Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dr Who and the TARDIS

For a little fun for all you Dr Who fans (you know Who you are), enter the Tardis courtesy of the BBC:  

A tip of the hat to: Random Ramblings blog: Another fan of honey bees.

Honey bee decline

The following very interesting study was done in 2007-08. CCD is a world wide problem that pretty much everybody has heard of by now.  

You can draw your own conclusions as to its' cause, but the science here makes it pretty clear to me that while there are multiple possible causes, chemical contaminants play a large part. This is interesting to me as I have had the company of two feral hives living in the walls of both my barn and my farmhouse for many years. They have always been healthy colonies and I suspect it is because they have always had plenty of wildflowers for nectar and pollen, and haven't been near any agricultural chemicals. I now have a hive I can inspect, housed in a Langstroth box. We'll see if they do as well as the other two feral hives. It will be nice to finally be able to harvest some of our own honey. 


Recent declines in honey bees for crop pollination threaten fruit, nut, vegetable and seed production in the United States. A broad survey of pesticide residues was conducted on samples from migratory and other beekeepers across 23 states, one Canadian province and several agricultural cropping systems during the 2007–08 growing seasons.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We have used LC/MS-MS and GC/MS to analyze bees and hive matrices for pesticide residues utilizing a modified QuEChERS method. We have found 121 different pesticides and metabolites within 887 wax, pollen, bee and associated hive samples. Almost 60% of the 259 wax and 350 pollen samples contained at least one systemic pesticide, and over 47% had both in-hive acaricides fluvalinate and coumaphos, and chlorothalonil, a widely-used fungicide. In bee pollen were found chlorothalonil at levels up to 99 ppm and the insecticides aldicarb, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos and imidacloprid, fungicides boscalid, captan and myclobutanil, and herbicide pendimethalin at 1 ppm levels. Almost all comb and foundation wax samples (98%) were contaminated with up to 204 and 94 ppm, respectively, of fluvalinate and coumaphos, and lower amounts of amitraz degradates and chlorothalonil, with an average of 6 pesticide detections per sample and a high of 39. There were fewer pesticides found in adults and brood except for those linked with bee kills by permethrin (20 ppm) and fipronil (3.1 ppm).


The 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 ppm in bee pollen alone represents a remarkably high level for toxicants in the brood and adult food of this primary pollinator. This represents over half of the maximum individual pesticide incidences ever reported for apiaries. While exposure to many of these neurotoxicants elicits acute and sublethal reductions in honey bee fitness, the effects of these materials in combinations and their direct association with CCD or declining bee health remains to be determined.

Below is a healthy swarm from the hive in my barn's wall. This occurs yearly. I will capture the next swarm.
The house bees swarming.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

At long last a post!

I have been lax at posting. Here is some filler shamelessly lifted from the News of the Weird, while I try to get some of my own news together:

Here is something I’ve had a lot of success growing when I lived in Florida!

* Extract of cockroach is a delicacy among some Chinese, able to
miraculously  reduce inflammation, defy aging, and cure
tuberculosis, cancer, and cirrhosis.  Agence France-Presse reported
in August that Yunnan province is a silicon-valley-type business
center, where pulverized roaches can sell for the equivalent of about
$89 a pound, and five pharmaceutical companies have contracts
with ranches that have formed the Sichuan Treasure Cockroach
Cooperative.  (In August, a start-up farm in Jiangsu province was,
police suspect, vandalized, allowing at least a million cockroaches
being prepared for market to flee to adjacent neighborhoods.)
[Quartz (qz.com), 8-27-2013] [Agence France-Presse via Daily
Telegraph (London), 8-25-2013]
It would work for me!

* When entrepreneur Michelle Esquenazi was asked by a New York
Post reporter in September why her all-female crew of licensed
bounty hunters (Empire Bail Bonds of New York) is so successful
at tricking bail-jumpers into the open, she offered a five-letter
vulgar euphemism for a female body part.  "It's timeless," she
continued.  "Of course he's going to open his door for a nice piece
of [deleted]."   "The thing about defendants is no matter who they
are [of whatever color], they're all dumb.  Every single last one of
them is stupid."  [New York Post, 9-27-2013]
The lawyer always wins!
* It's expensive to go broke in America.  Detroit, which most
acknowledge acted wisely in filing for bankruptcy protection in July
(in the face of debts estimated to be at least $18 billion), will
nonetheless be on the hook for bankruptcy-law fees that could total
$60 million under current contracts (according to an October New
York Times report), plus various expenses, such as the $250,000 to
Christie's auction house to price and sell some assets.  A fee
examiner has been hired to keep the expenses in line, but he charges
$600 an hour. [New York Times, 10-8-2013]

Medical Marvels Oh the horror!
*  A recent medical journal reported that a 49-year-old
man in Brazil said he had recovered from a stroke except that the
damage to his brain (in a "subcortical region" associated with
higher-level thinking) has caused him to develop "pathological
generosity" toward others.  A Duke University neurologist told
London's Daily Mail that stroke-induced personality changes (such
as hoarding) are common but that this particular change appears
unique.  Doctors reported in the journal Neurocase that even with
medication, this patient's beneficence was unabated after two years.
[Daily Mail (London), 9-7-2013]
* Americans frequently cite the rigorous, above-board testing of
prescription drugs as one of government's most important functions,
and health insurance companies use such seals of approval in
policy-coverage decisions.  However, some consumers seem to
prefer unorthodox, untested, unregulated products and, backed by
lobbyists for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), are
challenging the insurers for "discriminat[ing]" against these
"drugs," especially in the game-changing rules of the new
Affordable Care Act.   A Forbes.com columnist explained in August
what would happen if CAM prevails:  "You could start offering
dried bird poop for arthritis, call it  avian nature therapy,' and if an
insurer won't pay for it, you can sue." [Forbes.com, 8-26-2013]

From: http://www.WeirdUniverse.net