Narrowing Down the Bee Problem

I read over on EcoGeek that they’re making some progress on the disappearance of the bees. It now appears to be possible that the problem is caused by a fungus. But that’s not certain yet. It could still prove to be a variety of factors.

While these results are highly preliminary, I find them encouraging. It’s a relief to see a cause other than cell phones, which would be very hard to change, and find a fungus related to one they know how to handle.

The trouble is that this may not be the sole cause. The odds are still good that a number of factors are involved, and that the problem relates to the cumulative effect. So we can’t relax just yet and say that it’s not something that will involve big changes. If this fungus is only doing so much damage because the bees are weakened by a different factor, obviously there’s more to work on.

Just the fact that about a quarter of the commercial bee colonies have been lost in the United States is astounding. If this isn’t the solution, more work is going to need to be done fast to figure out what is wrong. A disruption like this to the food chain is no minor problem.

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3 replies on “Narrowing Down the Bee Problem”

  1. Tracy says:

    It’s interesting to think that we find it harder to get rid of cell phones (if necessary) then to do many other things to save something as important to our lives as bees are. Do we know how important that fungus is to other parts of our ecosystem?

    Considering cell phones are relatively new and by no means critical to our survival, you would think we would worry about more important things.

    Of course I was in the same mindset a year ago when I couldn’t be away from my phone because of using it for work. Once I took the plunge and got rid of it, not only have I been much happier and less stressed about being available 24/7, I have saved a bundle.

    Consider how many hours you spend working to pay for something like a cell phone (or many other non essential things) and then think of how much easier life is when you no longer have to make enough to pay for those things.

    I know that isn’t an easy way to think for many, but this last year has seen me rethinking a lot of my old ways.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I know what you mean. I have a cell phone because my inlaws pay for it, and I use it perhaps once a month. I wouldn’t care that much if I had to get rid of it. But I also know that other people would care very much. Just look at how young children get cell phones now because their parents don’t want them to ever be out of contact. Changing that would be tough, and I wouldn’t bet on it happening quickly, even if cell phones were found to be the problem.

    And that’s scary.

  3. […] There’s a somewhat disturbing report on Discovery on how bumblebees appear to be vanishing. People don’t pay nearly as much attention to them as they do to honeybees, which we already know have been in trouble. […]

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