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Thread: Einstein said only four years without the bees!

  1. #1 Einstein said only four years without the bees! 
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    One of the greatest minds who ever lived, Albert Einstein once said that we would only survive four years without the bees. I have made my own observations and have drawn my own conclusions as to why the bees are dying and invite you to do the same. I can tell you all with absolute certainty that there is an answer. To find that answer all one needs is an open mind reasonable observation and deduction skills and we can find a solution to any problem no matter how great or small.

    Here is the link to my article on the matter.
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  3. #2  
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    The simple answer, no.

    CCD is not caused by light bulbs, for one it still occurs on rural farms, not just in wild colonies in cities. Also, the death occurs over winter.

    Insects in general have good protection against damage from light, since flying around they often fly in the same direction as the sun, they have no eyelids so their eyes have evolved to tolerate intense light.

    Moreover, the type of bees affected are predominantly the docile european honey bee. Africanized bees are unaffected by CCD, if it were merely caused by light bulbs, I think it wouldn't be species restricted.


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  4. #3 Direct Observations. 
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    In my article I stated that I had opportunity to make direct observations. The fact that it is happening in the winter shows that there is indeed hive activity in the colder months when the temperature is mild enough. Rural does not mean that electricity and therefore porch-lights are nonexistent. If the colonies population is at a critical number they are more susceptible to hive collapse. I thank you for your opinion.
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  5. #4  
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    The theory I've heard which I subscribe to is that it's a disease (viral, bacterial, or fungal) which messes with the bees' ability to navigate and find their hive. After enough bees don't come back the hive can't sustain itself and collapses.
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  6. #5 Can I get a witness? 
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    I have witnessed first hand mere 60 watt bulbs blinding any and every bee that was attracted to it. The direct result being death shortly after or the inability to return to the hive. Perhaps no one told them they had an innate evolutionary protection against bright lights. I agree that disease may be a contributing factor but I cannot refute what it taking place right before my eyes.
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  7. #6  
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    This would also fit the "blinded" theory, they won't be able to find there way back to the hive.

    There are probably multiple causes. There is a natural cycle of ups and downs in some animal populations, does anyone know what in nature causes bee population to change?

    Combine a natural low period in the population with a few things caused by technology, this might be what is happening.

    I want to keep some bees and study them.
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  8. #7 Re: Can I get a witness? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seersage
    I have witnessed first hand mere 60 watt bulbs blinding any and every bee that was attracted to it. The direct result being death shortly after or the inability to return to the hive. Perhaps no one told them they had an innate evolutionary protection against bright lights. I agree that disease may be a contributing factor but I cannot refute what it taking place right before my eyes.
    We've had plenty of light pollution for quite a while now. CCD happened en masse in 2006. I don't think 2006 was remarkably more light polluted than 2005. It also doesn't seem to be more prevalent in urbanized areas, as one would expect. Or more prevelant near Las Vegas. I mean, if you want light pollution...
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  9. #8 Thier Natural Habitat 
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    If anyone does have an opportunity to make similar observations of bees. I suggest observing them in their natural habitat. I was fortunate and have two rather large hives embedded in the rental home I am staying in. If I had to put a number on it I would say several thousand dead bees annually I had witnessed beneath the front porch light. What further contributed to the problem is that the windows are not sealed tightly and we experienced mini swarm activity within some of the rooms. Which tells be there is a direct correlation between teh intensity of the light it's availability and the number of bees awakened by it's proximity.
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  10. #9  
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    Well there was a hive in one of those green irrigation boxes near my work. I'd go out at night during crunch mode to stretch my legs and think about something else for a while. The hive was largely inactive at night compared to during the day. There were numerous street lamps around. I didn't notice large piles of dead bees. The hive was quite successful and grew rapidly during the months. Until someone placed a bit of steel wool into the only opening from the irrigation box and the bees basically cooked

    Don't rely on anecdotal evidence. It's a good place to start, but then you need to move on to other, less potentially biased forms of data before you can upgrade hypothesis to theory. Check out wiki. It doesn't mention light pollution as a possible cause. Which means lots of different agencies with lots of smart people in lots of different countries thought about the problem and none of them came up with light pollution. That has to tell you something.
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  11. #10  
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    Please do something about it if you haven't already. Don't they sell covers for outdoor lights?
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  12. #11 Light Covers 
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    Yes I have Marcusclayman. I have also taking other measures to not strain the hives population. Including deterring the homeowner from eradicating the hives which she may do eventually because she is considering selling the home. Perhaps you could come up with ideas to slow and possibly reverse their decline after all our overall survival may depend on it. Even with light covers I noticed that there were still dead bees beneath the fixture possibly indicating that they had grown too fatigued to return to the hive.
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  13. #12 Nimsgil 
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    The street lights may have been of the incandescent variety which do not emit polarized radiation and thus would not attract the bees. It's not here-say it is through direct observation that I base my conclusion on.
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  14. #13 Cumulative 
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    Light pollution would have a cumulative effect that would have the appearance of mass phenomena. There is a threshold. It is local phenomenon with global ramifications.
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  15. #14 Lots of minds lot of smart people 
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    Yes, it tells me that none of them may have had the opportunity to observe the phenomenon directly. I don't see how my conclusion can be biased. It is not an opinion of what's happening. It is cause and effect. I turn on light. Bee detects light and pursues it get blinded and die. It is not that I believe the bee to be dead it is in fact dead. No matter how many people are working on a problem or how intelligent they are. If the opportunity is not present we are inevitably wasting taxpayer money.
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    You're basically saying that you've arrived at the right answer where hundreds of apiologists and bee keepers don't even consider it a likely possibility. You're extrapolating from observations you've made on just two hives to hives all over the world. And you're attributing symptoms you're seeing in individual bees to colony disease (CCD), when the two hives embedded in your home are still quite healthy and don't seem to have suffered from CCD.
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  17. #16 Anyone 
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    I am saying that anyone can come to the same conclusion. I am inviting everyone to make their own observation. Also, I would consider death more than a symptom to the individual bees. Yes, I could Turn on every light in the house open all the windows and try to gauge how much light pollution it takes to collapse a healthy hive but wouldn't I be contributing to the problem? The effect is cumulative. Bee hives are a single cohesive unit. It is not every bee out for himself unlike in some species that I am aware of. Just because the effects are not immediate doesn't mean that it isn't occurring. Each bee death affects the overall efficiency of the hive and they are all about efficiency.
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  18. #17 Appreciation 
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    I apologize if I seem combative Numsgil. I want you to know that I appreciate you being Devil's Advocate and helping me to explore this problem and consider it from every angle. I am in no way saying that I am smarter than the scientist who are working on it, If I am I would be smart enough to never admit it . I do think that my conclusion bears further investigation I do not and cannot operate under the assumption if they can't do noone can. I could compile more data on the matter myself but I am a little rusty on the scientific method .
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  19. #18  
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    Another group has identified what is causing colony collapse, at least in certain situations, and has found a viable treatment for it.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0414084627.htm

    Seersage, I appreciate your conviction in what you have seen, but you have the tiny sample of two bee hives in a single location, and you are describing a phenomenon which has never been observed before by the many, many people who work with bees and in particular with colony collapse. I'm sorry, but the evidence leads me to doubt your conclusion.
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  20. #19 Paralith 
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    That is quite alright Paralith. I am not really looking for recognition or specific support. As to your statement I ask you to consider it may only be necessary to observe a few hives in order to make a sound conclusion. Each and every hive are similar enough in characteristics to be vulnerable to the same phenomena. Just because a phenomena is local does not make it unique or exclusive.
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  21. #20 Re: Paralith 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seersage
    As to your statement I ask you to consider it may only be necessary to observe a few hives in order to make a sound conclusion.
    Of course not. But that means your conclusion will only be pertinent to those two hives, and maybe, at a stretch, other hives in the same area on houses with the same type of porch lamp.

    Each and every hive are similar enough in characteristics to be vulnerable to the same phenomena.
    That is a huge assumption to make. Some hives are in more urban areas, some in more rural ones, some in more seasonal northern regions and some in less seasonal southern regions, some in wetter and some drier regions. Surely you're not going to say that every place where there are bees has the exact same climate, the exact same plant species, the exact same exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, etc etc. No, they are not similar enough, at least you haven't done anything to prove that they are.

    Just because a phenomena is local does not make it unique or exclusive.
    Also, of course not. But you cannot say it is not unique or exclusive until you have actually found that same phenomenon in other places and/or under different conditions.
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  22. #21 Cure for CCD 
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    Thank you Paralith for submitting that link. I am not discounting disease as a contributing factor. Or that even the phenomenon that I witnessed is only a contributing factor. In order for the experiment to be successful the environment in which the experiment takes place has to be tightly controlled. Or else the scientific method of discovery could not be implemented, correct? Hence from my perspective would not observing them in a natural state in which an unnatural phenomenon is introduced over a long period of time reveal trends that would be eligible as viable data?
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  23. #22 Re: Appreciation 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seersage
    I apologize if I seem combative Numsgil. I want you to know that I appreciate you being Devil's Advocate and helping me to explore this problem and consider it from every angle. I am in no way saying that I am smarter than the scientist who are working on it, If I am I would be smart enough to never admit it . I do think that my conclusion bears further investigation I do not and cannot operate under the assumption if they can't do noone can. I could compile more data on the matter myself but I am a little rusty on the scientific method .
    It's a fine hypothesis. You had a small set of data/observations, and constructed a hypothesis to explain it. The next step is to gather more data to directly test the hypothesis.

    There are significant flaws to your hypothesis, which is what I'm trying to point out. While it might jive with what you've seen, lots of other people have worked with bees. These people have jobs which depend on bees. The eat, drink, and sleep bees. And they haven't noticed a correlation between light pollution and colony collapse.

    Let me share a little anecdote. I had ants. At first it was just one or two. They found my honey stores and started to feed. So I squished em. Dozens probably. Cleaned up the honey, and went about my life. A few days later there were more ants and they'd found something else to eat. So I squished em and cleaned that up. This continued on for maybe 2 months. Each time there were more ants, and they found a new food source faster. And the area they searched spread from the kitchen to the whole apartment. I was squishing hundreds a day, to no effect.

    Then I bought some poison and within two days they were all dead. Haven't had ants since.

    Moral of the story is this: a colony organism can lose hundreds of workers and still thrive. Workers are cheap energy wise. Expendable. Killing a colony by killing the workers is extremely difficult to do mechanically (ie: by removing workers). It takes poison or a disease which can be spread to the entire colony, or physically traumatizing the nest.

    Think of it in reverse: removing a bee colony is expensive, especially since bee removers have to worry about Africanized bees now-a-days. If all it took to kill a colony was setting up a light bulb next to it, you'd think someone would have thought of that. It's cheaper and less ecologically harmful than the insecticides they have to use.
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  24. #23 Assumption 
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    Is it a huge assumption though? Wouldn't the data's significance at least in this matter be the overall average of the damage that is being done? Light pollution may then appear to be a more common denominator throughout all the geographical differences than I anticipated.
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    Think of it in reverse: removing a bee colony is expensive, especially since bee removers have to worry about Africanized bees now-a-days. If all it took to kill a colony was setting up a light bulb next to it, you'd think someone would have thought of that. It's cheaper and less ecologically harmful than the insecticides they have to use.
    Perhaps it is too obvious. :wink:
    I am not aware of the standard bee farm layout but I can safely assume that they are not lighted at night as to not disturb their cycle but I may have to ask a beekeeper to verify it. Or perhaps you could do it for me?
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seersage
    Think of it in reverse: removing a bee colony is expensive, especially since bee removers have to worry about Africanized bees now-a-days. If all it took to kill a colony was setting up a light bulb next to it, you'd think someone would have thought of that. It's cheaper and less ecologically harmful than the insecticides they have to use.
    Perhaps it is too obvious. :wink:
    I am not aware of the standard bee farm layout but I can safely assume that they are not lighted at night as to not disturb their cycle but I may have to ask a beekeeper to verify it. Or perhaps you could do it for me?
    Bees get... pissy at night. Beekeepers know not to mess with their bees at night mostly from a sense of self preservation. If they do have to mess with them they use red filters since apparently bees don't see red (go figure).

    There's a whole beekeeping forum if you're interested. Someone there will probably know what affect, if any, light pollution has on bees.
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  27. #26 Re: Einstein said only four years without the bees! 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seersage
    One of the greatest minds who ever lived, Albert Einstein once said that we would only survive four years without the bees.
    Clearly Einstein was an idiot.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  28. #27 Thanks 
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    Thank You Numsgil I will do that. Thank you for all your input on this discussion I really appreciate it.
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  29. #28  
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    I doubt that it is light pollution since most insects are adapted for dealing with a lot of light and changes/ fluctuations in the photo periods.
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  30. #29 Re: Einstein said only four years without the bees! 
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Seersage
    One of the greatest minds who ever lived, Albert Einstein once said that we would only survive four years without the bees.
    Clearly Einstein was an idiot.
    Ha, I saw in a documentary about CCD, this valley in China where all the pollinating insects had been killed by pollution, the farmers have to manually fertilize the peach trees. I can just imagine this having a huge economic burden of this on western agriculture, but I doubt it would cause human extinction.
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  31. #30  
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    Indeed, and many of the crops don't use insect driven pollination.

    Anyone with half a brain would start looking for alternatives to the current honey bee species in use.

    But is anyone doing that? Not that I know of.
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  32. #31  
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    It's because the obvious alternative is Africanized bees. They're practically identical to European honeybees, they produce more honey, their hives are harder to kill (hardier for travel), they don't suffer from CCD, and there's a large and growing feral population.

    But they have this nasty tendency to kill people, dogs, cats, and whomever else they decide to take offense against. And they don't do so well in colder areas.

    So beekeepers are understandably torn. But the pressures are mounting against European honeybees. Especially the economic ones. 50 years from now the majority of our honeybee needs might be filled by Africanized bees.
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  33. #32  
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    I actually would fund research into bumble bees. See how you can increase their natural nest sites and stimulate their populations. Maybe that means giving them more space, or using less pesticides.

    Who knows?

    Do this for several kinds of pollinators.

    Don't make the mistake of being dependent on a single cultivated species.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Don't make the mistake of being dependent on a single cultivated species.
    That's easier said then done. Especially with cereal crops, there's essentially only one or two genomes being used. That is, not only do we rely on just one species, but we tend to rely on clones of a single individual in that species.
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  35. #34  
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    cereal crops are probably not dependent on bees since they are grasses.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    cereal crops are probably not dependent on bees since they are grasses.
    Yes, they wind pollinate don't they? Not a planty person.
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  37. #36 New Industry 
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    My dad heard that certain companies are gearing up for a new pollination industry.
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  38. #37 New System 
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    What do you think about a new synergistic system where bee hives and greenhouses would be combined? I suspect bees would prefer to pollinate outdoors.
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  39. #38  
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    Don't bees "sleep" at night? How does light pollution influence them?

    If anyone lives in the UK you can watch a documentary called "Who killed the Honey Bee?" on the BBC iPlayer. I watched it on BBC4 last night.



    EDIT: link to the documentary: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...the_Honey_Bee/

    Midway through the programme they interview an urban bee keeper who keeps hives in several areas of London, such as Brixton. He's interviewed next to one collection of hives that is surrounded by buildings on one side and with an inner city railway line on the other. His bees are doing well and feed off a wide variety of plants from gardens and city parks (unlike those bees that are forced to collect nectar from monocultured environments). There's plenty of light pollution in a city like London and so I would have thought that light pollution would be something more likely to affect moths and other nighttime pollinators rather than bees.


    Again, from the documentary, we see that bees in Australia do not have the CCD problem - and are being imported into the US to pollinate crops. If lights were the problem, then what is special about Australia?
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  40. #39 Nocturnal activity 
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    Bees are supposed to sleep at night.

    My dad used to track bees by a technique called sunning in order to determine where wild hives were located so that he could dip into there honey production. His own research on the subject, and this was years ago, told him that bees never come out at night.

    It only seems to be bulbs that emit polarized radiation that draw them out, only a few at a time in the winter on mild winter nights, here in Texas. But in the warmer months much more activity and even the tendency to mini-swarm on particularly hot nights.So it could indeed be a combination of factors and not just light pollution as I had first suspected. The pathogens may cause the bees to sleep more lightly and thus be more susceptible to disturbance.

    I know I don't sleep very well when I'm feeling bad. So perhaps it is only the bees which have weakened immunities that are the most susceptible.

    I definitely need more data but unfortunately the homeowner is selling the rental home I am staying in and she will eradicate the hives.
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  41. #40 Bee Forum 
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    Contacted the webmaster at The BEE Forum. Hoping to hear back from them soon on the topic of light pollution.
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