Is Global Warming Fear Killing Wild Bees and Raising Sea Level?

Guest essay by Jim Steele

Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University

A recent Guardian article “Wild bees on the decline in key US agricultural ecosystems” adds further support to my analysis that debunked an earlier claim by Kerr 2015 that climate change had been killing wild bees. I had argued that an agricultural trend where increasing acreage of natural and agricultural habitats have been increasingly converted to corn for silage and biofuels in addition to the importation of exotic European diseases. Using corn for biofuel makes no sense in terms of CO2 reduction or energy efficiency, et due to global warming hysteria government agencies have subsidized the spread of corn fields. Corn is wind pollinated and provides no nectar resources for pollinators. Corn has been steadily replacing pollinator friendly wild plants and pollinator friendly agricultural plants like soybean.

Cornfields also require irrigation that has also increased the extraction of groundwater. Groundwater extraction has now been projected to raise sea level by 0.87 mm/year, accounting for 25% of the estimate current sea level rise.

According to the Guradian, “The study estimated that wild bee numbers diminished in 23% of the continental United States between 2008 and 2013 in a trend driven by conversion of their natural habitat into farmland including corn for biofuel production.” [Emphasis mine]

“The study followed a 2014 memorandum by Barack Obama creating a task force to study pollinator losses. The task force in May called for preserving wide swathes of pollinator habitats.”

Inappropriate biofuel subsidies are driven by CO2 alarmism. As I continue to warn, bad climate science will only lead to bad environmental stewardship!


Jim Steele is author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

135 thoughts on “Is Global Warming Fear Killing Wild Bees and Raising Sea Level?

    • This article refers to domesticated bees kept by bee keepers. It does not address the state of wild bees in Canada.

      • “Wild bees’ are poor pollinators in the first place. That is why honey bees were brought from Europe and turned loose. Do you think the article means that ‘wild’ honey bees from Europe are being wiped out by “global warming” or does it mean farmed European honey bees? And does it mean lousy pollinator bees from North America are being harmed by swathes of countryside being turned into corn fields?
        We need some basic answers before accepting any alarm at all. Are the wild bees in Canada also European imports that ran off the farm or real wild bees that aren’t doing much pollinating anyway? In the far north pollination is done by mosquitoes.

      • Crispin the best pollinators depends on the flower species. Furthermore honey bees are preferred because they are a better human managed species allowing a large hive to be easily moved around vs small “family” groups of wild bees. Also some legume species have “landing platforms” that trigger a release of the stamen and stigma that smacks the pollinator in the face. Honey bees avoid such species but not wild bumble bees.

  1. Bees are dying… it’s Gaucho®!
    No, it’s Régent TS®!
    No, it’s neonics!
    No, it’s glyphosate!
    No, it’s GMOs! (whatever that is)
    No, it’s globul warming!
    (actually it’s bee parasites and viruses carried by parasites)

  2. And still the wait goes on, to find an environmental policy introduced by the greens that has not had significant adverse effects that are worse than the problem they were trying to solve.

    • The Greens are true NIMBY’s who don’t care that corn based ethanol is a poor substitute to petrol. Nor do they understand that battery powered cars add significant and harmful pollution during manufacturing and recycling stages. They have but one song “la la la la”.

  3. “… et due to global warming hysteria…”
    Should be “…but due to global warming hysteria…”?

  4. When things are done for political reasons the Law of Unintended Consequences always comes into play. Politicians are generally stupid and either don’t heed sound advice or are advised by equally stupid people. I always recall Dr Richard North’s comment on how he used to revere those in authority until he came to know them, at which point he was amazed at how they could function with such a low level of knowledge and such stupidity.

    • What are the chances that this information will become general knowledge? Small. I fear. But those at the top should be made aware of their own shortcomings.
      Ian M

    • That is exactly how politicians (stupid people) appear smarter than they really are. Simply surround yourself with dolts and you become the smartest person in the room

  5. I doubt there is a significant single cause for colony collapse disorder; lost of habitat and food, parasites, infection, and insecticides especially neonicitiniods all play a role.

    • It is hive collapse. I had successful hives until my bees were hit by this disease (it is a disease) and I live where there is little pesticide use, out in the mountains of upstate NY. All my neighbors who also did bees had the same thing kill them all off, too.

      • emsnews on December 31, 2015 at 5:33 am
        – – – – – – –
        Growing up on a mom and pop dairy farm in the southern tier of the Adirondack Mountains in the 50’s and 60’s we had a dozen hives at most times. We would get hit by disease occasionally and would start again. We switched eventually to hardier breeds of bees, That reduced somewhat the hive deaths, but the hardier breeds had a significantly lower honey production.
        Personal – Hi, fellow upstate NYer!

    • As a Plant Pathologist, I have not seen proper evidence of Neonicotinoid damage/collapse effect. but, the EU Bureaucrats did decide it was harmful though they had no evidence either. Pure Greenwash. Various parasites, quite normal in Nature, continue to be a challenge, as they always will. The return of harsh winters is an expected causative, but will hardly be admitted by the green shysters, will it. Honey bees will adapt.

  6. I’m not so sure that agricultural practices, crops and insecticides, are the only villain. Some of the blame may belong in suburbia. Overcome by remorse for my raggedy-assed lawn, the shame of the neighborhood, I started to buy a brand name fertilizer. The label promised it would kill clover and woodland violets in addition to giving me a putting green quality turf. Whoa up there! I like my little violets and my clover; so do the bees and the odd bunny. Then there all the add for lawn insecticides so your children can gambol freely on your pristine lawn. So I’m still raggedy-ass and turf challenged. Kinda wish other folks would join me.

  7. The study estimated that wild bee numbers diminished in 23% of the continental United States between 2008 and 2013 in a trend driven by …

    Are they talking about all the different species of bees that are residents of the per se “wild” areas of the US ……. or just the European Honey Bees colonies that have constructed their hives in the per se “wild” areas of the US?
    Anyway, given the major decline in the number of “family farms and gardens”, the major increase in the size of towns, cities, suburban developments, highways and byways ….. there has been an exponential decrease in the numbers of pollen/nectar producing plants and trees that are/were the primary food source of the “wild” colonies of European Honey Bees.
    Now I am old enough to have seen a few “Bee Trees” …… but they are far and few between now days and one would have to be extremely lucky to find one.

  8. The declining numbers of Bees is strictly hype and is not actually occurring.
    It is an Urban Myth that climate change and environmentalist are happy to exploit to the maximum extent possible. No different than anything else it seems.

    • As a former bee keeper, this is not bunk at all. There is this thing called ‘hive collapse’ which has ravaged the Northeast bee keepers.

    • It is NOT “hype”!! I’ve lived in the same town for 35 years abundant with rhododendron and hydrangea. That long ago when they bloomed you could easily hear the mass of bumblebees in them – easily hundreds of them per bush all day long. The decline over the last ~10 years has been dramatic! Last spring there were some days at peak bloom with ZERO bees in the flowers. Something is seriously wrong.

      • Right you are, The Original Mike M, …… It is NOT “hype”!! …… Bill Illis is simply miseducated in/on this subject matter.
        The “beekeepers” of the European Honeybee have been suffering the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder for the past decade or so and they don’t have a clue as to what is causing it. And the Honeybee “experts” are not smart enough to figure out ….. “why the Honeybees leave home and never return”, …… thus the affliction name of “colony collapse”.
        IMHO, me thinks the Honeybee’s biological “GPS” mechanism is receiving bad “info” and thus when it starts its “beeline” back to its hive the “calculated” direction is wrong and the Honeybee just keeps flying n’ flying until it dies of exhaustion. A 1 or 2 degree angle “error” will send them off into the “wild blue yonder”. Iffen CCD was a human or parasite caused problem then there would surely be plenty of dead Honeybees in or around the bee hives. None are found.
        And the Bumblebees (both large and small one), Wasps, Mudmason or Mason Bees and Carpenter “boring” Bees have also dramatically declined in the past 15+ years in the locale where I live …… which is central WV, USA.

      • This ignores the escalating rate of new hive creation by bee keepers to keep up with hive collapse.
        Raw beecounts or hive counts are not evidence for “no problem”. More hives is a symptom as beekeepers start more to avoid losing all.

  9. I have spares in my shed, just developing. About 150 female leaf cutters. No corn is grown near me, just loads of fruit, veg and good indigenous flowers. Looking forward to plenty of holes in leaves and the neighbours will still wonder about that?

  10. High frequency EMF pollution could be screwing up their brain’s internal “clock” impairing their ability to compensate their “map” to the movement of the sun. When the sun is visible, it is their primary navigation beacon. If they cannot compensate for the movement of the sun they cannot find their way home. On cloudy days they use subordinate means of navigation.
    It is imperative that we dramatically increase the sensitivity of all of our wireless receivers to thereby be able to reduce the power level of all the transmitters. First came cell phones, then wireless computer networking and now comes an explosion of “drone” toys and wireless home device controls.

    • Wouldn’t this have been more of an issue 100 years ago where we pumped out RF at the top of our lungs? Sure, things like “Drones” are increasing, as are cell phones, but the actual transmissions are orders of magnitude smaller than they were when we started all of this. Was there a dramatic die out of bees in the first half of the 20th century that would correlate and lend credence to this argument?

      • 100 years ago radio transmitters numbered in the hundreds, now they number in the hundreds of millions. Also back then RF was in KHz, now it’s GHz, (wavelength may be the key factor). One more thing is that power drops to the square of the distance so which has more affect? … an 100KW station ten miles away or several ~2 watt stations in your house?

      • Actually, the 2 watt transmitters would be just as ineffectual as the large towers. Inverse square law.
        Additionally, after reading through that document you linked to, he is talking about signals of 0.1 to 10 Mhz in birds. and never stops with “may” “might” “maybe” “could” and other fudge words based on the concept that this effect may extend to bees . Do you have any research work showing bees unable to function normally in controlled conditions? Or is the author’s “bees might be affected by this, too!” sufficient evidence for you?
        And the RF in the GHz range is far outside of the EM signalling mentioned in this paper of a few MHz. In fact, considering the range specified, birds should have been dropping out of the sky and completely unable to function in the old broadcast days.

      • Birds can see magnetic fields and bees can see UV light. I don’t think we have a good handle on how EMF would affect them at all. With terrestrial TV broadcasts in the MW power range and cell phones at 1 W the issues is not going to be 2-5 GHZ signals. That just doesn’t make sense. How many resonance 1/128ths of a wavelength are people claiming to have some effect on their navigation systems? Nonsense. At 19 GHZ a bees body length is one wavelength. To pick up much it should be an odd multiple of 1/4 of a wavelength. The electrical signals produced to flap wings would drown out the pico-volts a 12mm bee might pick up from a 19 GHZ (non-existent) 1 Watt cell phone.
        The Sun is a massive radiator in all these frequency bands – turn up the receiver and hear the hiss. Do all the bees get lost and die each time there is a CME? Of course not. The world’s top artificial inseminator of queen bees told me that the American colony collapse crisis was greatly aggravated by the large scale transport of Eastern bees to the West on contract pollinating trips involving transport trucks full of infected hives. The collapse was natural in origin but enhanced by emerging contract pollination services causing it to spread far and fast. We are kinda to blame, but RF pollution? No evidence and the science is not very supportive.

    • The number of radio transmitters globally is increasing, in lock step with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Clearly it is increased RF radiation that is causing both climate change and increased CO2.
      Unless governments act to limit the number of cell-phones worldwide we are doomed. Bees are simply the canary in the coal mine. They pick up the RF radiation from cell phone towers on their antenna, which drives them off course on their return trip to the hive. The result is hive collapse, as more and more bees cannot find their way home.
      Ever diligent, President Obama has found a solution — to keep everyone too poor to own cell phones. As he remarked in his tour to Africa:
      “Ultimately, if you think about all the youth that everybody has mentioned here in Africa, if everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over.”

      • Perhaps it could be as simple as a “sour note” kind of thing that can be cured by banning the range of carrier wave lengths that adversely affect the cryptochromes?
        “Goldsworthy has written to the UK communications regulator OFCOM suggesting a change of phone frequencies would stop the bees being confused.”
        I’ll bet those who scoff at the idea that microwaves can affect organisms at the cellular level would nonetheless prefer to keep their microwave oven doors closed when in operation …

      • Which, according to the Goldworthy link should have been the frequencies that really mess with the birds, of 0.1 to 10 Mhz.
        Do you have additional research available on this phenomenon? Because this seems to be an opinion based on work with birds that bees *might* react in the same way with no research provided to back the opinion. On top of that, we know that even close animals don’t always react the same to the same stimuli, including drugs as well as reactions to environmental stressers, so this seems like a bad leap to make.
        There is a lot of research since “Colony Collapse Disorder” became a thing a few years ago discussing the relative impacts of agricultural changes, parasitical infestations, and insecticide uses and their potential effects. I haven’t read any research or experimentation with RF interference. Until I can find some well done research with bees on this, I’m skeptical because honey bees aren’t kept near large or small transmitters in any significant number. Most of the honey bees are kept near crop lands and other rural environments where people don’t generally have a cell phone for each appendage.

    • A colleague of mine discovered that a parasitic fly invades honeybee brains and makes them leave the hive at night and fly to streetlights. The bees die and the parasite emerges. He just happened to put the dead bee in a vial and capture the parasite no had noticed before. Dubbed “Zombie Bees” his work is viewed here. None the less bee keepers fear mites more than this fly parasite. Introduced honey bees that are shipped around the country to enhance pollinated crops are guaranteed to pick up various parasites and disease. Colony collapse is caused for many varied reasons. Claims that global warming and cell phones are the problem are not supported by any evidence.

    • One way of destroying a European bee hive is to put a mirror in the sun near the entrance.
      As the bees leave they shoot the sun in the reflection in the mirror and on return become the ‘lost patrol’ to die of cold and dehydration.
      They forage in daylight and rarely go out in heavy overcast.They never forage at night meaning they do not have a back up GPS.
      I have not read of anything pointing to em in navigation or sensitivity in European bees.
      Perhaps there is some pheromone link.

    • @ The Original Mike M – December 31, 2015 at 5:14 am
      Mike M,
      I posted a response to your “up above” post (December 31, 2015 at 5:30 am) before reading your “above” post.
      And the contents of your “above” post simply proves ……. “great minds think alike”.

    • Marcus, My front deck 63 inch mower can mow at 12 MPH with ease in tall clover. I have to keep the speed down during the flowering season to keep from knocking down my neighbor’s hive populations while mowing. urban bees have the extra hazard of fast moving mowers where they depend on white clover to grow.

      • You’ve touched on another factor – widespread use of lawn care herbicides. I only go after crabgrass myself but virtually all of my neighbors have lawn services so they have zero clover or other flowering plants. Most of what is around me is either asphalt, mulch, woods or manicured lawn grass.

  11. Just the opposite — seems like the last 2 cold winters here have done a number on, not just honeybees, but bees and insects in general.

    • Thankyou Beng. These things are known to “non-armchair -experts”, but not to Climatologists, it would seem.

  12. Groundwater extraction has now been projected to raise sea level by 0.87 mm/year, accounting for 25% of the estimate current sea level rise.

    The paper referred kind of says

    We estimate the net contribution of terrestrial sources to be negative of order −0.15 (±0.09) mm yr−1 over 1970–1990 as a result of dam impoundment. However, we estimate this to become positive of order +0.25 (±0.09) mm yr−1 over 1990–2000 due to increased groundwater depletion and decreased dam building.

    So, 0.16-0.34mm of sea level rise came from terrestial sources, making something like 10% of the sea level rise then. It is projected to grow to 0.87mm/a by 2050, in addition to any other positive and negative factors, so comparing that to the current sea level rise is not fair.
    That said, sea level rise is one of the complex issues related to global warming, with uncertainties coming from sparse historical measurements, calibration problems, and general drowning atolls alarmism. It seems to me, that sea levels are rising considerable, will be rising and some of the inhabited lowlands will be lost during the next century. However, I feel stopping the sea level rise is much much more infeasible than just coping with the consequences. Moving a person or building a house is cheaper than making the Earth cooler.

  13. Kiwifruit harvest likely to be bumper crop – Radio New Zealand- pollinated by Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees
    Kenya expects bumper crop of cashew nuts
    Cashew Sector Poised for Bumper Crop – The Cambodia Daily- pollinated by Honey bees, Stingless bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees (Centris tarsata), Butterflies, Flies, hummingbirds
    India: Watermelon bumper crop causing low prices- pollinated by Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees…….
    cant be bothered to go through the whole list

  14. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is something that has happened periodically, as it did in 2006. A lot of the fear about a beepocalypse appears to be based on hype and alarmism, pushed by rabid environmentalism.
    Having said that, there may be something to the idea that certain practices of man’s aren’t good for bees, such as removing bee-friendly habitat for biofoolishness.

    • Jim Steele – Cornfields also require irrigation that has also increased the extraction of groundwater.
      Please get out more, because the ‘require irrigation’ is not everywhere.
      Corn Area Planted for All Purposes and Harvested for Grain, Yield, and Production – States and United States: 2012-2014
      Iowa …………………………13,700…..13,050……13,300 (1,000 acres)
      Minnesota …………………….8,330…….8,140……7,550
      North Dakota ………………….3,460…….3,600……2,530
      South Dakota ………………….5,600…….5,860……5,320
      and except for a very few counties none have over 10 perent irrigation.

      • DD, I never claimed all cornfields require irrigation, and I apologize for not being absolutely clear. However many of new fields are subsidized because they require irrigation.

      • DD, also understand that some of the world’s greatest ground water extraction is depleting the Ogallala Aquifer which underlies the region where irrigated cornfields reach the greatest percentage- in Nebraska
        As Sophocleous 2012 wrote, “This aquifer has made the ‘‘Great American Desert’’ one of the best farming areas in the world as Ogallala-tapped irrigation converted that ‘‘desert’’ into fields of wheat, corn, and other crops but at a cost of putting the future of that valuable water resource into jeopardy.”

    • Only irrigated corn acreage in Wisconsin is in the lower river valley west of Madison. What is irrigated is hybrid seed corn grown on very sandy soil, to insure an ideal annual crop. Not ordinary field corn.

    • DD, just to make sure you “get out more” and to illustrate how gross generalization obscure critical trends, Carl provided a link to the most recent surveys reporting,
      “The latest survey, released in November, shows an overall positive trend of irrigation water use declining, even as water use for certain crops, like corn, continues to soar.
      Corn used 14 percent more irrigation water in 2013 than in 2008, according to survey results, while water use for all crops combined declined 3.7 percent (and 9 percent since 1998, the highest year on record)”

      • Additionally DD, the latest report says “corn guzzles more irrigation water than any other crop—an extraordinary fact considering the vast majority of U.S. corn (79 percent) is rain fed and does not rely on irrigation. Irrigation water applied to corn acres rose from 15.4 million acre-feet in 2008 to 17.9 million acre-feet in 2013, paralleling the dramatic increase in corn production during that same period – from 84.5 million to 93.7 million acres.
        A key driver in corn’s growing demand for irrigation water is that the crop is increasingly farmed in arid regions such as Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and California. Corn production has been expanding into regions with high water stress and groundwater depletion, in part because of the ethanol mandate for gasoline (in 2013, 35 percent of U.S. corn production was used by the ethanol industry). In fact, 87 percent of irrigated corn is now grown in regions with high or extremely high water stress.”

  15. The fallacy of correlation implying causation. 1. The invasive varroa mite was first detected in the US in 1979, about the time corn ethanol started ramping as (initially) a more environmentally friendly substitute for MBTE, itself a substitute for tetraethyl lead (for octane enhancement). Varroa ‘disease’ infestation is a major cause of colony loss. Ttransmitted by drones, and sometimes by wandering worker bees. Killed at least one wild bee colony on my Wisconsin dairy farm, which is otherwise ideal wild bee habitat. 2. The crop lands most intensively farmed for corn are very poor bee habitat. Monoculture with individual fields covering hundreds of acres, few to no trees, no field breaks, alternative rotation crop almost exclusively soybeans, another self pollinator. The decline in bees is varroa mite infestation. The relative bee paucity where biofuel crops are more intensively grown is poor habitat.
    And, it is mostly an urban myth that corn ethanol causes third world starvation. True, about 42% of the US corn crop is diverted to ethanol. But this ignores that 27% is gotten back as distillers grain, a protein enhanced (yeast) fiber rich near ideal feed supplement for ruminents. We used to supplemental feed crushed corn to my dairy herd. Now it is exclusively distillers grain, which lets us cut down on alfalfa, freeing some rotation contours for more corn. And, virtually all the corn the US exports is destined for animal feed, not human consumption. The third world poor do not eat those animals, they cannot afford them.
    That said, going beyond the E10 blendwall is political nonsense, as E10 is the max volume percent needed for octane boost and oxygenate enhancement (reducing smog in places like LA in summer). It reduces MPG about 3%, as ethanol has only 1/3 the energy per gallon of standard gasoline. Silly E85 reduces MPG by over 60%, a bad idea.

    • Where did the mite come from ?
      Are there any examples of isolated colonies of bees that have adopted to the mite and resurrected their populations ?

      • Is a natural pest of the Asian honey bee Apis cerana. Is thought to have probably first jumped species in the Phillipines in the 1960’s where imported European honey bees Apis melliflora coexisted with A. cerano. Is now unfortunately global in A. Melliflore except (maybe) Australia. In addition to weakening A. Melliflora directly (sucking hemolymph), the mites transmit deadly varroosis, a suite of viral diseases to which A. Melliflora had no natural resistance.
        No different in principle than potato beetles, Chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, and now emerald ash borer. Anthropogenic, yes. AGW, no. A longer general discussion of how AGW is incorrectly (knowing misinformation, IMO) claimed to cause growing pest problems is in essay Greenhouse Effects in my ebook Blowing Smoke.

      • There are some scattered reports of ‘immunity’ but none credible (yet) IMO. You can read all about the problem and various commercial hive control measures at several state agricultural websites. Colony collapse disorder is now as big a deal as varroa in commercial hives, because the cause(s) are not yet understood. The neonicotide pesticide theory is not strongly supported by evidence.

    • The mites & viruses can be spread when the ‘hives for hire’ are moved around the US to serve large farms.

  16. There was also a German reseacher who found stressing hives let the mites and viruses go from managed to collapse in a quick step. GMO corn pollen did it IIRC, and / or Nicotinamide systemic pesticides. None alone was enough, it took both a weakening insult and the mites / diseases to swamp them.

    • GMO corn pollen can not be a factor in colony collapse disorder. Corn plants do not rely on insect pollination, they self pollinate. And Bt only disrupts the gut of larvae, not adult insects. For example, corn rootworm. The adult rootworm beetle is unaffected even though grubs feeding in the corn roots are. Honeybees are adult insects. Their larvae are fed honey, which honeybees make from digested pollen. But not corn pollen. On my farm, it is mostly pasture clover and alfalfa flowers. We cut alfalfa just after flowering, three cuts/year. We use only GMO corn, and the wild bees are unaffected except by varroa. My woodlots have several ‘bee trees’ (hollow with the hive inside). They are easy to spot if you know how to look, because all spring the bees are as busy as, well, bees.

    • Doesn’t matter. H2O is the new evil GHG that is the greatest threat mankind faces (reminds me of the Groundhog Day movie). Irrigation is raising sea levels and aerial irrigation is polluting the atmosphere with a poisonous greenhouse gas (water vapor). The Royals in Washington DC have to act immediately by outlawing water sports, water toys, and AK-47 assault rifles. Aquifer replenishment will require restoring aquifers to pre-industrial levels. It’s a start.

    • Carl, Thanks for posting this . I was about to post the same link, but you seem to bias the facts differently. You failed to report facts in your linked report that support my argument that subsidized corn is increasing groundwater extraction because of the need to irrigate. Did you read the whole report? It stated,
      “The latest survey, released in November, shows an overall positive trend of irrigation water use declining, even as water use for certain crops, like corn, continues to soar.
      Corn used 14 percent more irrigation water in 2013 than in 2008, according to survey results, while water use for all crops combined declined 3.7 percent (and 9 percent since 1998, the highest year on record)”

    • In case you missed it Carl, I am reposting another excerpt from your link.
      “corn guzzles more irrigation water than any other crop—an extraordinary fact considering the vast majority of U.S. corn (79 percent) is rain fed and does not rely on irrigation. Irrigation water applied to corn acres rose from 15.4 million acre-feet in 2008 to 17.9 million acre-feet in 2013, paralleling the dramatic increase in corn production during that same period – from 84.5 million to 93.7 million acres.
      A key driver in corn’s growing demand for irrigation water is that the crop is increasingly farmed in arid regions such as Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and California. Corn production has been expanding into regions with high water stress and groundwater depletion, in part because of the ethanol mandate for gasoline (in 2013, 35 percent of U.S. corn production was used by the ethanol industry). In fact, 87 percent of irrigated corn is now grown in regions with high or extremely high water stress.”
      After “asking any farmer”, why did you not report this side of the story?

  17. He see predatory evidence against the wild bees here in our timber. The numbers of skunks and raccoons is high right now, but the wolves have been sighted again so they will thin them out- until some hillbilly shoots the wolves.

    • The folks around me in “green acres -USA” who are beekeepers are not as much honey producers as bee preservers, in their own self-perception. There’s a certain machismo to handling bees when you are an environmentalist. It’s one step beyond the master gardener’s certification for the naturalist landowner on an acre or two.

      • Unless they’re keeping Africanized bees there’s not a lot of Super Hunky creds in being a bee keeper. No creds at all of they’re preserving Eurobees. But money bees are where the gene pool is at great risk for disease and parasites.

      • Don’t discount survival of the fittest Eurobees and interbreeding with the african bee descendants to produce what might be the indigenous bee of the future. Nature allows the fit individuals to proliferate.

        • Yup, I have more confidence in nature adapting than us coming up with a save the bee solution. Nevertheless, it seems helpful to give them habitat to do their thing (within reason).
          Hopefully some smart cookie is looking for that adaptive bee colony that whoops the mite.

  18. I’ll stick to Varroa and winter kill from cyclic global cooling as the main problems, not neonicitinoids or similar. Based on evidence and experience.

  19. It is not just the honey bees. We have found large nos. of Bumble bees of many varieties with mites, in our garden in the NW of England over the last few years. Not, though, in the last year as we’ve seen very few bees at all. Very disappointing as we run the garden for birds and insects, as well as us.

  20. Kerr 2015: They got to blame it on Co2 global warming or not get funded. No funds, no food on the table.

  21. Let’s also not forget it was the environmentalists and climate change scientists who sold everyone on the “ethanol is good for the environment” line.
    Now they all think it is actually bad for the environment. The real problem is that they never do good science – just narrative-supporting science/made up storylines.

    • exactly Bill Illis. All the running around to convert to a green plan has not been very good for the environment or the economy. In the Pacific Northwest the urge to “hug trees” resulted in poor forest management and, in the end, sick forests that burn down led by a complete myth as to what was shrinking spotted owl habitat.

  22. I recently received the January Bee Culture magazine in the mail. As backyard bee keepers my wife and I enjoy the magazine as a way to keep up to date on the current information and products. Imagine our surprise when the current magazine had the following article.
    The simplistic comments that lead up to “It appears that we must transition to renewable energy sources (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass) and stop burning fossil fuels as soon as possible.”
    I much prefer to read about beekeeping and beekeeping products but not subscribe to a magazine for climate hysteria.

    • Wow … what a guilt trip with a heavy dose of spin.
      I’m actually in Vermont visiting as part of my holiday rounds. My general impression is that folks are a hearty bunch, well meaning but generally goofy and self righteous thinking concerning the environment. I have to say I haven’t met many original Vermonters so take my observations with a grain of salt.
      Happy New Year

    • Martin –
      Why not cancel your subscription to avoid getting Part 2 in the mailbox?
      I was a magazine junky, but cancelled five of them (Sci. Amer. was the first – at least 10 years ago). They (SA) didn’t care. I told all five I was not asking for a refund – I just did not WANT their magazine in my mailbox anymore, and why. Four were more small-scale, esoteric publications who had very little advertising, so subscriber fees were significant. One of them sent a pro-rated refund anyway. Later they published letters (I read on newsstand) to the editor and they remarked that they had had cancellations.
      The problem was the demonstrably “low-information” nature of the CAGW articles. Junior High? I guess if you publish an “off topic” item you risk insulting the intelligence (especially when the authors are totally wrong) of a few readers who happen to know the topic fairly well.

  23. “Inappropriate biofuel subsidies are driven by CO2 alarmism. As I continue to warn, bad climate science will only lead to bad environmental stewardship!”
    Sounds like, yet again, the truth was hiding in plain sight. Biofuels also impoverish peasants, raise prices and do not improve the weather.

    • Like most personal options concerning energy, much can be accomplished on a local or personal level. I am an opportunistic bodiesel scavenger. Works for me and a few buddies but doubt it can suffice on a large scale.
      The masses need fossils till nuke becomes the thing.
      Happy New Year

  24. This just one of thousands of native bees:
    Sorry for the wiki.stupid link, easy find of a native bee picture.
    Native bees are abundant, prolific and efficient.
    Ever get bit by a sweat bee? Yup, it is a working bee. No honey stores though. It is easy to build your local population up, just plant flowers they like and put up a nest box or two. Native bees are not terribly territorial and nest next to each other.
    Now Jim Steele:
    I realize that you are only repeating claims, but exactly which rivers are running bank full with all of that irrigated water?
    Sea level rise attributed to irrigation is some desk jockey adding up irrigation estimates and then assuming that all of their imaginary irrigation water is flowing to the sea.
    Flying across the Western states and one can easily see the irrigated fields below; hint, they’re the green ones in a sea of brown.
    Are underwater sources over utilized/drained? Yes!
    Is the irrigation absolutely necessary? Probably.
    Is the irrigated water used correctly? No!
    Too many times I’ve passed irrigation sprayers, spraying during mid-day and later.

    • A TheoK, Indeed I am repeating the projections from Wada 2012. Granted my bias gives extra credence to the Dutch who have bee studying these issues more intensely than most, but the methods they employed in this study seem robust. I do no defend their estimates as infallible. But I do advocate that more research money must be invested in critically understanding groundwater extraction and its contribution to sea level rise versus of CO2 warming. I suspect you did not read the link to Wada 2012, and I am curious about your evaluation of their methods once you have read it.
      I also suggest that your eyeball method that asks “which rivers are running bank full with all of that irrigated water?” will lead you astray. From my experience in observing hydrologically disrupted watersheds, it is the dry steams that are likely indicators of depleted groundwater. When the water table drops perennial streams become intermittent streams. The trickle in a stream during a summer drought might reflect groundwater extraction in an otherwise dry stream bed that has already lost its natural subsurface flow.

      • Jim:
        You are correct. I am using the eyeball method.
        Dry streams indicate one of many things; the first is natural variance. Even in the abundant water soaked regions, one can find dry stream beds waiting for that extra wet period that leaves enough water to fill their beds, temporarily.
        Another is lower water tables. But only in areas where the water table is a direct supplier of water to their flow.
        Water tables, or aquifers, are not just found at the surface. Aquifers are found wherever the ground strata capture water that permeated through.
        Some wells are 20-30 feet deep; that is a surface water table.
        Other wells source their water from far below.
        Surface water tables are more likely from recent rain sources; when they are depleted, e.g. golf courses, other wells dry up, certain kinds of ponds and marshes also dry up and moving water loses quantity.
        Deep aquifers have much less effect on surface water tables. Many of the large deep aquifers were filled at the end of the last ice age. Draining them usually requires lengthy refill time, worse if there is not substantial water sources.
        A large irrigation plot requires a substantial water supply. In the more arid areas, the shallow water tables can not supply enough water, or the rancher will have trouble with their own drinking sources for humans and wildlife.
        I use a shallow well exclusively for my water. Washing the car, seriously depletes my supply of water. It takes hours to get a decent flow again, and a day or so before I can consider washing the other car. Washing the car during a rainstorm is actually fun.
        The other part of the equation is that I’ve visited and fished a number of rivers even in the Western USA. Enough freshwater from irrigation to raise sea levels should be filling rivers and streams bank full.
        Instead, spend some time looking at the Colorado river and consider that we keep promising Mexico that we’ll let some water through, maybe.
        California, recognizing the shortage of water in the West sought and purchased water rights to water sources up and down the coast and well into Nevada. If California got access to a water flow, they’ve pretty well drained the water dry.
        Ranches near the Northwest rivers source most of their irrigation water from the rivers. Which is why there have been so many legal battles of sufficient water being left in the river for fish. First the Indians had to get court orders to maintain their fishing rights and then again for enough water to support the fish. Sportspeople, Natives and environmentalists have supported these ongoing legal wrangles.
        I lived in New Orleans for five years. They track the river extensively there and would surely notice significant increases in normal water flow.
        Which brings us back to the question; where is the water? Irrigation water is not filling the rivers. That fact can be attested to by many officials watching and tracking river flows; indeed many of them are concerned about lower flows.
        And no, I did not follow the link back to WADA 2012. As a finance and Budget manager for years, I long ago lost any belief in ‘estimates’ as having anything more than brief validity.
        The only reasons I ever used estimates for farther away than next week is when management insists. Even the best estimate is an unverified guess.
        Once, at the national level, I was thrown into a disastrous project to find out what was wrong with a portion specifically written for a business customer; with orders to fix the issue and make the customer happy.
        To identify the problem took only minutes when the program manager ranted at me about ‘better’ numbers than they ever had. Identifying the specific failure and whether it could be easily fixed took a few more hours as I talked to programmers on both sides.
        The problem, explicitly, was that the new program was cutting off using actual work hours after 6PM Friday and estimating differences to 12AM. Yes, the formula was elegant and got estimates to within a half hour or so at the total; but generically so. Great if people at field levels only tracked work hours generically as a total.
        At the HQ level, it was hard to get across, that field managers look at far more than just totals. Many of them look at totals only to see if they are within budget, after that they look to ensure that pay hours are captured correctly. Four hours here, three hours there, two hours OT to ‘x’ are related directly back to who was working when. Errors in hourly totals meant people are paid incorrectly; people who have budgets for every penny they earn. Incorrect pay means very unhappy workers.
        After my report, the VPs decided to accept my solution for correction which was to continue running the old program until the new allegedly more accurate program matched it’s accuracy. No more estimating work hours. The business customer thought I walked on air and could fly, because he fought with the program manager for months about the need for actual hours. The customer knew what was wrong, but couldn’t identify why.
        And that was using a darn accurate estimate!? Made by people who verified their mathematical formulas. Without on the ground constant verification, estimates like irrigated water causing sea level rise are worse than useless; they’re used for the wrong purposes.

  25. Thanks, Dr. Steele. Always good to learn from you.
    It seems easier and more rewarding to learn about the complexities of sea level assessment than about the fear of sea level rise.
    Happy New Year!

  26. The forest I live, in the coastal mountains of central California, has a very healthy wild bee population and has had for the 35 years I’ve lived there. The area has sparse agriculture, almost exclusively wine grapes with a few truck gardens here and there, and I don’t know of any bee keepers. I hear horror stories in the news but they seem exclusive to large ag regions (CA Central Valley for example) and I’ve always suspected disease transmitted by professional keepers moving hives all over the country. It seems the most likely explanation considering it’s not really a “natural” thing for bees to do.
    It never ceases to amaze me that the tree hugger’s knee jerk response to just about anything they don’t understand is either pesticides, herbicides or cAGW (Computer Aided Global Warming). No proof, no time for epidemiology, just start shouting doom from the rooftops. And it seems you can’t ever reason with them; if it’s not one of their pet boogermen, they won’t listen. Don’t even bother with evidence.
    It was pleasant (tough unexpected in this forum) to read so many intelligent discussions of the real cause, especially ristvan’s well educated and articulate discussion. I hadn’t heard at all about the Varroa infestation, which I’d expect to be common knowledge by now given the media attention paid to the subject. I guess it’s another example of no one wanting to discuss the real problem if if doesn’t support the party line; particularly tragic given the solution, which would seem to be prohibiting moving infected colonies? We have many agricultural restrictions on importing pests, this would seem to be an important one to add, but I’ve seen nothing on the subject and California is particularly sensitive to those sorts of things normally.

  27. The Paris Climate Agreement abolishes all forms of climate change, extreme weather events, and rising sea levels for now and for all time. It is a done deal and we here in the USA do not have to pay anything for it because we are a poor nation with a large national debt, trade deficit, and unfunded liabilities. Climate change no longer exists so it should be of no concern to us any more. Because climate change and global warming have been abolished for now and for all time, they cannot possible be the cause of anything.

  28. I guess I’m as big a bee lover as anyone (as long as they keep their distance ), but where is the decline in the fruits of their missing labor showing up ??
    Are harvests down ??

  29. I would ask all owners of a garden to ask themselves if they want to keep up with the competitive cosmetic trends. It shows that you care about fashion and that you have the money to keep up in the competitive games of my ‘lawn is greener than yours’, and ‘my lawn has not a single grasshopper’ and I’m proud that the soil around the lawn is bare between shrubs. Everything tidy (in the northern district where I live the word tidy does not just mean orderly but also means good or better than the norm or average. We have a wildlife crisis – not just few bees. and by the way, I have lots of wild bees and several of their nests and they have never stung me. Fashion-centred gardens lack anything for a hedgehog to eat or make a nest in. A fashion garden will have a seed feeder for the birds, so you can enjoy seeing them and feel good about looking after them, but host no caterpillars or other protein for them to raise young. And as for turning the verges of the highway outside your gate into lawns – what right do you have to kill all those insects and wild plants?

  30. I live in N Charleston, SC, and have since 1966, mostly. It’s not just honey bees, here, it’s most flying night bugs. When I moved here in the late 60s, every Summer, any unguarded light outside, every night there wasn’t a gale warning or massive tstorms, had its own massive cloud of flying insects thick enough to reduce its light output quite noticibly. This storm of flying bugs supported an amazing array of predators, such as green tree frogs. These frogs would pack themselves up behind and inside any light fixture to sleep the day away, protected by their own avian predators until the sun set each night. Then, they would emerge renewed for a night of gorging themselves, disgustingly, on a wide variety of moths, flies, and other strange UFOs buzzing maddenly around the light in a breeding frenzy that kept the whole swarm of bugs and predators fed and bred.
    Today, that is almost completely extinct. People stopped buying “bug lights”, those yellow lights the bugs were supposed to not see, decades ago. Even in the intensely bright lights under a gas station roof, today, there is rarely a single buzzing insect to be found! Something has killed 99.9% of this porch light ecosystem. I live right on the Ashley River across from beautiful Magnolia Gardens Plantation and Tourist Trap (, where millions of flowering plants coexist with a massive SC swamp and former rice plantation on the tidal river. The only bugs we must contend with now are huge “Palmetto Bugs”, the giant cockroaches of the South, small german cockroaches, both of which are very successful in this environment and, of course, mosquitoes, all of whom are totally immune to any insecticide that won’t kill the humans, too. Ground insects, especially fire ants and boring ants are also doing great. Fire ant mounds will kill any pet that steps on them.
    Something horrible happened across SC that has caused a mass extinction of flying insects……

Comments are closed.