Häagen-Dazs Funds Effort to Identify Why Honeybees are Disappearing Worldwide
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February 21, 2008

Häagen-Dazs Funds Effort to Identify Why Honeybees are Disappearing Worldwide

Honeybee_2 Ice cream manufacturer Häagen-Dazs is worried about the unexplained collapse of honeybee colonies around the world. Häagen-Dazs spokesperson Katti Pien says that "almost 40 per cent of the brand's flavors are dependent on bee pollination and could be threatened by CCD". Known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), no one has yet been able to verify what is causing this “apiarian apocalypse”. Usually only queens, eggs and a few immature workers are left behind while the rest of the colony mysteriously disappears.

But it’s not just ice cream flavors at stake. Scientists and beekeepers say that bees’ colonies are disappearing from the US to Europe in one of the most bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world. Implications of the spread are alarming. Albert Einstein is rumored to have said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left". But whether or not it was actually Einstein that made the prediction, the concern is real. Many of the world’s crops are largely dependant on pollination by bees. A severe bee decline could cause massive food shortages as many world crops could fail.

“Honey bees are in trouble,” says Walter Leal, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. “One-third of our nation’s food supply depends on bee pollination, but bees are vanishing in massive numbers.”

Häagen-Dazs has given $250,000 in a research grant to university researchers in California and Pennsylvania to identify the culprit(s) behind CCD. Many possible causes have been suggested, but so far none have been verified. Last year researchers found that some bees were infected with the single-celled fungus Nosema ceranae. Other teams identified two further fungi and 12 viral infections that could be contributing to CCD. However, it is not clear if these infections are simply symptoms of a larger problem that is weakening the honeybees’ defenses, making them more susceptible to disease.

One theory for the bee disappearance is that the radiation from cell phones could possibly be interfering with bees' navigation systems, preventing them from finding their way back to their hives. There is some preliminary scientific evidence to back this up. German researchers have shown that bees' behavior changes near power lines. A study at Landau University has found that bees do not to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr Jochen Kuhn, who carried out the study, confirmed this could be a possible cause of the beehive collapses.

Other theories involve mites, pesticides, increased solar radiation, global warming and GM crops. However, many question remain unanswered and more research is needed to conclusively determine the cause(s). To further spotlight the issue, the Haagen-Dazs brand launched a new honey bee-dedicated flavor on February 19th called Vanilla Honey Bee with the proceeds going to help fund CCD research.

Posted by Rebecca Sato. Photo credit: Rafi Ben Aharon.

Related Galaxy posts:

Are Bees the Next Mass-Extinction Species?
Cell Phones May Wipe Out World's Bee Population

Links:

www.helpthehoneybees.com

http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/17330

http://sev.prnewswire.com/environmental-services/20080219/CLTU01119022008-1.html

Comments

As a beekeeper I appreciate that people are showing an interest in things that matter to me. But: Please read up on CCD before spreading the panic. Repeating the cell phone radiation stuff is just embarrassing. Wikipedia has a good article on CCD with plenty of sources, check it out.

(Also, real bees are much, much prettier than cgi.)

Felicia, the honeybee is well known to be sensitive to magnetic fields. Cell phones emit low frequency magnetic fields. Correlation does not equal causation, but the possibility is worthy of mentioning and being looked into. The rise of cell phones is relatively new for humans, and we don't yet know if there are any health dangers to man or beast at this stage.

Hysterical distorted nonsense. Natural honeybees are doing fine, it's the human bred mutant variety thats dying.

nope, its monsanto corn, the new world orders master plan of reducing the world populaion by 80 percent has begun and bees must go first, prepare for worse

a simple case of buzz marketing i suspect

Even if it's just 1 variety of bee, pollination patterns for other species of insect, plant & animal could be affected, that's going to affect crop growths, crop production & prices.

Economies are affected by such simple things like the flight of a bumblebee, I think more people are beginning to realize that.

The Mayans have predicted the end of the world, so have the catholics and other various religions. The fact of the matter is that people just need to be aware of a possible butterfly effect. The smallest thing could set off any number of chained events that could lead to the world's demise. The chinese say "Man cannot prevent death only postpone it." What ever the cause for the death of the bees is it is important for mankind to find out what it is and stop it if possible. The world has existed for billions of years and long before man ever took his first step. The world will find a way to keep existing, even if we don't.


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