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Why are Honeybees Disappearing?

By May 14, 2008

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Honeybee colonies are dying or disappearing in record numbers, with potentially devastating effects on agriculture and food supplies. What is causing the dramatic decline of honeybee populations in the U.S. and elsewhere, and what is being done to solve the problem?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


May 15, 2008 at 6:44 am
(1) guidoLaMoto says:

Another reason to panic: Honey Bees are dying!
a) HB populations fluctuate naturally in tandem with their parasites: viruses, fungi & certain wasps.
b)HBs are exotic species, not native to NA. Before they were importd here, there were naturally occurring pollinators in greater numbers, now suppressed by the outside competition. Their numbers will increase as HBs decrease. That’s probably desirable.

May 21, 2008 at 9:38 pm
(2) Arvind Kumar says:

One theory has it that bio-pesticides are causing honeybees to lose the ability to find their way back to the hive. Any truth to this?

May 23, 2008 at 7:45 pm
(3) Jimbo the 27 eyed bass says:

Your article said “may” or “maybe” too many times to be journalistic. I appreciate your bringing the subject to light, but ‘ol boy with the first comment is right. Maybe you should write an article about graphing a species niche. Ill give you a hint: it goes up and down.

June 4, 2008 at 6:43 pm
(4) arvind kumar says:

Arvind is such a Hindu

July 8, 2008 at 12:17 pm
(5) KE says:

News flash JIMBO… the honeybees are not only dying they are DISAPPEARING. As in, the bodies cannot be found. So it is NOT just a regular “up and down” as you so clearly hypothesized. And FOR THE RECORD, EVERYTHING in science is explained with “may” and “maybe”. A theory is an educated guess that has been tested enough to be THOUGHT to be true. The theory of relativity is just a THEORY but that does not mean it is false. Take a science class before you state your uneducated opinions and if you want to see it in a picture, which might help you understand, go see M. Night’s new movie, The Happening. Thanks! :)

July 12, 2008 at 6:39 pm
(6) guidoLaMoto says:

I laughed when I read some of the first articles about this topic, stating that the bees were actually disappearing (gotta be aliens, then, right?) Try taping a bee to a rock and throwing it out 150 ft into a meadow. Think you can find it later?

July 12, 2008 at 7:14 pm
(7) guidoLaMoto says:

Better example for perspective: According to Wikipedia, a hive contains a max of 40,000 bees. If all died simultaneously, but spread evenly over only one sq. mi. there would be one little carcass every 64 sq ft- an 8 x 8 ft space- pretty tough to spot ‘em in the weeds.

September 13, 2008 at 5:58 pm
(8) billy bob says:

They are disappearing at my house because I step on them every chance I get. If you look at the bottom of my boot, you’ll find a colony.

October 12, 2008 at 7:14 pm
(9) Jonathan says:

It’s time to C after B’s. Like in the alphabet.

October 14, 2008 at 10:10 pm
(10) Toney says:

Is it possible that as the magnetic poles slowly shift, they follow the true magnetic poles, and are getting lost.
Considering the fact that our magnetic poles flip every 400,000 years, and that almost every migratory animal has built-in compass.

January 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm
(11) Just a theory says:

What if the bee’s are dying off because of just the weather patterns now.

I mean i dont know how it is everywhere else in the world but here in texas its really cold for like a week then we get GREAT weather for a few days then we get another cold spell. The bee’s i think get confused, so they come out as the weather gets warm enough for them but then all of a sudden it gets extremely cold again. They die from the cold weather.

I dunno just a thought

March 22, 2009 at 12:45 pm
(12) Chris says:

I dont know if this is true, maybe someone will try it for themselves. Place a working cellphone that is powered on ontop of a honeybee box. Occasionally call the phone over a period of two to three days. Afterwards see if the bees remain in high number. Report the findings.

April 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm
(13) charles says:

I think all the bees are leaving because they hate all the people commenting on this page…

April 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm
(14) Shaun says:

Bees have a magnetoreception system sensitive down to 26nT at 10 to 60Hz, according to Kirschvink et al. (1997), decreasing rapidly with increasing frequency. Maybe living under power lines isnít a completely good idea.
Its the increase in man-made magnetic fields (cell phone towers/power infastrucure) causing the bees to be unable to find their hive, and when on masse, each colony/hive dies. It has been proven in experiments.

April 26, 2009 at 6:37 am
(15) John says:

Albert Einstein, said “If all the honey bees die off the Earth has about 4 years to survive.” 2012!

May 2, 2009 at 3:39 am
(16) Bada Shahdank says:

Shaun is right. When bees die, ants can carry them away very quickly.

June 13, 2009 at 1:58 pm
(17) connie zaste says:

Scince the bees are so important and they truely are very important, then maybe you enviromentalists should send out warnings to all americans who live in the U.S. I am only a young teenager that is more informed on the bee population decline than my 50 year old grandfather! I am trying to change the way that people live so that the enviroment will be safe for all species and so that we can all live healthy lives. I am only a young girl that seems to know little; therefor, I am not the biggest influence on people and how to live their lives. You are! please e-mail me with an answer and if you will, keep me informed. I’m going to try to make a differnce! Thank you for your time.

July 24, 2009 at 1:28 am
(18) Howard says:

Ive read lots about this problem.Maby the bees are trying to tell us somthing,Like a canary in a mine.The thing that makes most sense to me ,Are university studies on pesticides,when combined can have effects 1000 fold just to name one.Were using pesticides that have been banned in other countries,Where is are common sense.

July 27, 2009 at 2:44 am
(19) nativeal, says:

hey love these bees {amoo}but as far as i know there non indeginous {SORRY FOR THE SPELLING} and caps animals that whre brought to this country and killed of iondegiones beesz just like my people native americans ojibwe tribe which is the largest in the country

November 7, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(20) summerchaser says:

Its been said….. if the honey bees disappear ……it will be the end of human life on earth ……. this is something einstein predicted…..
and it seems to be crossing over with the aligment of planets to come about in 2012…… which is another so called doomsday prediction for 12. 21. 2012…… with a few saying 12.12.2012 the planets aligment strangely something that hasnt happaned supposely in 25 thou years.( i wonder who was there to note the time) and when this happans its likely the earth with move from its orbit and cause havic … and supposely the years before more storms draughts… terror with peoples of the world ect…..
the only thing about any of it….. that one … which was written before christ…… predicted NOT .. the end it said but something about great changes…. completely different world…… an ahhhhhhh if u havent noticed….. that one just could happan……
we all should party like its 1999 that eve…… lol…..

February 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm
(21) Maggierose says:

I have the Question too. Where are the pollinating bees we used to see everywhere?
I have apple trees that blossom at different times in the spring. My crabapples are all polinated, bumper crops & the larger apples have a dozen or two to a whole tree. I have not seen any honeybees for 5 years here next to the Experimental stations Farm, where they grow little patches of grain and Canola seed. If it were not for the Jumbo-bees walking all over the blossoms of the trees, we would have no fruit. I know of some older folks like myself who can stand on a ladder, arm themselves with a soft paint brush, touching each flower to mix the pollen and set the fruit. They did not wait for the bees to be hopefully reserected, or brought in by a new farmer, who has not yet lost his collony, from whatever is plagueing them.
Last year I saw one small honeybee around my garden. It did not look well fed. Please do not laugh at these bee problems. Did you know that witout polinating flowers Natures way, there will be no seeds from which to plant to grow food for families like yours and mine. I am a seed saver and have reason to worry if my seed plants have few or no seeds..
Polination of trees and garden plants is as important as pruning the trees and bushes , to make more branches with
new buds for next year. People who step on honeybees needs their head examined. Please study Natures way of producing by pollination, because spray pollinated fruit has no seeds.
I do hope this helps someone find the answers to our problems.

September 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm
(22) Doodlebop says:

We have become a culture which **takes everything for granted** (“they” will take care of it). We expect to have a flawless life (guaranteed) until we draw our last breath at maybe 80 or even 90. We take honey been for granted (so invisible anyway), birds, fuel, shelter, jobs, electricity, water, healthy food, freedoms, economies. And yet most of these things are the consequence of very delicate natural balances. We (humans) have the capacity to change things on a massive scale — smoke, concrete, flora and fauna, hard surfaces, rain water run off. But we don’t care. We take it for granted. NOW bees cannot be taken for granted. Pure water is at a premium (and needs to be treated). Subtle contingencies are failing (and we cannot even determine how they are failing). We are pretty sure we caused it.

November 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm
(23) Caddie says:

Yes, I think you are very correct >:(. Why are we so selfish?

November 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm
(24) Karen says:

The Bible talks about a huge famine right after Jesus returns to take His followers to heaven. It makes sense to me now why we’ve been noticing them disappearing in the last few years. Without them, we have no food supply which will lead to the great famine. I’m so thankful that I know Jesus as my Savior and will be going with Him when He returns.

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