[ExI] walking bees

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Fri Jun 1 19:22:39 UTC 2007

Perhaps you have read of the collapsing bee colony issue that surfaced last
year in the states and is now being reported in Europe.  Here are a couple
of good articles on it:



The possible explanations include new nicotine based pesticides and GM
crops, etc.

In the past few weeks I have seen something I do not recall seeing before:
distressed bees walking along the ground, apparently unable to fly.  A
couple weeks ago I saw one and noted that it was the fourth I had seen in
the past month.  

This morning I saw a fifth and stopped to watch for a few minutes.  She
staggered about, occasionally batting her wings to no avail.  I hassled her,
but she could not fly or take defensive action.  Several times she fell
over, sometimes on her side, a couple times on her back, clearly struggling.
I carefully picked her up and carried her a few blocks to my home.  I put
her in a specimen jar still alive, but she perished within about an hour.

As the beekeepers and entomologists ponder this, I wondered if it would be
any help if urban dwellers would collect specimens like this one.  Would
that data point tell them anything?  They mostly study farm bees, but what
about their city cousins?

ExIers, have you seen walking or dead bees on your daily walks?  I know from
my work as a beekeeper in my misspent youth that bees seldom sting in self
defense, so it is likely you can take one home for study should you see one.
(If you have never had a bee sting and don't know if you are allergic, don't
fool with this.  I would hate to feel responsible for slaying a friend.)  If
we can get sick bees home to study, could we learn anything?  I am thinking
of trying to dissect this one to look for tracheal mites.  Could we offer to
send the urban bees to a central study place?  Ideas?



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