For bee alarmists, Groundhog Day comes in June

Will activists finally admit their sins and break out of their pesticide-blaming time loop?

Paul Driessen

Did you think Goundhog Day only comes in February?

For anti-insecticide zealots and others in the environmentalist movement who’ve been preoccupied for years with bees and “colony collapse disorder,” it actually comes every June. That’s when the Bee Informed Partnership – a University of Maryland-based project supported by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) – releases the results of its annual survey of honeybee colony losses and health.

In Bill Murray’s 1993 “Groundhog Day” movie, cynical TV weatherman Phil Connors is condemned to relive the same day over and over in a little Pennsylvania town until he learns the right “life lessons.” Each June, eco-campaigners work themselves into a carefully orchestrated lather over bee losses, getting caught in a time loop of endlessly repeating the same false and misguided claims about the BIP report.

Last week’s BIP report predictably garnered the usual hyperventilating headlines, sounding almost as alarming as in recent years. The 38% 2018-19 over-winter colony loss rate was the highest in the 13 years the survey has been taken. Combined with in-season (summer) honeybee colony losses of 20.5% this yielded an overall annual loss rate of 40.7% (computed using a special BIP methodology).

That’s slightly higher than 2017-18’s reported 40.1% overall loss rate and 2.9% higher than the average annual loss rate calculated since 2010. Hit the panic button.

Environmental worrywarts moved seamlessly into their annual spasm of anxiety and dire prognostication. “Honey bees are no longer disappearing suddenly and mysteriously. They’re dying persistently, and in plain sight,” the Washington Post lamented.

Will there be enough honeybee colonies left to pollinate California’s lucrative almond crop next winter? an environmental “investigative news organization” agonized. (Ironically, but predictably, this story was posted four weeks after the USDA predicted another record almond harvest in the state.)

Is the BIP report further evidence that the hyperventilating media and eco-campaigners were correct about the “bee-pocalypse” they’ve been “documenting” for the last half-dozen years? Hardly!

First, the alarmists who routinely over-react to the annual BIP survey forget (or ignore) its limitations. As the report makes clear, the survey is entirely voluntary, returned by beekeepers who take time to fill it out. It consequently does not even purport to be a scientific sampling of American beekeepers. It is a compilation and analysis of responses from those who voluntarily self-report. The results show this.

The roughly 4,700 beekeepers who responded this year account for only about 12% of all US honeybee colonies. Professor Dennis Van Engelsdorp – founder of the Bee Informed Partnership – showed in his own research that hobbyist and small-scale beekeepers (who account for the majority of the BIP respondents) have more severe parasite and pathogen infestations of their honeybee hives than large-scale commercial beekeepers. That increases colony loss rates.

Interestingly, while BIP survey results go up and down from year to year, the overall trend line over the survey’s first dozen years has been downward. But that may reflect small-scale beekeeper experiences.

In any case, US honeybee colony numbers aren’t shrinking; they’re growing, regardless of what the latest BIP survey results find. The USDA’s actual census of beekeepers and their colonies – which actually is systematic and scientific – shows that the overall number of US honeybee colonies grew by 4% in 2018.

Indeed, in releasing the latest BIP results, Van Engelsdorp himself said, “We’re not worried about honeybees going extinct. We’re worried about commercial beekeepers going extinct.” Hive infections, long distance travel and other aspects of the business have driven more beekeepers to other professions.

Second, there’s good news in the latest Bee Informed Partnership survey. Finally, after years of misleading media and activist rhetoric seeking to pin the blame for honey bees’ problems on agricultural pesticides –neonicotinoid insecticides in particular – attention is now focusing where it should have been all along: on Varroa destructor mites. These tiny, nasty critters and the multiple virulent diseases they spread to honeybee colonies are the foremost scourge of our beloved, and vital, insect pollinators.

This year’s BIP survey announcement and most of the resulting press coverage emphasized this point.

It’s about time. Neonics have become the world’s most widely used insecticides because they work – and pose minimal risks to bees. Some are sprayed on fruits and vegetables, but nearly 90% are used as seed coatings for corn, wheat, canola and other crops. They are absorbed into plant tissues as crops grow.

That means they target only pests that actually feed on the crops, particularly during early growth stages. Since they don’t wash off, they reduce the need for multiple sprays with insecticides that truly can harm bees, birds, fish, other animals and non-pest insects. And they are barely detectable in pollen and nectar – which is why neonic residues are well below levels that can adversely affect bees.

That makes it ironic, and outrageous, that relentless anti-pesticide campaigners – especially those who profess to be alarmed about the “plight of the bumblebee” and want to ban neonics – have said virtually nothing about Varroa mites. Nor have they proposed any plan to deal with this scourge.

Thankfully, recent USDA research has identified a promising new approach of using RNA interference (RNAi) to disrupt the reproduction of another bee parasite, Nosema ceranae – the honeybee’s second-worst scourge. USDA is also reporting progress in efforts to breed more Varroa-resistant or Varroa-tolerant honey bees, which somehow have better hygienic habits: removing mites from one other.

Activists and journalists concerned about bees and pollinator health should have focused on this all along – particularly since available Varroa treatments no longer work as well, due to the mite’s uncanny ability to develop resistance to treatments. Instead, years of energy and millions of dollars have been wasted pursuing a wrong-headed crusade against neonic insecticides that are irrelevant to any challenges facing honey bees and other pollinators.

Phil Connors finally escaped from his time loop after he ended his disdain for small town Punxsutawney, began performing good deeds and told Rita he truly loved her. Maybe now – finally – self-professed bee advocates and environmental crusaders will wake up from their Groundhog-Day-in-June time loop and devote some time, effort and honesty to addressing the real problems that affect honey and wild bees.

Maybe they will also stop treating modern conventional farming like an evil pariah, and organic farming like a planetary savior. Maybe they will stop repeating the organic food industry’s Big Lie: that it doesn’t use pesticides. In fact, as Professor David Zaruk explains on his website, organic farmers employ a dozen highly toxic “natural” pesticides and over 3,000 other “approved” pesticides.

Several are highly toxic to bees: acetic acid, copper sulfate, pyrethrins, hydrogen peroxide, azidirachtin, rotenone, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil and garlic extract, and spinosad. Several are very toxic to humans: boron can affect people’s brain, liver or heart; rotenone has been linked to Parkinson’s disease; nicotine sulfate is a neurotoxin that has actually killed several gardeners; and copper sulfate can readily and severely injure a user’s brain, liver, kidneys, stomach and intestinal linings, skin and eyes … or even kill!

But again, Varroa is the villain, the real, enduring threat to bees – not pesticides, synthetic or organic.

Unfortunately, persuading environmentalists to acknowledge these realities is not likely. They have too much ideology, power and prestige invested in their campaigns against synthetic pesticides and conventional farming – to say nothing of the billions of dollars they’ve gotten from organic interests.

Bottom line? Lies, deception and fraud are unethical, immoral and illegal no matter who engages in it, devises the strategies or finances the campaigns. These environmentalist campaigns have been employed over and over because they work – and because too many legislators, regulators, judges and journalists have repeated, approved and applauded them. It will be an uphill battle to change that dynamic.

Let’s hope a few brave lawmakers start applying the same standards of truth and ethics across the board.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of many articles on the environment. He has degrees in geology, ecology and environmental law.

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June 30, 2019 6:36 am

Part of the problem is that it is driven by the commercial “organic farming” movement, which has always been rather evidence free. As organic farming is a renaming of the “biodynamic farming” embraced by the 1930’s NSDAP, it is mysticism at it’s core, and about as scientific as dowsing, another practice endorsed by the NSDAP.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 30, 2019 10:54 am

“organic farming” is evidence free mysticism?

What exactly would you like evidence of? That I can grow great vegetables with amazing yields without using chemical herbicides and pesticides?

I have pictures. lol

“organic” is a big topic, it’s not a black and white issue and it certainly isn’t mysticism.

Yes, I’ll get off your lawn now.

Reply to  Albert
June 30, 2019 11:50 am

Right, commercial farmers everywhere and for ever have ignored the far bigger yields organic farming achieves. ..

Your experience is utterly irrelevant, just as the fact you have never had malaria (say) does not prove that doesn’t exist.

We use science to examine claims, and science tells us organic farming is a poor way to grow stuff.

Reply to  Phoenix44
June 30, 2019 4:29 pm

Nobody said organic farming achieves far bigger yields.

I was responding to Tom’s comment that organic farming is “evidence free” and “mysticism”.

Oh, you think we’re talking about malaria now. I see.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Albert
June 30, 2019 1:41 pm

Albert – June 30, 2019 at 10:54 am

What exactly would you like evidence of? That I can grow great vegetables with amazing yields without using chemical herbicides and pesticides?

I have pictures. lol

Shur nuff, ……. and just how many other families …… can you provide a years’ worth of your “organically grown” vegetables for?

How many supermarkets can you supply “organically grown” vegetables to?

Ten (10) tomato plants …. verses ….. ten (10) acres of tomato plants ….. poses different farming practices.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 30, 2019 4:19 pm

Sam, I’m not denying that big farms that are using pesticides and herbicides have fantastic yields. I was responding to Tom’s bizarre comment that “organic” is evidence free and mysticism.

Reply to  Albert
June 30, 2019 4:40 pm

There are people who believe in homeopathy, too.

J Mac
Reply to  Albert
June 30, 2019 6:09 pm

Tom Halla,
I knew two people who died from the ineffectiveness of ‘homeopathy’ treatments for cancer and liver diseases respectively. Neither would listen, until it was far too late. To his belated credit, one friend acknowledged “I did this to myself. I should have listened…” before he died.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Albert
July 1, 2019 4:16 am

Well now, iffen one has been nurtured to believe that homeopathy is a catch all/cure all ‘silver bullet’ for treatment of all health problems, then they will have to suffer the ignorance of their own decision. Not much difference in those who have been nurtured to believe in CAGW.

There are many homeopathic remedies that work just fine. Least you forget that ….. “chewing on a willow branch” was a homeopathic remedy that is/was 98% effective, ….. just to name one of dozens that have eased the pain and discomfort of being afflicted.

And medical science knows for a fact that “placebos” do work for lots of people and fer shur, some homeopathic remedies work just fine as such.

And don’t ya all be fergettin, ….. during the first 50,000 years of H. sapien sapien survival, homeopathic remedies were all that was available for “the cure”,

And ps, …… current medical science doesn’t have a very good “track record” for the curing of cancer and liver diseases.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Albert
July 1, 2019 4:23 am

Albert, ….. my bad, ….. I misread your intent.

David A
Reply to  Albert
July 1, 2019 5:25 am

Not sure why the responses are so emotion based to your post, which was just fine.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Albert
July 1, 2019 12:23 pm

Not sure why the responses are so emotion based ….

HA, ……. are not all posted responses ….. emotion based?

Excluding “server” generated responses, of course.

Bill T
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
July 1, 2019 3:04 am

J Mac- When I had malignant melanoma and it looked like I was a goner- walnut sized tumor- I investigated all the “cures”o n the internet. From them I created the Law of the Survivor.

The Law of the Survivor: Only survivors give testimonials.

You friends who died using homeopathy could not give testimonials but the survivors of homeopathy could. The bias is extraordinary and completely misleading along with tragic.

old white guy
Reply to  Albert
July 1, 2019 6:45 am

All food is organic. just tell the truth it was grown without using some pesticide or other. jeez, even crude oil is organic.

Reply to  old white guy
July 1, 2019 7:21 am

Robert Rodale calling it “organic” was an attempt to conceal it’s origins with Rudolph Steiner and biodynamic agriculture, with it’s unfortunate endorsement by a very disfavored German political party. Nontheless, it is still mostly Steiner’s system.
Rodale started as a publisher doing advertising for quacks, excuse me, alternative medicine.

Ty Hallsted
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 30, 2019 11:05 am


I have not just seen dowsing work (at least a form of dowsing) but have successfully done it with no prior experience or expectation that it would.

It was the summer of 73 or 74 and I was a laborer at a construction site erecting a metal building on one of the Naval Academy’s parking lots in Annapolis. We needed to identify where an underground water or sewer line was and the Naval Engineers were unavailable to assist.

Henry, an older man from South Carolina said he could find it. He took an empty soda bottle and a piece of copper wire, bent the wire into an L and dropped the long end into the bottle. We knew which direction the line was running, just not where it was. Henry started walking across the lot perpendicular to the line with the bottle upright and the horizontal section of copper also perpendicular to the line. At one point the copper turned 90 degrees and he stopped and said this is where the line is.

Dubious, 3 or 4 of us, myself included, repeated this and had the same result. And after some exploratory excavating that’s where the line was.

Reply to  Ty Hallsted
June 30, 2019 1:57 pm

My father, fresh out of the army after WW2, worked for Bell system. Several times they needed to find a buried cable and his supervisor made two L-shaped wires and held them parallel to each other and loosely in his hands and as he walked the wires spread to 180 degrees apart and he said “dig here”. My father showed us that as kids and I have used it numerous times successfully to find cables and pipes. I have found no explanation for this phenomena which, as an engineer, bothers me. E-M fields? Maybe but I’ve also seen it work with clay field tiles. I usually don’t mention this much since it usually elicits concern for my mental stability by others in the technical fields. So, it is interesting to see someone else has seen it and used it.

As far as “organic farming” in the words of one of the Youtube (conventional) farmers organic farming is just another way of farming, neither better or worse. The “organic” is simply using the emotions of the general population to push their products through fear of dangerous chemicals. When my wife and I are in the grocery store I always suggest we get the vegetables without the carbon. It seems the “organic” label just get a higher margin so we generally avoid it.

Reply to  RetiredEE
June 30, 2019 7:45 pm

Have you replicated this phenomenon above ground?

Reply to  sycomputing
July 1, 2019 12:01 am

Dowsing is weird. I can’t do it, despite desperately WANTING to do it. I have a huge need to find underground water, but can’t. However, several pukka dowsers have wandered around my land, and all pointed to the place that has water. I also believe there is water at that point, because in the winter there is a stream, although it dries up in June. One borehole later… water. Are they just con-artists, who look at the lie of the land and guess? I have seen a dowser put his hand on a non-dowser, and hey presto! the non-dowser can dowse, but only whilst there is contact.

Perhaps if we did a study on “Dowsing with reference to Anthropomorphic Catastrophic Climate Change and Bee Colony Collapse”, we could get some funding and do some real research…

Reply to  Ty Hallsted
June 30, 2019 6:46 pm

That’s because water is strange.
One product of Lord Kelvin aka William Thomson’s innovative nature is the device presented in this tutorial, usually referred to as a Kelvin water dropper. Invented in the 1860s, it is an ingenious sort of electrostatic generator.
I wonder if their rather stilted explanation is correct. What happens when very pure water is used?

Loren Wilson
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 30, 2019 5:50 pm

Dowsing is not scientific but I’ve done it as a teenager with my aunt using willow, and the willow stick does dip without my intervention. We were just trying it out because we were very skeptical, and we did not perform a controlled experiment. It’s the weirdest thing I have ever seen. I have a degree in chemical engineering so I have some grounding in science, but I have no explanation. Just because we can’t explain it doesn’t mean there isn’t something going on.

D Johnson
Reply to  Loren Wilson
June 30, 2019 8:26 pm

I think all forms of dowsing operate on the same principle as an Ouija board. Take away the human operator, and there would be no response by the dowsing device, whatever its form.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Loren Wilson
June 30, 2019 8:45 pm

Carefully planned experiments, time after time, show over and over, without room for doubt, that dowsing fails. It is a figment of the mind. It is not proven by any number of personal anecdotes. It is a non-science, absolute rubbish concept that, like the many-headed hydra, refuses to die. Stop feeding it.
I cannot understand the ignorance or the motivation of those readers here who are sceptical of aspects of climate propaganda, while admitting to belief in dowsing. Geoff

Ty Hallsted
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 1, 2019 5:19 am

Geoff, I do not have “belief” in dowsing. Belief exists where evidence doesn’t. I have seen it myself, done it myself, as have two other contributors here.

As far as a comparison to the Ouija board, D. Johnson may be correct. However, the difference between the experiences related here and a Ouija board is that in all of these cases the object being sought was actually found. The prediction was confirmed. That doesn’t happen with a Ouija board and is the opposite of “non-science”. Perhaps if the human component is removed it wouldn’t work.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. If unconsciously effecting the outcome then the person is just a needed component, in which case it may work for some but not others. If consciously effecting the outcome then the question becomes, how does the person know where the water is so they can turn the copper or dip the willow wand.

Citing “Carefully planned experiments, time after time, show over and over, without room for doubt, that dowsing fails” without citing any of them is not at all convincing to me or I expect to those of us who have experienced this ourselves.

There have been numerous posts on this site where links have been provided to studies that show that many/most published studies can’t be reproduced, that show how hard it is to get studies published that contradict the current paradigm etc etc.

Perhaps the “Carefully planned experiments” referred to are no more robust than the studies that purport to find that 97% of scientists support the CAGW meme. Perhaps consciously or unconsciously they were designed to prove that dowsing doesn’t work rather than find out if it does and lo and behold found what they were looking for.

Did they include a human component? If so how many different subjects? Rubber soled shoes, leather soled or barefoot? Were they looking for running or still water? Willow wand, copper wire or something else? Or as suggested above, pure or impure water? These are some of the variables off the top of my head that would need to be controlled for. Were they? If you don’t know then you are just relying on the “Appeal to Authority” argument and have perhaps misplaced your trust.

Or perhaps we were all just lucky. I realize that if enough people try dowsing enough times there will be a certain number of successes. What I can assure you is that there was no conscious effort on my part to influence the outcome and it worked the first time I tried – the water or sewer line (I forget which) was right where the copper wire turned. That doesn’t happen with a Ouija board and the odds of it happening by chance would be about 1 in 100, given that the area we were crossing was about 100 ft wide. Would it work again? I don’t know. What I do know is that it worked then.

Reply to  Ty Hallsted
July 1, 2019 9:02 am

Would it work again? I don’t know.

If it worked when the line was underground, for what reason wouldn’t it work when the line is above ground?

This phenomenon ought to be easily reproducible.

June 30, 2019 6:59 am

Honeybees are themselves a non-native, human-introduced species.

Nobody’d die if they didn’t eat almonds, or ate fewer.

Nature’s cycles come and go, they’ve been doing that for a really long time now. Relax.


Want to improve the world markedly from today? IGNORE. ALL. ACTIVISTS. of whatever stripe. Where the word “activist” appears, replace with “troublemaker.” And DO NOT give their rantings attention.

Reply to  Goldrider
June 30, 2019 7:36 am

Our Godless society cannot ignore the purveyors of doom and gloom. Why? Because every hysteric existential threat serves as the compulsive replacement of God. If we can “save” our lives, and “save” the very planet upon which we live by not using pesticides (and forcing others not to use them), then we have done our penance for Gaia. When God is “destroyed”, then humans compulsively replace him/her with another faith. And there is no shortage of false prophets and televangelists of eco-faith to woo the faithful. Sadly, the televangelist activists cannot be ignored. Because they provide the pathway to an eco-heaven. They call the faithful to their knees

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Kenji
June 30, 2019 8:17 am

Blanket statement. I’m an atheist, and a skeptic. I don’t have a need for a “god” figure. I lead an evidence-based life.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 30, 2019 8:43 am

And that life – did it seep from evidence based atoms? If so which atoms made that blanket statement?

Reply to  bonbon
June 30, 2019 11:01 am

Which atoms? All of mine.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  bonbon
July 1, 2019 6:31 am

I have no idea what you’re asking, bonbon.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 30, 2019 9:35 am

Yes. Congratulations. However I should caution you that the science isn’t “settled”. Therefore, the evidence you believe you are following now, may change tomorrow. As such, I expect an atheist skeptic would also be skeptical … even about their own “settled” athiesm.

I won’t bother arguing with you about man’s inborn spiritual inquisitive nature which is why every human searches for the “meaning” of life. Perhaps you have effectively turned-off that part of your brain, or translated it into a scientific quest. However, I believe your conscious awareness of your own existence demands curiosity.

Me? I believe science is God’s handiwork. All we are capable of is to follow the empirical evidence of our environment to learn about the nature of the universe. We can then attempt to replicate those natural forces, much as the Chinese steal and forensically deconstruct American technology. But we are copiers, not creators. The nature of creation (the unified theory if you will) still isn’t understood.

Lastly, I sincerely hope you are not an atheist who believes yourself to be nothing more than a bag of chemicals and carbon structure which is worth about $12.95 upon your death. That’s too depressing a thought to embrace. I don’t hate you, and sincerely hope you return the favor.

Reply to  Kenji
June 30, 2019 11:47 am

Sorry, I’m not searching for the meaning of life. That’s a circular argument. If there’s a god, there’s a meaning, if there isn’t, there isn’t. Just because you would like there to be a meaning and go looking for one oesn’t mean there is one and so there must be a god.

And being depressed about the thought that dying us the end doesn’t give life meaning either. What you think and feel simply makes no difference to the existence or otherwise of God. You cannot conjure god into existence by really wanting meaning.

Reply to  Kenji
June 30, 2019 3:05 pm

Of course, Phoenix, you are free to tamp down your inborn nature, and ignore the questions of your conscious existence. However, it doesn’t sound very ‘scientific’ to do so. Such a lack of curiosity has always struck me as odd. As a stilted, almost rebellious attitude. Rebelling at the idea of something greater than oneself. I would expect a scientist to be more open minded. Me? I don’t subscribe to the ‘random chance’ theory of advanced biological organisms. I’m just curious is all. As I believe we all are, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

Sorry PETA … “A honeybee is not a Newt is not a zebra is not a little girl”

Reply to  Kenji
July 1, 2019 12:09 am

If there is a god, he is a vindictive, cruel, and arbitrary God who cares not one jot about you or anything else on this planet. Even worse is if he DOES care, because if so, he is obviously a deranged psychotic madman. Here is Stephen Fry being more erudite about it than I ever could be:

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Kenji
July 1, 2019 6:34 am

Kenji, where did I say any science was settled? The evidence won’t change, but the interpretation of it might. And that’s better than sticking to doctrine that clearly isn’t true.

Weylan McAnally
Reply to  Kenji
July 1, 2019 1:13 pm

Actually with current harvesting practices and processing technologies, the body is worth considerably more than $13.

John M. Ware
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 30, 2019 4:19 pm

Selectively evidence-based. You apparently ignore all the evidence in history, documents, artifacts, etc., that substantiate Biblical accounts. Re-check before you make your decision final.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  John M. Ware
July 1, 2019 6:36 am

John, I expect biblical accounts to be based at least somewhat in reality, but that doesn’t mean they had anything to do with a supernatural deity. Do you really believe Jesus walked on water? If so, please provide some corroborating evidence.

Reply to  Kenji
June 30, 2019 8:51 am

It was Emmanuel Kant who set out to destroy Deism, and opened the door to the Romantic Movement giving us Zeitgeist, Weltgeist, Volksgeist and now the Eco-geist, the pinnacle of the menticide called Critique of Pure Reason.
Heinrich Heine pointed this out in 1834, 100 years before the disaster.
Kant felt sorry for his butler Lampe though, and let a crippled god back in through a trapdoor for the little man in his Critique of Practical Reason.
Kant is a hero for the “left”, and his shade lumbers the halls of academia with his twin Bertrand Russell. And one wonders why the Uni’s spew craziness?

Leo Smith
Reply to  bonbon
June 30, 2019 5:19 pm

I can see you have read none of Immanuel Kant’s works.

Nothing to do with the Romantics AT ALL.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Goldrider
June 30, 2019 7:38 am

BIBBA has a lot of info on origins of different honeybees .
Worth a look . History of importations included .

Bill T
Reply to  Goldrider
July 1, 2019 3:15 am

I know you mean in the US as far as “human introduced”.

So was Varroa, so it was not “nature’s cycles. Varroa came from both Africa by way of Brazil (with the African honey bee- the “killer Bee”) as well as the Far East, but it is less virulent but first on the scene.

Plus, much more than almonds are commercially pollinated by bees. I am a beekeeper.

June 30, 2019 7:25 am

We must not forget that the alarmists and other eco-zealots hate people. They will never miss a chance to blame people. The result is that somehow, someway modern society will be blamed for something bad happening while always — ALWAYS — ignoring that a bad outcome may be natural. The result will be the real cause will not be addressed because we cannot blame people for it.

Reply to  Wade
June 30, 2019 11:52 am

They hate other people. Most are inordinately fond of themselves.

June 30, 2019 7:53 am

The roughly 4,700 beekeepers who responded this year account for only about 12% of all US honeybee colonies. Professor Dennis Van Engelsdorp – founder of the Bee Informed Partnership – showed in his own research that hobbyist and small-scale beekeepers (who account for the majority of the BIP respondents) have more severe parasite and pathogen infestations of their honeybee hives than large-scale commercial beekeepers.


I heard the president of the Alberta bee keepers association being interviewed on the radio one day not long ago. He said that these hobbyists and small keepers are entirely the problem. Most of them are new at it and don’t follow established bee keeping practices. They all try to over winter their bees rather than buying new bees every year. The bigger long time established bee keepers know that you can’t do that and expect to have all your bees in the spring. He said they can’t make a living off of their bees, so as a group they want to try and make a living blaming the insecticides and suing the insecticide companies.

R Shearer
Reply to  Rob
June 30, 2019 9:24 am

That could be a factor. For example in the Boulder Colorado area large numbers of eco loons decided to raise bees in their backyards and these people have virtually no experience or idea of what they are doing. Their attempts to help the bees might be stressing already existing populations and spreading mites.

June 30, 2019 8:12 am

I grow many flowers and there is an astounding array of winged insects going from flower to flower besides honey bees.

Dodgy Geezer
June 30, 2019 8:16 am

“…Let’s hope a few brave lawmakers start applying the same standards of truth and ethics across the board…”

All pigs fuelled up and ready for take-off…

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
June 30, 2019 7:10 pm

Agro industry fights the eco loons for market space while government pigs look on.

comment image

June 30, 2019 8:47 am

Well – on the topic of insects generally, the measure for me is how many miles can you drive with a bug-free windshield

Having driven across Europe many times, at different times of the year, having to stop to clean lights/number plate/windshield used to be a regular occurrence. Now? Not so much.

Have just driven 1500 miles from Spain to the UK, and have perhaps 4 bugs on the plate, and as many on the windshield……

Not scientific, I know, but even so……

Reply to  Hysteria
June 30, 2019 1:33 pm

I’ve made the same observation comparing driving in the 1950s vs the 20-teens. Fewer insects or more Autobahn-type highways with 300 yd wide thoroughfares providing poor habitat near the traffic lanes?

Honey bees are a non-native, invasive species in NA and have markedly displaced & reduced populations of native pollinators. Commercial fruit & nut producers contract with commercial bee keepers in order to help ensure adequate numbers of pollinators for their crops. If commercial bees were not available, native pollinators would get the job done, but native population numbers are dynamic, subject to natural fluctuations, and change from yr to yr: less reliable than using commercial providers.

Neonics are used mostly on grain crops– wind pollinated. A honey bee venturing into a mile square plot of row crop where it has little chance of a meal deserves to be eliminated from the gene pool. (I know. I know. Workers aren’t in the pool. Just wanted to use the cliche’ for poetic reasons.)

While the Verroa mite is certainly a major factor in the dynamics of bee populations, most natural populations vary cyclically without any special “explanation.” Cf- the 17 yr cyclicity of the cicada: plug the right constants into the N-K population equation and you can reproduce any cycle you like upon iteration. The Verroas figure into those constants for the HB– a “deer & wolf” dynamic.

Reply to  Hysteria
June 30, 2019 6:30 pm

Now consider the surface area of your number plate vs your windscreen. If they have the same number of bug squashes that should tell you something. Modern autos are very well designed aeronautically and one result of that is they slay fewer insects than they used to. There are still lots of insects out there, though. Ask any farmer. Not as many natural areas, though, so maybe there are fewer insects on the road in Europe. I don’t know, but in Australia we have lots. Lots of honeybees too – because we don’t have Varroa yet.

June 30, 2019 9:02 am

An electron microscope shot of a Varroa feeding on a honey-bee.

These are worse than ticks!

People should show these images to activists. If they really like bees they will be horrified.

June 30, 2019 9:03 am

Relatively good honeybee numbers here in west MD this year — better than last year.

Gary Pearse
June 30, 2019 9:07 am

Modern agriculture has created scientific miracle after miracle and has shown that it can feed 7.5B people and more with ease with evermore variety of nutritious foods. The real “Varroa” of the human race in the face of this beautiful limitless ingenuity, is the parasitic, ideological, incurable, rabid, so-called environmentalist. They represent a huge tax burden on prosperity, health, eradication of poverty and economic advancement. Through their actions, 100s of millions of 3rd World citizens have died unnecessarily of preventable diseases poor nutrition and sanitation, and limits placed on their economic betterment from blocking use of insecticides, modified high vitamin rice, etc. and cheap reliable abundant energy.

These misfits* surpass in toll the genocidal maniacs of the 20th Century that we all know and cringe in horror of their deeds. What’s worse than the case of the historical maniacs is the eco-killers think they are noble and beneficial. * Let’s say I know of an acquaintance of an acquaintance who has devoted her life (and ruined her own life) as an organizer of protests, marches, shrill disobedience, and the like. Actually, she had a horrible relationship with her father who had divorced her mother. There can be little doubt that this is what set her on this path of life long anger, rebellion and unfulfillment. I have little doubt that personal mental health issues are a factor in extreme preoccupations of this sort. It’s one thing to be moved to protest against some injustice or another, but its entirely pathological when there is an endless supply of grievances that engulfs your life – when you even brand yourself an “environmentalist” ($hit Disturbor) it’s very telling.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 30, 2019 9:22 am

Remember the “Climate Blues” epidemic less than a decade ago that ended the careers of a number of climate scientists (triggered by “The Pause” in warming), the tears shed by McKibben, Holthause and other “despairing” consensus scientists and activists, the ugliness, smears, threats…Yeah we haven’t seen the worst from a large number of quite disturbed people as this house of cards comes down.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 1, 2019 12:14 am

Modern agriculture burns 20 calories for every calorie of food it produces. As long as we have nearly free energy for ever, life will be peachy.

If we don’t…..

June 30, 2019 9:09 am

For ‘bee alarmists’, please also read B…. alarmists.

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
June 30, 2019 9:19 am

I searched to find a reliable way to treat varroa, but despite many different things being available none of them gave any assurance they would deal with varroa mite, and instead there was a good chance that the treatment might cause damage in itself.

The only viable long term way to deal with varroa, is to allow colonies that are susceptible to die out and breed from those that are most tolerant. But unfortunately, that strategy is far less effective if a lot of people are actively keeping alive poor quality bees strains by treating them for varroa because those colonies will produce drones which will spread the DNA of the poor quality strains.

Mark Luhman
June 30, 2019 10:00 am

Somehow the wild bees(killer bees) here in Arizona seem to be doing fine, the manage to kill a handful of people ever year. That may have been one of the reason they were interduce to the Americas, that I don’t know. I walk the deserts of Arizona and encounter them regularly I have not had a problem with them since I know their warning signs. First the head bump you, next they land on you, if you have not turn around by that time you are an idiot. Last you never try to swat or swing at them. If you get stung run, you will need to run at least a half mile. Most how die cannot do that.

Ed Zuiderwijk
June 30, 2019 10:14 am

A ‘white lie’ we call noble cause corruption.

What should we call a ‘green lie’? Suggestions anyone?

Javert Chip
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
June 30, 2019 12:13 pm

Socialist crap.

J Mac
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
June 30, 2019 7:04 pm

Ignoble cause corruption.

Clay Sanborn
June 30, 2019 10:22 am

Thanks. Learned lots of good stuff about colony collapse disorder, and the subsequent politics of managing and addressing it. It’s disheartening that, as in all things environmental, there are lies and corrupt attitudes involved.

June 30, 2019 10:56 am

The Neonics collected by the bees in the nectar, are minimal.
However as the nectar is concentrated in to honey .
Then fed to the Queen larvae and Drones,
Would the concentrations be effecting the Fecundity of the Queens?

Reply to  Twobob
June 30, 2019 2:30 pm

The Neonics collected by the bees in the nectar, are minimal.

OK, true. Now define “minimal” and some amount which is at the limit of what might have some detectable biological activity. Contrast and compare.

However as the nectar is concentrated in to honey .

Are the neonics concentrated as well? How much is retained as opposed to how much is lost.
“Biomagnification” was all the rage in scientific circles decades back. The fad passed on the realization that such a concentration process is fighting entropy, and therefor needs an energy source or very favorable chemistry. Many studies done while the topic was hot showed that the effect does not happen to anywhere the extent that was feared. So the fad passed away.

Would the concentrations be effecting the Fecundity of the Queens?

Plan A – Measure neonics in honey. Compare to de minimis amounts for biological toxicity (or any effects). Please do not say this has not been done.

Modern Analytical chemistry:
The Mass Spectrometer, especially when combined with a chromatograph (LC or GC) provides unparalleled detection limits. It is now common to work at the ppt (parts per trillion) level. The old laboratory tag line is that you can find anything in anything. (Largely true)
It is another matter entirely whether such detected amounts could possibly have any effect on anything.
So a statement such as “We found neonic residues in honey!” are meaningless. But can be used to further an alarm.
In summary:
If people could have made the case with neonics and honeybees, by now they would have. There has been plenty of time and interest, and the required instrumentation is available.
As others have said, the neonics question needs to be put to rest and attention put on the real stressors of the bees.

Reply to  TonyL
July 1, 2019 2:51 am

thank you.

Andrew Harding
June 30, 2019 12:18 pm

I have recently moved back to the UK (Newcastle upon Tyne, NE England) from Spain, I was hearing horror stories about depleted numbers of insects birds and animals on the BBC news caused by climate change. If I walk about half a mile I am in the countryside, where i walk my dog several times a day. Red Admiral butterflies are supposedly on the verge of extinction, i have seen dozens of them, likewise with Ladybirds, Toads, Bees (Bumble and otherwise) and Hares. I realise that these observations are subjective as is my weather observations which are unchanged from four years ago.
Another BBC ‘newsworthy’ item concerns the lack of dead, small, flying insects on the front surfaces of cars which I agree has diminished by 99% compared to twenty or thirty years ago. there have been no reports of extinction of these insects, just the usual causal association of ‘climate change’. My educated guess would be evolution is the cause. For whatever reason these insects now avoid roads, airports and railway tracks, possibly, and I am sticking my neck out here, because for whatever genetic change has occurred they stay away from roads. Interestingly, this has never been a problem in Andalucia, Southern Spain in the 20 years I have been holidaying and/or living there because the climate is much warmer and flying insects are present for much longer than they are here making evolution a more rapid process.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Andrew Harding
June 30, 2019 5:31 pm


I live in the UK. I have not seen a hedgehog in years, I have not seen a honey bee this year at all. Hares, however are camping out in my back garden in numbers never before seen. Raptors are up,sparrows almost nonexistent.

The garden is carpeted by the ‘endangered cowslip’ in spring. I mow them flat.

I have seen more foxes in outer london than here in the depths of the countryside

Advances in vehicle aerodynamics have improved airflow over cars.bugs tend to’ go with the flow’

Forever changes.

Andrew Harding
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 1, 2019 8:04 am

In NE England there are plenty of hedgehogs and honey bees, some friends of mine run a hedgehog hospital. Your comment about the aerodynamics of cars makes sense but it woulddn’t apply to the front number plate.

June 30, 2019 1:50 pm

Anecdotal, but in early May I have plants with purple flowers, the name of which escapes me, usually covered in bees. But we have had a cold and damp Spring, in the SW of the UK. It was reported in MSM that EE numbers were down. I had to agree. By the first of June the flowers were covered in bees. On a 2 sq m patch there were 10 – 12 bees on that area. I try to minimise herbicides to bramble leaves.
If I get to heaven my only question to God is “Why brambles ?”
Yes I use slug pellets, but try to encourage wildlife with a compost bin , long grass and intend to make a pond cum paddling pond. It’s all a question of balance. I like plants, some benefit the insects and some are for my own delight.

Reply to  London247
July 1, 2019 12:27 am

Why brambles?

Brambles make forest. That’s their job. Turn open space into a protective thicket for tree saplings to then outcompete. The brambles are just trying to turn your unnatural lawn into traditional oak forest – the natural habitat for the UK (97% of which is gone, by the way).

Brambles also make blackberries, and blackberries make blackberry and apple crumble. Perhaps there is a god after all…

June 30, 2019 6:23 pm

Kenji I June 30 the. The belief to need to submit to a higher power, its just
a crutch or at my age a 4 wheel ” Walker “.

I recall a film with Tyron Power “”The Razers Edge” He spent the whole film
wondering why his best friend was killed in WW1, instead of him
My reasoning would be he was lucky, his friend was not so lucky.

Its seems we have what some now call “The God Gene””, that humans have this
tendency to want to blame something or someone for their own situation
and its so easy to say in effect “”Well I must have seined”.

There are always people out there to take advantage of such feelings
the “Christian” Church have successfully done it for 2000 years, today’s TV
preachers have simply taken advantage of the reach of the TV set to extend
their reach, or as the priests who climbed to the top of the Norman Churches
and what they could se became their “” Holy See”

And yes I started to doubt at 12 years of age, and by 16 had confirmed
that belief. .And now at 92 I have never felt any need to change,.


(Can’t approve that because of blog Policy) SUNMOD

June 30, 2019 8:50 pm

“As many other species, honeybees are becoming extinct in the world; this phenomenon is called the Colony Collapse Disorder. Many reasons have been proven to be behind this environmental disaster like climate changes, pesticides, fungal pathogens and others, in addition to radiations generated by mobile phones, especially, since in recent years wild life has been exposed to microwaves and radio frequency’s radiation signals from various sources, including wireless phones. Bees have a specific organ for sensing magnetic forces, enabling them to navigate using their own compass. The claim of the research is that radiations generated by mobile phones are disturbing the life cycle of honeybees and affecting their reproduction system and honey producing. The research involves testing the behavior of honeybees away from mobile phones, with a mobile phone in its standby mode and active communication mode. The results of the experiments verified that mobile phone affect the honeybees’ life system.”

John M. Ware
July 1, 2019 1:59 am

As for bugs on windshields: I would guess the sheer number of cars is the answer. By the time I get to a certain place in the road, hundreds or thousands of cars ahead of me have swept it fairly clean, and there are few or no bugs left for me to hit. No evolution involved, merely a plethora of cars. On country roads, I drive more slowly, so bugs can evade my car more easily, or just bounce off. Since we don’t have mayflies in this part of the country, I don’t drive through swarms of the little beasties. Just from walking around in my yard, I can testify that there are plenty of bugs around; but I don’t drive through my yard, let alone at 70 mph.

Steven Burnett
July 1, 2019 4:28 am

Raising honeybees, pests are the main problem.

We have lost 3/4 hives

2 were due to hive beetles
1 was due to Carol

The lone survivor,was emergency requeened in the fall due to bad varoa.

Use unscented swiffer sheets lain across the top frames to eliminate hive beetles.

Robert W Turner
July 1, 2019 7:54 am

I think commercial bee farming IS the problem. There’s this little thing called disease vectors, and when you bring the host to the disease, YOU are the vector.

July 2, 2019 10:37 am

Check CCD numbers out of France. They banned neonics in 2006 IIRC.

I expect you’ll find that the level of CCD is rather consistent with what is observed in the U.S., Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

French farmers, ever litiginous, will tell you its the residues still residing in the soil that are causing the problem, so still neonics. Remarkable half life according to them.

CCD is a multi-factorial problem will all sorts of causes, not the least of which is lousy management by bee keepers. There are an awful lot of insecticides used within managed colonies to control a variety of nasties.

July 2, 2019 12:29 pm

Honeybees are an invasive species anyway. If they really wanted to do organic farming they should depend on native bees.
Joking of course but it underscores the silliness of all these concepts. Honeybees are indeed imported and plants are fertilized by many routes aside from bees, some by wind, some by other pollinating insects. Yet worrying about “invasive species” is a hot button issue these days, unless it’s one that is popular like the honeybee.

General P. Malaise
July 2, 2019 3:02 pm

“….Several are very toxic to humans: boron can affect people’s brain, liver or heart; rotenone has been linked to Parkinson’s disease; ….”

this can be misleading. I can only find one reference to rotenone causing parkinsons. in that study they injected the rotenone into the jugular veins of the mice. I don’t think it is a fair way to test it but it got the results they (the UN and agenda 21) wanted to force a ban on the product. it is not available in most if any place. it is a good safe insecticide.

Mark Matis
July 3, 2019 5:22 am

With Mexifornia’s water “rules”, we have FAR more to worry about than the loss of bees for the effect on their almond crop.

Roger welsh
July 4, 2019 10:07 am

I have said it before.
ORGANIC refers to the chemistry of carbon, the building block for all life on this earth, animals and plants .

What most people wish to convey is their wish for “naturally produced” anything.

Abuse of pesticides has taken place over many years through market needs seen by producers and long term effects unforeseen .

Just because producers use extra minerals to meet the needs of the new crop varietys should be castigated as not ” organic” is plain wrong .

Damn all writers who seek to warp the facts.

July 9, 2019 2:52 am

The issue with pesticides is that companies and government have not studied side effects and what happens if misused. Scientists are highly educated and controlled experiments are just that. Farmers lack the chemistry to understand pesticides and have been sloppy in the way they have used and stored them. In the developing World many people using pesticides are illiterate and have not used protective equipment. Chemical companies failure was not to assess the technical skill and attitude of the users of pesticides.

A similar problem is fertilisers, espcially where subsidised. If one bag is good , two bags are twice as good.

An issue which is ignored is the lack of basic scientific knowledge of many farmers, whether organic or in-organic,particularly soil hydrology, characterisation of soils/geology and chemistry.

By increasing fertility and water holding ability of soils, it may be possible to reduce pesticide and fertliser use.

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