Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

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spamghod
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Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

Post by spamghod » Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:27 pm

Here is a link to a somewhat less pessimistic article on CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), the current state of affairs with bees, and a likely possible cause. I agree that the consequences of a loss of Apis mellifera, would be a severe blow, but there are alternatives if you farm and are prepared:

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/st ... transcript

One alternative, that are actually more efficient pollinators than honey bees are Mason Bees. They actually don't produce honey, but they (the mason bees) are pollinating little machines. Some information:

Orchard Mason Bees

http://gardening.wsu.edu/library/inse006/inse006.htm

The orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria) is a gentle beneficial insect that has potential as a pollinator of apples, cherries, and other tree fruits. It is found throughout most of North America, particularly in wooded areas but often around homes in towns and cities.

Homeowners sometimes become concerned when they see the bee entering cavities under shake siding or investigating nail holes or other cavities in wood during March through early June. These are not destructive insects, since they do not excavate holes in the wood, though they will clean out loose debris. No controls are recommended, since no damage is done. To prevent the bee from nesting, holes may be filled with caulking.

The orchard mason bee is usually slightly smaller than a honey bee and a shiny dark blue in color. The actual size of the bee depends largely upon the size of the hole in which it grew.............
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Bumble Bees

http://www.bumblebee.org/economic.htm

The Economic importance of bumblebees

Bees are responsible for pollinating plants that provide much of our food; in North America it is believed that 30% of food for human consumption originates from plants pollinated by bees. Honeybees are generally thought of as the most common pollinator, and they are the most widely studied, but bumblebees are the chief pollinators of red clover, alfalfa, and in some areas cotton, raspberries, apple and plum blossom.

In Norwegian orchards honeybee pollination is usually limited by low temperatures, so bumblebees are the chief pollinators there, and in other Scandinavian countries bumblebees will forage 24 hours a day in the long days of summer. Also bumblebees will pollinate flowers that do not produce nectar, whereas honeybees will not. Just look at the photograph on the right. No other animal can pollinate "difficult" flowers like antirrhinum except big, fat, hairy bumblebees..............
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Alternative Pollinators

http://www.pollinator.com/alt_pollinators.htm

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Post by admin » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:35 pm

does it effect africanized bees?

I don't know, my back yard seems to have lots of insects of all forms. I see a few bees a day at least. I have not really been looking for them however.
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Re: Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

Post by JHyre » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:03 am

Nice WSJ on the subject, with a less hysterical tone than often heard by Greenies and/or The End Is Near types:

By RANDAL R. RUCKER
AND WALTER N. THURMAN

The last week of June is National Pollinator Week. Birds, bats and wild insects all pollinate the flowering plants around us. The most celebrated pollinator is the honeybee—and for good reason. Close to 2.5 million hives of bees are managed by fewer than 2,000 commercial beekeepers, who take their bees on the road each year to pollinate blueberries, almonds, cranberries and a cornucopia of other fruits and vegetables. Without this cooperation of beekeeper, bee and farmer, our national diet would be less nutritious and less tasty.

As even casual observers now know, however, all is not perfect in the world of bees. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, is their most recent scourge. Over the past four years, approximately 30% of U.S. honeybees alive in the fall failed to survive to pollinate blossoms in the spring. While widespread die-offs due to disease are as old as beekeeping, dating back to the 17th century at least, this one appears worse than most.

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Bloomberg
.What is truly remarkable, then, is that the pollinating services of bees, and the fruits and vegetables of their labors, have remained steady in the face of CCD. In light of this fact, we propose a celebration—to pay homage to the resilience of honeybees and to the business acumen and perseverance of commercial beekeepers.

To help understand the implications of the latest wave of bee disease, and the contributions of the beekeepers who lie awake at night worrying about them, we offer the following observations based on our research:

First, the number of bees pollinating crops has been stable in recent years—CCD notwithstanding. Before CCD, U.S. beekeepers lost on average 15% of their colonies each winter. What we know about bee losses since then is that they increased immediately after the discovery of CCD in 2006 and have remained at about 30% for the past four years.

Yet the increase in winter losses has not translated into fewer springtime bees. Department of Agriculture data show that total bee numbers were higher in 2010 than in any year since 1999. Losses due to CCD have been more than offset by beekeepers rebuilding bee populations, primarily by splitting and requeening their colonies.

Second, honey production by U.S. bees has been fairly stable. It was approximately the same in 2010 as it was in the several years before CCD.

Finally, there is no evidence that CCD has measurably affected the pollinated food supply. If the effects of CCD were economically widespread and significant, increased costs to beekeepers would dictate that farmers would have to pay more to secure pollination services. But fees charged by beekeepers for pollinating crops have shown at most modest signs of increase since the appearance of CCD. While fees for pollinating almonds (a bellwether for the industry) have increased in the past decade, the increases largely predate CCD, and fees have not increased in the most recent years.

Commercial beekeepers routinely fight diseases and parasites that threaten their tiny livestock. They apply miticides. They monitor and manipulate their colonies' genetic stock. And they adjust to changing circumstances, such as increased winter mortality, by increasing bee populations in anticipation of winter losses. It is these efforts that explain the relative stability of the nation's bee population and its products in the face of CCD and other diseases and parasites.

Ongoing research will lead to better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent bee disease, which will be welcome to beekeepers and consumers alike. In the meantime, we can be grateful that CCD has had no measurable, let alone drastic, effects on the availability of fruits, vegetables, nuts and honey. Beekeepers have been as busy as . . . well, as their iconic insect partners to bring this about.

Mr. Rucker is a professor of agricultural economics and economics at Montana State University. Mr. Thurman is a professor of agricultural and resource economics at North Carolina State University. Both are fellows of the Property and Environment Research Center.

John Hyre, Bzzzzzzz

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Re: Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

Post by greg~judy » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:12 am

g~j would like to stay (somewhat) on topic...
and show you a quite recent photo of some pollinating action...
have you ever looked closely at a bee's bum?
please, take a good look - here's a big one!
:alien:
squashbloss2 ac.jpg
squashbloss2 ac.jpg (119.24 KiB) Viewed 3381 times
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Re: Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

Post by waves » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:22 am

I use mason bees here in Canada. They're great little work horses, err bees, and are highly recommended by the farms.

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rasmataz
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Re: Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

Post by rasmataz » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:13 am

There is an Israeli company here in Chile that a friend used on his blueberry farm. He used the bumble bee. Here is the link:
http://www.biobee.cl
Suerte

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JHyre
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Re: Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

Post by JHyre » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:00 pm

Sort of related, Magical Kiwi Honey:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... martliving

John Hyre

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Re: Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

Post by zer0nz » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:03 pm

JHyre wrote:Sort of related, Magical Kiwi Honey:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... martliving

John Hyre
mmm i love mankuka honey, use to eat alot back home!

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JHyre
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Re: Alternative Pollinators to Honey Bees

Post by JHyre » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:22 pm

Hey! You are not supposed to eat it, you are supposed to smear it on wounds. Bad, Bad zer0nz.

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