible, grew into adolescence as the 1960s became 1970s, leading to career decisions and success in securing a regular paycheck. During the 1980s, they discovered a job market that required new skills, required by increasing numbers of businesses each year. Reared by the responsible and supportive “Great Generation” of America, the maturing Boomer reassessed his position in the cultural economy, and many adjusted previous goals, obtaining new skills to fill the needs of a computer based technology. Entering the adult workforce beginning between 1964 and 1982, successful members of this generation have frequently adapted individual interests and skills to match the job market. Technological improvements in household appliances, new options for participating in leisure entertainment, and the faster speeds of travel and transportation would seem to be time savers. Reality deals the opposite as true when fewer and fewer individuals of all generations regularly participate in hobbies.
By 1996, only about half the numbers of the domestic honeybee population remained as active hives, numbering only about 2.7 million. The American Federation of Beekeepers, AFB, reported in 2005 that 1,200 registered members presented themselves as hobbyists or sideliners in beekeeping. Commercial membership, requiring the active management of 300 or more distinct hives, consisted of 1,600 registered members. In this era of ever-expanding technological advances, advantages, and career opportunities, fewer and fewer people find they possess the interest, the time, the financial investment, or the discipline required by a beekeepers who must tend the to the needs of the bees and their hive on a timely basis.
Twenty-First Century beekeepers face newly evolving predicaments, as city dwellers who manage colonies have been judged legally liable for damage by bees to nearby property and/or persons. American cultural conditioning, inspired by the likes of generations of “Raid” commercials, has ingrained, at least subconsciously, the human necessity to arm ourselves offensively against meager insects with high propulsion canisters of pesticide, and taking down the perceived threat by dropping our pollinating companions, bodies writhing, in the resulting toxic puddle. “The ‘Chemlawn Philosophy’ has convinced homeowners that dandelions and clover are weeds, that lawns should only be grass, and that they should be highly treated with pesticides. This makes tended landscape a hostile environment for our valued bees and other pollinators. . . . Of all the dangers facing pollinators today, perhaps the biggest and most all encompassing one is human ignorance” (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollinator_decline).
Beekeeping is one of the oldest forms of food production, documented by rock painting dated at 13,000 BC, and fossilized bees dating from the Triassic Period, 225-195 million years ago. “The tremendous diversity of the order Hymenoptera, which includes honeybees, reflects the order’s ecological importance. As pollinators, the Hymenoptera play a vital and economically important role in maintaining much of the earth’s vegetation, which also helps preserve land from wash off. Worldwide, about 150 crop species depend largely or entirely on bees for pollination (O’Toole, 125). “Pollinators are the unseen engines driving an ecosystem”, according to Stephen Buchman and Gary Nabhan, authors of The Forgotten Pollinators. “They couple plant to plant and plant to animal, spinning the verdant world through endless cycles and feedback loops, providing fuel and fuses and safety valves” (www.AlbionMoniter.com/9607a/beedecline.html).
In 2000, Drs. Roger Morse and Nicholas Calderone of Cornell University attempted to quantify the effects of one species of pollinators, the honeybees, on only US food crops. Their calculations showed bee pollination is responsible for $14.6 billion in US food crop value (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polli...). One hundred thirty US crops are insect pollinated. The value of pollination to US agriculture was estimated at $40 billion per year in 1999, when livestock feed crops are included. Worldwide, the 1999 study reported pollinators are worth $200 billion annually. The loss of one general pollinator could cause the collapse of an entire ecosystem (www.nationalzoo.si.edu/Pub...).
A study by bee biologist Edward Southwick and economist Lawrence Southwick, predicted honeybee loss will cost the US up to $5.7 billion per year if other pollinators are unable to pick up the slack. Bumblebees, leafcutter bees, alkali bees, and other species may be able to help with the slack in pollination. Blue orchard bees have been particularly successful in pollinating apples and cherries. However, these species are also suffering losses. Stephen Buchman, now involved with “The Bee Works”, reports that 70-90% of wild bee populations have been lost in many states since the 1990s. Statistics, no matter the date or source, predict negative economic impact to US and world agriculture if bee populations continue to decline.
Modern methods of transportation have caused the introduction of “exotic species” in the ecosystem, with tracheal miles and varroa mites that originated in Asia inflicting damage and death to the US bee industry since identified in the mid 1980s. Changes in the US bee population have also occurred due to the inadvertent introduction of the Africanized Honeybee, native to the tropics of Africa. These bees had been retained for study by researchers in Brazil during the 1950s, but some escaped the lab facilities by oversight. By October 1990 this bee species, wandering wild, had migrated north, entering the US through Harlingen, Texas, and swarming and attacking humans aggressively. In their native environment, such aggressive behavior is necessary for species survival, but they have now become predatorily invasive, inbreeding and destroying American bee colonies. This vulturous invasion continues to spread, with Africanized bees identified in California during 2003.
The health and viability of managed hives were first compromised by these Africanized bees, followed by similar destruction and chaos in the feral bee population. Honeybees continue to lose habitat and genetic specificity due to cross breeding. Research facilities, such as the department of bee study at the University of Georgia, and the UDSA research facilities on bees in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, experiment with many bee species, crossbreeding and identifying DNA, as they attempt to produce a variety of bee with passive behavior compatible with domestic management capability, as well as being resistant to current parasitic infestation. When researchers are able to isolate preferred genes, those resulting behaviors can be genetically included in new generations, creating opportunities for easier hive management.
A healthy productive hive contains 30,000 – 60,000 individual bees that perform designated tasks towards the hive’s survival. These individually assigned tasks evolve as the bee ages. Working adult bees live between 30 to 48 days, excepting the winter months when longer life spans stretch into spring as activity revives.
Each colony houses only one female, the queen, who is the largest member of the colony. Her chamber in the hive is three times as large as other chambers. The queen bears responsibility for producing the next generation. Soon after birthing from her chamber, she mates with more than several dozen male bees in flight, over several hours. From this mating period, she will lay non-fertilized male eggs, called haploid and female eggs that have been fertilized, containing diploid genetic information, for the rest of her life, spanning two to three years. As her reign ends, she leaves the hive and the new queen births into her position in the social colony.
Separate areas of the hive are occupied by the offspring of different fathers. Hive areas are also designated by the specialized function of the different castes of bees, and needs of the hive. One area, for example, is designated for honey storage. Early development stage bees and the nurse bees that are responsible for the care and feeding of this maturing brood occupy another area. Research by Dr. Mark L. Winston, a bee expert at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, has identified several genetic and environmental factors that influence an individual bee’s position in the social network. The home chamber of each bee is determined by the age of the bee, and what it consumed early in life. Royal jelly, propolis, and honey, fed in various proportions, may trigger genetically encrypted behavior, designed to benefit the needs of the whole community. Darwin’s theory of natural selection included an exception clause for species in social networks. This clause indicated selection favored survival of a social species as a community, rather than being geared to the survival of one bee as a member of the species. If this species of domesticated and wild honeybees become extinct, Darwin’s original theory need not contain a social clause. Each spring as hives awaken from their cold weather shackles, fewer bees are available to forage blooming areas, lush with pollen and nectar. Honeybees are general pollinators, able to pass DNA laden grains between and among flowers of many different species of plants. Other more specific pollinators are physically adapted for pollination of only one species, and would not be able to assist in mass pollination. “The loss of so many bee colonies since the 1990s, signals that bees are a keystone indicator species of environmental degradation” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollinator_decline).
When need develops, ingenuity answers with new applications of supply and demand. Since mid Twentieth Century, agricultural land use has moved away from multi crop planting so that now a large number of fields plant only one crop. This monoculture land use produces only one plant species, so that all plants flower simultaneously. This has presented need for large numbers of pollinating honeybees in specific areas at specific times. In answer, beekeepers have arranged domestic bee migration, which begins in early February as California’s almond orchards burst into bloom. Since managed beehives can be moved, beekeepers across the country smoke their hives to calm the bees, and load them for shipment where they are needed. Using 18-wheelers or other means of cross-country travel, over one million hives take temporary residency in the almond orchards for four to six weeks, producing the optimal pollination of crops, and the most abundant and nutritious produce possible.
Migratory beekeepers seasonally travel up the West Coast with their hives, as agricultural communities to the north bloom, ready for pollination by managed hives. As the season continues, the caravan of migratory bees and their keepers arrive with sequential bloom up the Pacific Northwest, across to areas around the Great Lakes, and on to pollinate crops in the northeast US. A beekeeper can earn $150 – 200 per rental for each of their hives, for each four to six week rental period. Income from a year’s worth of hive rentals often exceeds income from honey production by as much as 500%.
Along with the positive outcomes of bee migration, comes the negative impact of grouping so many bees together. Despite efforts of state inspectors to deny entry of diseased hives into California and other states, two species of parasites – the tracheal mite and the varroa mite, referred to by many keepers as the vampire mite – have infested enormous numbers of hives and the bees within, debilitating bees in both their physical state and behavioral assignments for hive maintenance. In addition to weakening the health and physical stability of the hive, parasites open avenues for pathogens that otherwise could not gain entry to the bees’ bodies. A Master Beekeeper and teacher of colony management techniques for many years, explained via e-mail that the tracheal mites kill by sucking blood and by eating through the breathing tubes of the bee, depriving it of sufficient oxygen (email@example.com). Mite infestation of hives has been directly responsible for reducing US bee numbers 25% over the last 25 years. The small hive beetle has also produced disease and death in many infested hives. Damage is potentially fast and fatal. Within one month of infestation of a hive by tracheal mites, the entire colony can be dead.
Fifty percent of California’s pollinating population of honeybees expired over two winter periods earlier this decade. This spring, California orchard owners hope arriving hives will have sufficient numbers of healthy and happy bees to pollinate the 2007 crops. California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, exporting to top markets in Spain, Germany, Japan, Italy, and France. In the past five years, total export shipments have increased 50%. The USDA predicts increased demand for almonds in China, Mexico, Russia, and expanding markets already firmly established in Canada, Japan, and Western Europe. California orchards produced one billion pounds of almonds in 2002, and expect production to reach 1.5 billion pounds by 2010. “The ever-growing body of published scientific research on almond health and nutritional benefits will continue to provide an ‘especially powerful incentive’ for consumers to regularly incorporate almonds into their daily diet” (http://www.avenuevine.com/archives/002191.html). Almond orchards need healthy honeybees for full pollination and an abundant harvest to reach potential production capacity.
Hives can be treated with miticides that kill parasites, but this presents a three-fold consequence. Some percentage of bees in a chemically treated hive will die even with this recommended treatment. Chemical treatments pose an enormous expense for beekeepers, especially in relation to potential profits. Hobbyists cannot withstand the expense of chemical treatments to rid the colony’s home of parasites, disease, and viruses. Additionally, some of these parasitic species have developed resistance to chemicals on which beekeepers have previously relied. However, researchers continue to seek solutions to parasite problems. One study reported that introduction of a specific fungus to the hive could kill the hive vermin. Further study is required to discover how to get the fungus in the hive.
Our civilization has come to rely on pesticides. From tenders of large tracts of agricultural acreage with plant pests, to the humans who respond to insect appearance with bug spray, toxins, and their residue, are everywhere. “Pesticides pose the biggest threat to bees in the Washington D. C. area,” according to Suzanne W. T. Batra, entomologist with the USDA. Insecticide use is up ten-fold from the early Twentieth Century. Cornell University entomologist David Pimental reports US farmers use 700 million pounds of pesticide annually (http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Pub...). Honeybee poisonings result in an annual loss of $13.3 million in the US according to a study on the economic costs of pesticide use (http://www.pmac.net/birdbee.htm). Crop dusting, a standard component of farming, dissipates chemical pesticides downwind of their target, tainting the natural habitats of many species, and leaving an environment that is hostile to native species.
Each spring beekeepers incur additional expense as they replace bees that did not survive winter. Nucleus colonies, called “nucs” by beekeepers, are created by removing frames, containing bees, from a large existing hive. A nuc has all the features of a Langstroth hive, the most popular hive used by US beekeepers. As a smaller version, the nuc allows fewer bees to function as a colony unit, and maintain the needed temperature and humidity inside the hive. The nuc may come with a queen, or worker bees can create a new queen from one of the cells in the brood. With only about 10% of the average bee population, these nucs can be added to strengthen a debilitated colony. Spring replacement costs can add up, with a single queen costing $82, and one complete “hive nuc” running about $260 this winter. Introduction of a new queen can sometimes revive a hive. Internet sites selling honey and other bee products offer nucs which can be shipped or picked up. Some states have a quaranteen on moving honeybees from their present location because of the negative consequences unidentified Africanized honeybees inflict on established colonies
Apiarists who lose most of their bees often discontinue beekeeping. Those who can afford new stock benefit from continuing research, and the availablity of several different species in nuc form. Dr. Thomas E. Rinderer of the Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Research Service in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, has conducted many research studies benefitting apiarists. “We’re working furiously to arrive at the stage of producing queens who are resistant to the parasitic behavior of their unwelcome inhabitants” ( Wade, 117).
Governmental agency funds, private foundation grants, and scholarships are scarce. Increasing public awareness could help generate more funding for research, which has not yet reached fruition. “A lack of modest funding” blocks implementation of beneficial changes, according to Dr. Peter G. Kevan at The University of Guelph, a top comprehensive research facility in Canada. Eric Lawton of the Bureau of Land Management points out that agencies make decision that they can afford, whether or not those decisions are the best for wildlife (http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Pub...). On every front, the pollination crisis lacks funding.
In 1998, The Forgotten Pollinators Symposium, held at the Smithsonian National Zoo, gathered representatives of agencies and organizations to discuss positive environmental changes that would benefit pollinators. The US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal agencies, foundations, and policy makers can influence public awareness, and develop strategies to make more bee-friendly locations across the US, including hedgerows between fields, and more small woodlots left to native species in rural areas. Several universities specializing in environmental sciences, entomology, agriculture, and land development have programs of study on honeybee problems and solutions. The Foundation for the Preservation of Honeybees, funded with donation from AFB members, has granted six scholarships, for the second year, to graduate students working in the subject. Research, application, and increasing public awareness of the role of honeybees as essential pollinators can turn the tide by increasing bee numbers and bee health.
Kimberly Russell studied in association with the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Her research indicated that bee populations take shelter, and begin to increase species diversity, when allowed to nest in power line right-of-ways. Working with the Patuxent Wildlife Center in Maryland, she has begun naturalization efforts in conjunction with Nstar, a utility company in Boston. Paul Sellers, Nstar senior arborist, agrees that letting habitats grow along power line corridors requires less maintenance, makes sense for the wildlife, and improves the company’s bottom line. Areas that are not mowed every few years, as previous company policy dictated, develop native grasses, shrubs, and bushes, and offer blooms for pollination throughout the growing season. Several other power companies have adopted this natural vegetation policy, and in those locations, colonies are thriving in numbers and expanding in diversity (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/12/1214_bees.htm).
Civilization’s growth and development have dealt a scourge to native species of pollinators, and the plants they pollinate. The honeybee has lost much of its habitat from evolving agricultural trends, widespread pesticide use, and disease, genetic mutations, and death caused from parasite infestation in the hive. Honeybees, both wild and managed, maintain our ecosystem by pollinating plant species, ensuring their reproduction. As ecological partners, those who develop and use our lands should consider, respect, and cooperate with the needs of our pollinators as we acknowledge their important role in our food production. City dwellers, as well as members of rural communities can make changes in their philosophies about insects, and should act to ensure that honeybee pollinators continue their role as pollinators that benefit the plant and animal species populating the earth.
“Beekeeping.” Wikipedia online encyclopedia. Dec. 18, 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beekeeping>. Complete site; reliable online encyclopedia with no obvious bias contains facts and history of beekeeping; viewed 12/21/06.
Berenbaum, May R. Bugs in the System: Insects and Their Impact on Human Affairs. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1995. 59-97, 191-230, 274-321. Friendly adult conversational tone presents reliable data about insects functions in nature, positive and negative consequences, and explanation of integration of people and insects within the system; motivation is empathy for insects; no obvious bias.
Buchman, Stephen and Gary P. Nabhan. The Forgotten Pollinators. Washington, D. C.: Island Press, 1997. PhDs explain interrelationships of many different pollinating species; reliable with possible overemphasis of future perils; their real life examples that are targeted at public, more than a very well educated public, needing scientific specifics; friendly reading, but may be overemphasizing catastrophic results probabilities.
Cline, Harry. “Almond Industry Poised to Market 1.5 Billion Pound Crop.” Avenue Vine Home Page. Dec. 17, 2006. <http://agnews.tamu.edu/dailynews/stories/ENTO/Aug1701a.htm>. Complete site; California lifestyle zine relays news on California wines, nuts, fruits; reliable data; reports on current topics of interest and trends to inform and entertain readers; viewed 12/30/06.
Delaplane, K. S. “Bee Conservation in the Southeast.” The University of Georgia College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service. Bulletin 1164, Feb. 1998. <http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/bee_pubs/conservation/bee_conservation.htm>. Complete site; scholarly presentation of philosophies and application of conservation benefiting bees for students and agricultural professionals; reliable data based on study; viewed 12/13/06.
Emblidge, Allison and Emily Schuster. “Saving Pollinators.” National Zoo Home Page. 1999. <http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Publications/ZooGoer/1999/1/savingpollinators,cfm>. Complete site; educational information on bee pollination; unbiased info presented to interested public; viewed 12/12/06.
Fichter, George S. Bees, Wasps, and Ants. Racine, Wisconsin: Western Publishing Company Inc., 1993, 1-36. Golden Junior Guide Series includes close-up illustrations; basic, reliable facts for young readers.
Gibson, Gary. “Protecting Honeybees from Pesticide Poisoning.” The Market Bulletin, West Virginia Department of Agriculture 81.3 (1997). <www.wvu.edu/~agexten/imp/insects/pollinat/honeybee/pestic.htm>. Complete sight; West Virginia Department of Agriculture sends bulletin to community regarding pesticide, honeybee environments, and appropriate actions; reliable government information with responsibility to inform the public of hazards; no obvious bias; viewed 12/13/06.
Hallowell, Christopher. “The Flowering Crisis.” Time Magazine Home Page path. June 15, 1996. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,984841-1,00.html>. Complete site, reputable national new magazine with no obvious bias; presents pollination crisis facts to public, including deductive predictions; viewed 12/13/06.
“Honeybee Pollination Crisis: Shortage of Bees May Reduce Crop Production.” American Beekeeping Federation Home Page path. March 3, 2005. <http://abfnet.org/news/honey_bee_pollination_crisis_shortage_of...>. Complete site; offers news and information for beekeepers in the US; reliable source with emphasis on bee welfare; viewed 12/17/06.
“Huge Decline in Bees Worry Biologists.” Albion Moniter News Home Page path. March 11, 1997. <http://www.albionmoniter.com/9607a/beedecline.html>. Complete site; “progressive” coverage of news issues online; I question the perspective of this source because I am not a “progressive”, so I used their facts, rather than interpretations or predictions about honeybees; viewed 12/13/06.
Ingram, Mrill and Gary Nabhan, Stephen Buchman. “Our Forgotten Pollinators: Protecting the Birds and Bees.” Global Pesticide Campaigner Home Page path 6.4 (Dec. 1996). <http://www.pmac.net/birdbee.htm>. Complete site; public awareness alert about pesticide impacts on many organisms; reliable authorities in bees, pollination, and as crop ecologist; useful explanations for decline of honeybee numbers and health; viewed 12/13/06.
Miller, Sarah Swan. Ants, Bees, and Wasps of North America. New York: Franklin Watts, 2003, 4 – 48. Golden Junior Guide Series includes up-close illustrations of bees and wasps and territories; targeted at young readers interested in learning about insects.
Nielsen, John. “Declining Bee Population Threatens Major Growers.” National Public Radio Home Page path. Oct. 18, 2006. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story.php?storyId=6299480>. Complete site; Not for profit, privately funded, non-commercial news membership venture; reliable as having audio and data archived for past ten years; may have bias as being not middle-of-the-road on issues, local and federal; viewed 12/13/06.
“Nucs.” Wikipedia online encyclopedia. Dec. 29, 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuc>. Complete site; reliable online encyclopedia with no obvious bias; contains facts about start-up beekeeping, costs, options; focuses on needs for a beginning beekeeper in the US, but European data included as comparison, contrast of technique and laws; viewed on 12/30/06.
Patterson, Roger. UK beekeeper I located for interview by submitting an
e-mail query to firstname.lastname@example.org, listed in linked articles on bee deformities. We exchanged information and developed our own theories why queens are not behaving responsibly in the UK, and noted similarities and differences in hive management across the pond, including hive construction, and hive health. “Queens—Poor Mating and Laying” was written by Patterson in July 2006, and contains documented facts and photos of bee activities and problems that some keepers do not easily recognize. Article’s URL is at <http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/rogerpatterson.html>. He also pointed me to <http://www.bbka.org.uk/news/news/queenspoor-mating-and-lay.shtml>. Patterson presented a different variety of information from university studies. With over thirty years of hive experience, and a willingness to share bee info between Dec. 23, 2006 and Jan. 2, 2007. Roger Patterson proved a valuable resource in preparing this paper.
Phillips, Kathleen. “Harris County Added to Quarantine List for Africanized Bees.” Texas A & M University Agricultural News Home Page path. August 16, 2001. <http://agnews.tamu.edu/dailynews/stories/ENTO/Aug1701a.htm>. Complete site; Reliable, research and data based on a Texas university’s agricultural department news release for faculty and students in bee realm; details Africanized Hbee behavior, appearance, problems, and problems that AFHB has caused in US since 1990; ways state is combating problems; motivation of responsibility to inform; viewed 12/30/06.
“Pollinator Decline.” Wikipedia online encyclopedia. Dec. 23, 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollinator_decline>. Complete site; authority as online encyclopedia with no obvious bias; section contains facts, numbers, dire future predictions for agriculture unless changes are made; viewed 12/23/06.
Rinderer, Dr. Thomas. Pennsylvania State University, and University of Delaware, in association with The Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAAREC). <http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/powerpoints/AfricanHB.ppt>. Complete site; Powerpoint presentation on the arrival and consequences of Africanized honeybees in the US; motivation to present new information about these bees; reliable scholastic and USDA source; viewed 12/30/06.
Roach, John. “Bee Decline May Spell End of Some Fruits, Vegetables.” National Geographic Magazine. October 2004. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1005_041005_honeybees.html>. Complete site; web archive of news story by NPR journalist writing for acclaimed magazine; motivated by promoting potential damage to ecosystem, and is possibly extreme view of conservational author Roach; viewed 12/13/06.
Roach, John. “Can Wild Bees Take Sting from Honeybee Decline?” National Geographic Magazine. October 2004. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1020_041020_wildbee.htm>. Complete site; web archive of news story by NPR journalist writing for acclaimed magazine; motivated by promoting data on other bee species as additional crop pollinators: positive and negative points seem to cancel each other out—could help in some species, but they are losing habitat and numbers as well: viewed 12/13/06.
Roach, John. “Power Lines Make a New Kind of Buzz.” National Geographic Magazine. Dec. 14, 2005. <http://nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/12/1214/_051214_bees.htm>. Complete site; web archive of news story by conservationist, author, and NPR journalist; motivated to explain positive consequences when power companies allow right-of-way areas to return to native vegetation, inviting honeybees to take nectar from flowers that bloom over a long period, providing stable food source; good theory, but only two power companies and one small study used in research—skeptical of small sampling: viewed 12/13/06.
Tyler, Laura. “Laura Tyler—Artist, Filmmaker Home Page path.” <www.LauraTyler.com>. Complete site; includes gallery of her encaustics, charcoal on paper, and acrylics, as well as news and blog. Interviewed via e-mail between Dec. 20 – 30, 2006; Tyler has personal expertise in several aspects of bees and ecology issues.