Be Keeping (Bee Keeping Book 1)


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Well, have a go at beekeeping yourself, of course. British bees have actually gone extinct in the s. The extreme cold weather wiped them out and so nowadays we actually have bees from Italy. Most beekeepers in this country keep the bees for the sake of keeping bee numbers up rather than just for gathering honey. The basic equipment is a hive she recommends a national hive, which has an open mesh floor and slide out tray , protective clothing, hive-related tools and a source of bees.

Beekeeping is a seasonal hobby so the time spent on it varies with the seasons. The busiest time is early summer when each hive should be checked weekly to stop swarming and add supers. These groups will often run training programmes, regular meetings and send out regular newsletters. There are a number of sources where you can get your bees from. You can get them from a beekeeper; from a swarm; from your local association and by post. Yes, by post! She said that you should only move the hive three feet every few days from one place to another because bees orientate.

This bee hotel provides a welcome home for a wide variety of visiting bee species and produces around 25 lbs of honey each year. Participants also have the chance to visit the Bee and bee hotel to get real hands on experience handling bees, managing their hives and collecting raw honey in full on beekeeping suits and gloves. And there are taster sessions too for budding beekeepers this August. They can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea after working up an appetite learning and having fun.

Subscribe Now Subscribe Now. Final Say. Long reads. Lib Dems. US Politics. Theresa May. Jeremy Corbyn. Robert Fisk. Mark Steel. Janet Street-Porter. John Rentoul. Chuka Ummuna. Shappi Khorsandi. Gina Miller.

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Our view. Sign the petition. Spread the word. Steve Coogan. Rugby union. Motor racing. Sometimes non-fiction writing can be poetry on the tongue, and this one is as honey sweet as facts can get. This book is a fine mix of the good news and bad of the history of beekeeping. Sometimes I felt profound sadness for the bees and the multiple disorders, and yet remained hopeful for the potential outcomes for our necessary friends.

It made me want to finally purchase some bees and learn the art of apiary.


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Jul 10, Alex Buschmann rated it really liked it. I've always been fascinated with bees and their importance in our ecosystem. This book did a good job of explaining both the history of beekeeping, as well as the current challenges of the modern bee keepers. It covered things talked about in the media currently, such as colony collapse disorder, though because of the structure of the story, it was limited and I would have liked to hear more about it.

Ultimately a very informative book with a story told in an easy to follow way! Sep 18, Jeff rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anaiis,. Recommended to Jeff by: found it on the library shelves. John Miller is crazy. Not because he's a smoking, drinking Mormon. Not because he writes email poetry. Because he is a bee guy and bee guys, by definition, are crazy.

You'd have to be to tie your ever-loving life to the fate of a creature who's whole existence revolves around desire and duty, nothing more, nothing less. A creature who may no longer exist by the end of the century Bees are the middleman - both voyeur and courtesan - of the flowering plant kingdom. They carry one plant's passion p John Miller is crazy. They carry one plant's passion pollen to another and in so doing are the agent of procreation, fulfilling the desires of not only another species, but a whole other kingdom.

And by doing this, they dutifully bring home more pollen than they leave on the plants which is turned into nectar which is turned into honey which keeps the bee's healthy and happy and keeps this miraculous cycle going. A byproduct of this interplay of duty and desire is the feeding of America, and the world at large. John Miller is a bee guy Bees - in the last 40 years have been hit by wave after wave of one crippling disease after another: foulbrood, varroa jacobsonii, nosema, varroa destructor, small hive beetles, and now, colony collapse disorder CCD.

All are gruesome and chilling, and the bees have been suffering and dying off in horrifying numbers. A swarm left to fend for itself in the wild is guaranteed not to survive, there are no longer any feral bees left in North America. But this is John Miller's lament, not his dirge. There is hope that the honeybee will indeed survive.

Hannah Nordhaus does a masterful job of mixing the bad and the dreadful with the good and hopeful. She does a fine job of comparing John Miller's specifics and beekeeping in general. She even shares some fascinating history of beekeeping in America, and mentions the role of the small beekeeper in the present crisis objectively stating that large bee-migrating ventures like John Miller's may be part of the problem.

For the experienced beekeeper and the beginner, and for those at all interested in this unique being, The Beekeeper's Lament will be "the bee in your bonnet.

Apr 27, Mark Stevens rated it it was amazing. You might never eat another almond again without thinking about a lowly honey bee somewhere in California, doing its thing. You'll also think about the army of beekeepers it takes to deliver the beehives to the right fields at the right time. Hannah Nordhaus is the unobtrusive and credible pal who will peel back the mysteries and wonder one layer at a time. The reporting dives into the world of honey bees from a number of angles, including the ongoing puzzle with Colony Collapse Disorder, the history of beekeeping, the history of construction of manmade hives, regulatory oversight of the business, bee thieves, the biology of bees and the varieties of honey they produce, among dozens of other topics.

Read this book and then go buy some honey. Aug 10, Snap rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , read-in I was fascinated by this book. It was a gift to me from a dear friend. I think I remember hearing the author on NPR at one time. Nordhaus follows beekeeper John Miller as he trucks his hives around the country to various farmers who need pollinators. I learned so many things: The honey bee is not native to the U. It was brought from Europe. Without the bees pollination services, many of our nation's crops would produce only a small fraction of the harvest they generate with the bees help.

Stay I was fascinated by this book. Stay away from Dollar Store honey. I turned down many page corners normally a no-no in any of my books , but there were so many things I wanted to remember. The bees don't have an easy time. Between Colony Collapse Disorder, mites and other disorders -- the populations of honey bees is less and less each year.

Feral honey bees are almost unheard of. Not too technical. I didn't feel like I was wading through page after page of facts. John Miller's story as a beekeeper was interesting to read.

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I laughed out loud more than once. If you don't know anything about bees and honey production this gives a really good insight in to the honey bee production cycle and then issues plaguing bees. Easy to read, informative, and entertaining. I never would have expected a book about bees and beekeeping to hit my five-star mark, but The Beekeeper's Lament absolutely did. This thorough, well-researched, and remarkably accessible look into the history and current struggles of beekeeping is both eye-opening and funny. The author manages to sprinkle her reporting with wry observations that the keep the narrative light and entertaining.

Her portrait of John Miller, owner of one of the big beekeeping operations, serves as a grounding backdr I never would have expected a book about bees and beekeeping to hit my five-star mark, but The Beekeeper's Lament absolutely did. Her portrait of John Miller, owner of one of the big beekeeping operations, serves as a grounding backdrop and humanizes the world of bees and beekeeping. She captures him in a very realistic and surprisingly charming light--given that most beekeepers are notoriously "not people people" I mean, they prefer to hang around with bees, for crying out loud --including excerpts from his whimsical, free-verse-style emails to her and highlighting his intelligence, his creativity, his oddities, and his profound attachment to his bees in a way that almost makes you wish you'd gotten to be the one palling around with him as he takes his bees all over the country.

One of the John Miller gems: "If no one is looking, snorking from a honeybear is perfectly legal. Nonetheless, bees get stolen all the time. Rather than being a "the apocalypse is coming because we're killing the bees" manifesto, it's simply an exploration of the good and bad that's happened to beekeepers over the generations of American beekeeping. One of Nordhaus's observations near the end of the book sums up my feelings about it quite succinctly: "Like bees plunging headlong into the deluding sweets, like drunks in quest of their next fix, the beekeeper obliges, instinctively, whatever the cost.

Unlike bees, though, beekeepers are human—they have a choice. We should be grateful, then, that they have chosen to do something so imprudent, so daft. The world would not function without them. I'll plant a garden of wildflowers when I have a yard of my own, in their honor. May 27, Maddi Miller rated it really liked it.

Without the work of our pollinators, certain flowers and crops would cease to exist. Unfortunately, not everyone remembers the role pollinators play in their everyday lives. In particular, honey bees are responsible for pollinating the plants of foods we often enjoy. Nordhaus begins the book with by introducing John Miller.

Miller is a father and husband, but most of all he is a migratory beekeeper. His big business is travelling around the country to bring his bee colonies to locations where there are not enough pollinators to support the agrobusiness in the area. This is important to note because this is one of the biggest sources of income for these migratory beekeepers. The odd thing about this is that the hives that were empty still appeared perfectly healthy, in fact, the hives still had their queen intact and plenty of honey in them.


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  • The bees had seemingly disappeared into thin air. After going over the initial rash of Colony Collapse Disorder, Nordhaus goes on to discuss other reasons why bees are dying in large populations. Not to mention the quarantines of California and Canada, which were both huge places for business for migratory beekeepers. These pests not only severely decreased the bee population, but it also financially hurt those who worked in the beekeeping industry.

    Finally, the discussion about CCD re-emerges. The autopsies yielded results that were just as, if not more, confusing than the sudden departures of the bees from their healthy hives. When bees are autopsied, they are typically white and creamy when they are cut into, but the bees in this lab had black insides. This was indicative of some kind of infection.

    The bees were infected, but they were all infected with different diseases. There were a number of theories that Nordhaus presented in regard to the causes of CCD. Some of the potential causes were viruses, mites, pesticides, and perhaps the most sensational of them all: cell phone towers.

    Nordhaus dismisses the idea that CCD could be caused by cellphone towers, because there have been cases of it in remote areas with very few, if any cellphone towers are present. The bees are brought to the almond farms to pollinate during a time of year when they would much rather be dormant.

    Something I enjoyed about this book was the variety of new concepts it introduced me to. In all honesty, I had relatively little knowledge about bees and their struggle. I was also acutely unaware of the problem of CCD. Nordhaus does a good job of presenting the information about CCD in a way that is both easy and enjoyable to read.

    His voice adds a bit of fun to the book, which I quite appreciated, especially considering how heavy the subject matter can get.

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    For Miller, it was because his family continued to pass down the beekeeping business. A critique I have for the author was how long it took for the book to come back to the topic of CCD. While the book did provide this, there was a gap of nearly pages in between mentions of the disease. I was hoping that the causes and effects of CCD would have been more integrated into the book, rather than a chunk of information about other pests and diseases in the middle.

    I feel as though I sort of forgot that CCD was even an issue until I was reminded in the latter part of the book. Overall, Nordhaus does a good job of providing information about how honeybees are integral to our food system and the threats that face them. This information is not only relevant, but it is incredibly important. Without the work of bees and the migratory beekeepers, a number of agrarian industries will cease to exist. The livelihoods of millions of people depend on honeybees. Aug 29, Penny rated it really liked it.

    Audible Bees are in the news and we're worried about the future of food production if Hive Collapse issues can't be understood and cured. This book provided in depth background on the history of beekeeping, types of bees, types of mites, predators, cycle of hive growth, prosperity and collapse along with the industry of bee keeping. Migrant bee keepers managing thousands of hives, transporting them to where the blossoms are and keeping them fed and healthy in the down seasons.

    How the popularity Audible Bees are in the news and we're worried about the future of food production if Hive Collapse issues can't be understood and cured. How the popularity of almonds led to a boom for beekeepers, and how seedless cuties and clementines led to lawsuits against beekeepers who "couldn't keep their bees away from the trees they did NOT want pollinated. Descriptions of smuggled queen bees, semi-trailer crashes that left thousands of hives open, dripping honey on the highway and angry bees everywhere--the tragic loss of bee lives when there's drought or cold, disease or collapse.

    Bee rustling. Very interesting book. Centers around a few main characters in bee keeping but provides good background and research. OH and you get the bonus of learning the bee sting pain calibration scale. I'd rather know John Miller, the beekeeper in the title, than read about him. He seems like a really good and interesting guy but the author falls well short of the mark in telling his story.

    The Orchid Thief itself is a desultory, bloated magazine article but the Laroche portions are hilarious and magnetic. Staying on The Orchid Thief subject for two more points: Chris Cooper is fantastic I'd rather know John Miller, the beekeeper in the title, than read about him.

    Staying on The Orchid Thief subject for two more points: Chris Cooper is fantastic as Laroche in the movie Adaptation and Brian Cox's speech in Adaptation about writing a screenplay where nothing happens in the real world is one of the best minute and a half monologues in film. Fortunately the author spends about half of the book providing popular science details about bees, pollination, honey and the like.

    There's a successful formula for conveying scientific information in an interesting way and Nordhaus succeeds in this regard. I think all of my kindle highlights relate to the natural science portions. If Nordhaus had Olean's ability to tell the main subject's story in such a funny and compelling way this would have been an absolute 5 star book. As it is the book is good but very uneven. Jul 09, Brooke rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , pop-sugar-book-challenge , audiobook , k-u. I learned an aweful lot about honey bees I grabbed this during an audible sale since it was narrated by one of my favorite female audiobook narrators Xe Sands.

    I feel like this was basically a 7 hr pod cast on bees. Which Well Which does in fact challenge me to read new genres each year. Apr 22, Novah rated it liked it. Pretty endearing story on the Beekeepers of America and lots of insight on how and why bees are dying. I felt the author ran-on quite a lot. Sometimes it was difficult to understand where the sentence actually began. Apr 28, Shani rated it really liked it Shelves: It started out a little slow, but then picked up pace.

    I found it to be incredibly fascinating. In all my ignorance, I had no idea what went on with storing, breeding, feeding, and transporting bees.

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    I will never look at honey the same way again. Don't buy honey at the dollar store. It's mostly corn syrup. Jul 03, Chris C rated it really liked it Shelves: science , conservation. A love letter to the bee and its keeper, Nordhaus covers a brief history of bees and beekeeping, the life of the modern bee and the beekeeper, and the very dangerous problem they face today. I enjoyed the way that Langstroth is referenced throughout, his loving, classical approach to the insects in a way that a doting father might describe his young children.

    Langstroth, for those that don't know, died fairly poor even after inventing the original design, and thusly being taken advantage of by o A love letter to the bee and its keeper, Nordhaus covers a brief history of bees and beekeeping, the life of the modern bee and the beekeeper, and the very dangerous problem they face today. Langstroth, for those that don't know, died fairly poor even after inventing the original design, and thusly being taken advantage of by other businessmen, for the beehive that is still being used today.

    And the story does go on to describe how thankless and low paying the job of the beekeeper is. It's very clear that the overwhelming majority of beekeepers are truly in it for the joy of solitude, nature, or due to other painful emotions related to working in more social settings. Of course, the plight of the bee is also the plight of our planet, as many things that effect the life and health of bees are the same struggles that we as humans deal with on a grand scale: the corruption and pollution of natural habitats where food is found, the degradation of the quality of food that is available for consumption, the questionable protections and regulations related to their health.

    I would have liked to hear more about what is being done today, if anything to help some of these issues, considering how critical bees are to pollinating and producing food. The ending is very abrupt and left me with more than a few questions. One can take solace in the fact that books like this raise awareness and potentially can sway folks that are truly concerned about the future of the bee, other animals, humans, and our world at whole.

    The audiobook is narrated by a sweet-voiced woman that I truly savored every second of. Even her imitations of gruff beekeepers with beards is translated with her soft and inviting voice. When a bee colony dies though, he lacks the tools to describe his feelings. The loss is so profound. At the time, Miller had set himself a modest goal of total global domination of the beekeeping industry. There was nothing for a beekeeper to do but throw up his hands, take another loan, and start again. It was, Miller says, a profound collapse They bees are reliable, predictable.

    They are, in short, not in the business of wandering off for no apparent reason. And yet, in late and and again in the winter of , that's exactly what they did. The strange disappearances left many apiaries almost completely devoid of adult bees. The hives did not appear outwardly diseased. Rather, they waited fully stocked with honey and larvae like ghost ships for their inhabitants to return.

    But the bees never came back. Perhaps that's why the world was so taken by the mass collapse in - it was creepy. Hackenburg was the first to witness and report a loss, but others soon followed. The scientific community initially gave the strange numality "Fall Dwindle Disease", but as fall turned to winter and winter to spring, and beekeepers across the country and then the world began to report similar inexplicable losses, they renamed it "Colony Collapse Disorder". The past 20 years have been the most tumultuous in the history of man's relationship with bees.

    The past five were bloodletting. Life brings sickness with it. You can see the signs of it in the bees without any doubt. Their color changes as soon as they fall ill. Their bodies are all disheveled and there's a dreadful emaciation in the look of them. And then you can see the other bees as they carry out from the dwelling places the bodies of those from whom the life has gone.

    And you can see the sick ones not yet dead that hang almost motionless around the doors outside with cross and tangled feet. Or still inside listless with hunger and shrunken from the cold. And then you can hear a mournful long drawn out whispering rustling sound, like the sound of the cold south wind as it murmurs in the wood. Or like the agitated hissing of the sea as the waves draw back.

    Or the seething noise of a fire eating its way as it burns inside a furnace. Ch2, Beekeepers' Roulette Despite the superiority of his hive, the greatest threat to world's bees was still the incompetence of their keepers. Nor could it guarantee prosperity. And those who are conscious of a strong disposition to procrastinate and neglect, will do very well to let bees alone. Langstroth was among them: He patented his hive in but found that it was impossible to enforce. Entrepeneurs quickly brought their own versions of the hive to market, and although he initiated a number of lawsuits to enforce his rights, the mental energy required to litigate sent him into a enervating bout of head trouble.

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    While under its full power, he wrote of his depressive spiral: "The things in which I usually take the greatest pleasure are the very ones which distress me the most. Not only do lose all interest in bees, but prefer to sit on the other side of the house where I could neither see nor hear them. I would see the letter B and it would push me deeper into darkness.

    Four improvements in the midth century which transformed the industry to commercial endeavor 1. Langstroth Hive 2. Wax comb foundation sheets for the Langstroth Hive, giving bees a headstart on hive-making 3. Honey extractor, using centrifugal force to remove honey without destroying the hive 4. Moses Quimby Smoker added a more reliable bellows to the traditional firebox used to calm bees Beekeeping may be one of the nation's last Aristocracies. This is due in part to the imposing startup costs.

    It's easy enough to run a backyard hive or two, but to make a living, most beekeepers believe you need a minimum of hives. Beekeepers are not typically people people. They like to be outside working with their hands, alone. After WWI, the US and British governments promoted beekeeping as a career for disfigured or shell shocked veterans because they could work on their own.

    A bee yard is a good place to hide from other people, and for that reason beekeepers are often secluded souls. This is ironic because the creatures they tend are so existentially social. Ch 3, The Tiny Leviathan Even a single mite can cut a an adult bee's lifespan by as much as half. When mite populations grow they sap strength and vigor from entire hives Since , the mite has been the major cause of honeybee mortality across the entire US. No one knows for sure exactly how the verroa mite first arrived on US shores. Mite-infested bees would not have flown on their own from veroa-effected areas, even those in South America where the mite had been found in the s.

    Most beekeepers and scientists believe the verroa mite entered the US through Florida, where most beekeeping scourges seem to originate. Beekeepers hated everything about insecticides Now, they were forced to dose their own hives with chemicals. Were several effective miteocides on the market at a time, beekeepers could engage in a rotational scheme of integrated pest management using materials for limited periods and switching before the mites developed resistance.

    As it is, by the time a new miteocide is approved, the old ones have failed. So beekeepers either follow the rules and risk losing everything, or try unsanctioned home remedies to keep their hives alive. Ch 4, Faustian Bargains There is no better place to grow almonds. God was selective when he was thinking about almonds.

    The mile stretch of the central valley between Bakersfield in the south and Red Bluff in the north remains the only North American location where almonds can be cultivated for bulk commercial sale. The sandy loam and mediterranean conditions there are perfect for the mass production of almonds: inches of rain per year, hot dry summers, annual chilling hours between November and December, mild Januaries and Februaries, well drained soil, flood irrigation.

    Almond economics have defied the laws of gravity. Typically, a large supply of a product will mean a drop in prices for farmers who sell it hence the regular price supports for staples like corn, cotton, and soybeans of which we often produce too much. No one knows exactly when the honeybee did the reproductive work of the flowering plant. Paleobotanists place the development somewhere around million years ago during the Cretaceous period when the number of plant species grew more than seven fold and flowers learned that visiting bugs or birds could make their procreative tasks much easier.

    A delayed bloom in coincided with the initial onslaught of CCD deaths. And even when the trees flower, it is crowded. A healthy hive can typically pollinate about an acre but with two or even three hives per acre in the orchards, these arrangements bare far less resemblance to wild meadows than to feed lots for cattle or swine. Then of course, there's the danger of contagion. The fact that for that six week period where nearly every commercial hive in the country has been shipped to California, the central valley is essentially a single mile long bee yard with bees from Florida swapping spit with others from ND, TX, AK, PA.

    Each winter, pests and pathogens from one region hop with ease onto still untainted bees from the rest of the country When beekeepers return home from the almond fields, they infect bees that have stayed at home with smaller scale beekeepers, along with whatever feral bees might have survived the previous year's contagions.

    The almond orchards have been compared with a brothel for their remarkable capacity to transmit disease across the country. In Paradise Lost, John Milton compared the zealous industry of bees to the labors of angels: "As bees, in spring-time when the sun with Taurus rides, Pour forth their populous youth about the hive In clusters; they, among fresh dews and flowers, Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, The suburb of their straw-built citadel," The angels he described were fallen - they were building Hell.

    So too today's honeybees pour forth into the almonds unstinting, diligent, forbearing - they are assembling their own demise. Ch 5, Trespasses Bees are worth a lot of money before almond pollination. When the almonds are in bloom and bees are in hot demand, almond ranchers must do anything and everything to pollinate their trees or risk losing their crop. Most pay what they feel are extorted prices for a sufficient supply of hives or if they are desperate, they may resort to renting bees from shady amateurs at bargain-basement prices. As pollination prices have risen Miller and other beekeepers across California have seen increasing losses to theft in the weeks before the bloom.

    And the only time he's recovered any bees was the time he and his dad stole those hives back. The ancient Roman writer Columella that beegoing folk must avoid such things as offend bees like being unchaste or uncleanly for impurity and sluttiness they utterly abhor. Along with smelling of sweat or having a stinking breath caused either through eating of leeks, onions, garlic and the like he suggested quaffing a cup of beer to make it go away or being given to surfeiting or drunkenness or being too loud or sudden in one's movements.

    In a word thou must be chaste, cleanly, sweet, sober, quiet and familiar so they will love thee and know thee from all others. In recent years they have rearranged some Mercat chromosome to create a sterile hybrid called the Tango which is identical to the original but averages only one seed in five fruits regardless of how many bees hover nearby. Millions of the new trees have been planted, but for those who made early investments in trees that can't tolerate bees the new hybrids arrived too late. It is easier to interdict bees than replace trees. Unless of course you are a beekeeper.

    Unless you need billions of flowers to feed billions of insects that you can't truly possess, that you can't control, that can't read no trespassing signs or understand the concepts with no fly zones or hybridization or changing consumer preference. Unless you love something that can't love you back, that is just as happy to hurt you, that lives without concern for his keeper or his profit margins are his pride and that dies with astonishing indiscretion.

    That simply does what it was born to do. The results were mystifying. They had multiple viral bacterial parasitic and fungal infections but none seemed to suffer from the exact same infection. Some had deformed wing virus, some had sacbrood virus, some had black queen cell virus, some had chalkbrood, some had nozema, some had other viruses that hadn't yet been identified. None had the same exact combination of pathogens nor did they have large loads of mites as nearly everyone had expected. Had mites been reponsible, the scientists would have found large numbers in surviving colonies or sealed up with the brood yet to hatch.

    What all this confounding evidence suggested wasn't entirely clear. The affected bees immune systems, fragile under any circumstances, simply weren't functioning as intended. Much as an AIDS patient suffers from a variety of exotic and typically rare infections so did hackenberg's bee populations. The Penn State entymologists gave it an appropriately apocalyptic yet vague name: Colony Collapse Disorder. The British study had not even gotten underway before press releases issued forth. Every scientist, it seemed, looked at the disorder through the prism of his or her own particular speciality in circumstances.

    Every advocate favored his own particular cause or worldview. The disorder was so poorly defined that it was easy to shape to fit one's own conclusions. Scientists had begun to come to a vague consensus about the CCD test though it's not a particularly satisfying one. A study from the CCD working group concluded that the distribution of CCD apiaries suggested either a contagious condition or exposure to a common risk factor. Neighboring colonies tended to die together and that CCD colonies generally had higher viral loads and were coinfected with a greater number of pathogens than where the control colonies.

    A later study confirm that CCD bees carried increased viral loads particularly from a suite of percorna-like retroviruses that hijacks cellular production of important proteins and work much like another retrovirus, HIV, which leaves humans vulnerable to opportunistic diseases that someone with a healthy immune system would easily ward off. A study found that in colonies with nosema ceranae infection the retroviruses were at levels two to three times higher than and healthy colonies.

    Most scientists working on unraveling the CCD mystery have concluded that no single factor can be blamed for the malady. Instead, a combination of factors is probably responsible: some sort of interaction between pathogens and variables such as nutrition, weather, varroa mites, pesticides, and other modern insults of long-distance beekeeping. So bees have acquired yet another job, as if they didn't already have enough work to do pollinating flowers, providing for the queen and her offspring, and building and protecting the hive.

    They have been assigned extra metaphorical tasks as symbols of industry, selflessness community, and domesticity and lately as exoskeletal canaries in a coal mine. The public is fascinated with colony collapse disorder because many believed that bees are the Silent Spring like harbingers a retribution for our crimes against nature.

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    Dying bees are symbols of environmental sin, of the synthetic crimes of the chemical industry. Ch 7, Survivor Stock As with worker bees producing royal jelly, queen rearers today create queens in situations of prosperity or panic. Panic for most beekeepers who are losing their bees at such alarming rates, prosperity for the queen rearers who are replacing them.

    Half the hives in the US now go through twice the queens they used to. Human selection often has unintended consequences. Before the langstroth hive came along beekeepers used to destroy their heaviest colonies to extract honey, thus inadvertently selecting for less productive bees. Thanks to the queen rearing industry, bees that adapt to their local microclimates are replaced each year with bees from somewhere else.

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