What’s the bee? “Colony collapse syndrome” will make it extinct

正在采蜜的西方蜜蜂,拍摄于坦桑尼亚 is Apis mellifera nectar, taken in Tanzania

SAN FRANCISCO, September 22, according to foreign media reports, many people have heard of bee colony abruptly disappear news, but behind them Do not understand the reason. After the question appeared on the Quora website, Matan Shelomi, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Taiwan, made a detailed answer under the question. The following is his answer.

I (and almost all of the world’s entomologists) are often asked about the issue of bees. “Are they in trouble?” “Why are they disappearing?” “What can I do?” These questions are worth it, and annoying is the answer I get. “This is obviously a transgenic problem!” “We must ban neonicotinoid (neonicotinoid, also known as nicotine, is a class of nicotine-related neuroactive insecticides in general)!” “How can we stop those who are killing Bee’s business? “Well, the problem is that the news media needs sensational issues and easy-to-understand stories, and most people want to have an answer to every question. However, the principle of biology is not the case, the truth can not be attributed to a title under.

Not long ago I had just heard a great lecture, the speaker was a respected Dr. May Berenham, who was a great entomologist and a ” Syndrome “(Colony Collapse Disorder, CCD) scientific exposition. The colony collapse syndrome is a technical term that describes the disappearance of bees. Here, I will introduce the current status of the study of the colony collapse syndrome: its history, the reason, and how we stop it.

Summary: There is no single cause of colony collapse syndrome. No chemical substance should be banned. The disappearance of a creature can not be attributed to a company. In contrast, colony collapse syndrome is the result of multiple factors. The whole of these factors is much more deadly than this: it is a biologically and culturally unacceptable test for bees that are already very fragile in genes. But bees, and other bees are not going to die soon.

The history of bees [123]

The human collection of honey bees (also known as European bees, scientific name: Apis mellifera) honey has been a thousand years of history. This bee is native to Europe, Asia and Africa, is a very easy to be domesticated bees, not only for the production of honey, but also to help the pollination of crops. There is another bee is the Oriental bee (scientific name: Apis cerana), native to Asia. In the world, Western bees are more common. A few centuries ago, the United States introduced bees from Europe, and these bees were well adapted to the local plants. No bees, some agricultural products (especially almond, that is, Dan Dan wood) can not be produced.

However, beekeeping is not easy. Like all animals, the bees are sick; and as with all the farmers, the beekeepers will do everything possible to ensure the health of the bees, to treat or prevent any possible disease problems. The biggest problem with bee disease is larvae rot (foulbrood), which causes the bee larvae to become a sticky, disgusting brown object. In order to prevent larvae from becoming fluid, the nets began to use antibiotics. There is also a fungus called Nosema (Nosema) can destroy the entire bee population, so the beekeepers began to use fungicides. The most serious consequence is the tart (the name: Varroa destructor), which can be attached to the body of the bees and suck the bees. This is bad enough (their species “destructor” means “saboteurs”), but the situation can be worse. The wounds caused by the mite in the bees are infected with bacteria and viruses, including deformed wing virus (DWV), which is actually transmitted by the mite. In 1987, the mite was brought into the United States with an Asian oriental bee, and now spread to most parts of the world (except for Australia … for now). In order to control the mite, the beekee began to spray acaricides on the hive.

Over the past century, beekeeping activities have also undergone significant changes. Bee nong found the pollination market, began with a hive, with the crop season changes to different places, the beginning of the train, and later opened their own trucks. However, the bees are still in short supply. In the United States, the Palestinian Dan Wood Industry Association has even successfully lobbyed the US Congress, agreed to import bees from Australia. It was illegal at the time – in order to avoid the introduction of bee disease from abroad, there are regulations prohibiting the import of bees. With the development of the world, more and more wilderness was reclaimed as farmland, and then the farmland became a city, and the amount of bee food was decreasing. Bee’s natural foods are honey and bee pollen (fermented pollen groups). The reduction of wild flowering plants means that bees’ natural foods are also reduced, and they require other food sources. In order to feed bees, beekeepers began to feed them with sugar solution, including corn syrup containing high concentrations of fructose.

Not the death, but the disappearance of: honeycomb workers in the bee suddenly disappeared, leaving only the bees and larvae. This is very unusual: the bees will not put their homesAnd family members so abandoned. After the bees disappear, the colony also collapses. Soon this proved to be a national problem and a similar phenomenon was found in Europe. As the bees have a pivotal role in agriculture, research groups across the United States have begun to work together to address the “colony collapse syndrome” has become a priority issue.

People almost immediately found a scapegoat. Organizations opposed to genetically modified organisms accused of genetically; opposition to government organizations accused the government; conspiracy theorists said the government was spraying something; alien hijackers said aliens were taking bees. Some people blame the phone, some people blame Osama bin Laden. One theory says the US government is using the Soviet mind control technology to deal with Americans in order to increase the support for the war in Iraq, and the American bees have also been affected, because the Russian bees are safe and sound. All these accusations are chisel, but I suspect that anyone who can so easily conclude will accept evidence that they are wrong. In fact, all the above mentioned words, from transgenic to mobile phone, are wrong. The colony collapse syndrome is not caused by genetically modified, mobile, alien, vehicle grille, ultraviolet, electromagnetic radiation, terrorists, communists, capitalists, and so on. We can not find evidence to support these claims (to refute some of the argument is a lot of evidence), and those who promote these claims also give a reasonable explanation (hint: if a site claims to show you “real news “Or” they do not want to let you know the truth “, that can almost certainly be unreliable). So what is the real result of the study? The coincidence is that a few months before the colony collapse syndrome was reported, scientists published the genome sequence of the bees. Related research

Researchers then use this new information to try to find out why. They compared the health bees and the bodies of the surviving bodies in the collapse of the hive to see what’s the difference. They found the problem not in the bee genome itself, but an uninvited guest of the genome “scooter”: Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV). The frequency of this virus in the collapse of the hive is much higher than the health of the colony. Although found in Israel (hence the name), but scientists believe that the virus is through the Australian bees into the United States. Although there are laws to prevent the introduction of bee disease, but the United States or from Australia imported bees. So, is the problem solved? Is the Israeli acute paralysis virus a cause of colony collapse syndrome?

The answer is no. Australian bees do carry the virus, but they do not have colony collapse syndrome. Australia’s honeycomb did not crash. Scientists have found that these American bees also have Israel’s acute paralyzed virus, much earlier than the time from the importation of bees from Australia, after a 50 year of frozen bee specimens were tested for DNA. Therefore, this virus can be ruled out.

We also found something else. Scientists have studied the microbes in bees. Like humans, the bees’ gutters also live with bacteria and other microorganisms, helping them to digest food and do other things. There are plenty of studies on how human microbes affect human health (and there are more exaggeration and pseudoscience). The results of the study found that healthy bees and the collapse of bees colony in the microbes no difference. This factor is also independent of colony collapse syndrome. However, this is the first time there is evidence that bees will also use microbes … and these microbes are resistant to antibiotics that were originally used for bees for quite long periods of time. In 2005, a new antibiotic for the treatment of larval rot, the introduction of other antibiotics, which may have affected the microbes in the bees. Another point is that the bees need to use specific fungi to ferment pollen to get the pollen as a food. The following may be the biggest finding in the genetics of bees: bees naturally lack immunity and detoxification genes. Compared with other insects, bees lack many natural defense mechanisms! In particular, they have fewer glutathione-S-transferase, carboxylesterase and cytochrome P450, all of which are animals (including humans) To break down the toxins of the protein. Bees eat pollen and honey and rarely touch toxins. In the millions of years of evolution, they have lost many of these defensive genes, which means that all bees are in a natural and disadvantaged position in the face of disease and chemicals.

So how did the bees survive? They also have a small amount of cytochrome P450 and other detoxification genes. In addition, they also have their own secret weapon: food. Pollen contains compounds that can positively regulate detoxification and immune genes. In other words, when bees eat pollen-containing foods, such as bee pollen or honey, they produce more antibodies that can resist pathogens and metabolize toxic compounds. Because the natural food of bees is honey and bee pollen, both contain pollen, so they still have a certain resistance. By the way, the same law applies to humans, and if you eat more healthy food, your immunity will increase.

Now that you have learned enough information, you might be able to figure out what caused colony collapse syndrome. Let me give you a hint: it is not a single factor. Whatever you read, if you find that there is only one source of information listedCause – a chemical, a pesticide, a company, a country – you do not have to go on. Everything, at any time, is applicable. The scientific mechanism of operation is not the case, colony collapse syndrome and no single reason to solve the method is not only one. If anyone denies this, it is likely to instill a particular point of view or not to do the homework.

The following is for you to reveal the answer.

What causes colony collapse syndrome? Among the many hypotheses, only four seem more likely: the ever-increasing amount of pesticides used since 1895; some pathogens or parasites; immunosuppressive measures caused by management; and the reduction in nutrient content in bee foods The So, what factors should be attributed to? All.

In 2012, scientists completed a literature analysis of the colony collapse syndrome and several large-scale studies. They did not find the cause, but found a few indicators that indicate the imminent collapse of the bee population. Microspore fungi are not one of the indicators: on the contrary, healthy populations have higher microspore levels! Only watt mites and wing-winged viruses are seemingly effective indicators, while tartar is more important. As mentioned earlier, there are no mites in Australia and no colony collapse syndrome (although there are no colony collapse syndromes in Asia and New Zealand). Does the mite is the cause of the colony’s collapse?

Things are like that. Imagine a bee swallowed by mite. Bee farmers must use acaricides in the hive, and mites are different from bacteria or fungi, and they are more close to bees in evolution. Both are arthropods. The same chemical substance can kill mites and may kill bees. Although the acaricide currently used is more toxic to bees than the bees, it does not yet exist which compounds that kill mites are completely harmless to bees, both organic and traditional. Some non-chemical techniques can deal with watt mites, but all need more labor, costly, and the bee farmer itself is already working for border profit: you will not make money to raise bee! So now the bees are exposed to acaricides, and often several times … more than the cytochrome P450 detoxification capacity. Bees can only produce a few can deal with acaricides cytochrome P450, a compound Fortunately, if spray two or more compounds, they can not afford. Note that I have not even mentioned the insects that bees may encounter in the fields, mainly because they are not too big. New nicotine, which is often mentioned in recent news, has been banned in Europe because of public pressure. Such insecticides are still used in many other countries that do not experience colony collapse syndrome. In fact, none of the chemicals used on crops – neonicotine, Bt protein (spray or transgenic form), butadiene (clothianidin) – are directly related to colony collapse syndrome, and this is also expected Among the. Pesticide Spray on the impact of bees How can the impact of honeycomb sprays? This does not make sense, and indeed it does. A recent study shows that 100% of the beeswax in the US honeycomb contains high concentrations of pesticides, as well as other chemicals – including the antibiotics and fungicides I mentioned earlier. Kill fungi that kill microsporidia may also kill fungi that turn pollen into bee pollen! Even if this is not a problem, the end result is to accumulate a large number of chemical substances in the hive: even if the use of pesticides on crops, the honeycomb itself will be sprayed or contaminated.

You might say: “But when the use of acaricide when the bees did not die ah … …” Yes! Acaricides may be toxic, but not too terrible! Cytochrome 450 is still able to cope with most pesticides – if the bees are healthy. Remember that pollen will stimulate the generation of cytochrome P450, but the bee’s food is no longer able to provide enough pollen. The habitat destruction mentioned earlier means that there is not enough pollen in nature to eat for bees. Instead, people feed bees with sugar or cornseed, and these are not able to stimulate their immunity like pollen. To give an example of how bad the situation is, the French beekeepers have been in the blue honey when the panic. Finally found that their bees did not collect nectar, but with a nearby M & amp; M plant containing sugar wastewater for food, from which to absorb the blue dye. Coincidentally, New York, a beekeeper’s bee is the red honey, he found his bees were originally in a Malaschino cherry factory foraging. No food to provide food, bees nutritional status will be very bad. In the case of malnutrition, the bees are also very low immunity … … and when you take into account the pressure of long-distance transport, most of the bees will not get a good food, you will understand why the bees will be sick.

“slow, then those who eat honey bees?” You may also ask so. You are right, a lot of beekeepers choose to use honey instead of corn pulp to feed bees … … or that they think so. At present a major problem is that most of the honey in the sale is not really honey. The crux of the problem is that in 2000, the United States imposed anti-dumping duties on honey in some countries, resulting in reduced imports of honey, resulting in increased imports of honey from Malaysia, India, Vietnam and Indonesia. The problem is that these countries do not have commercial honeycomb. How can we import honey from countries that do not produce honey? “Wash honey”. Some honey will be labeled in other countries, and then avoid the US anti-dumping duties. In order not to be found, they will use the ultrafiltration filter honey in the pollen filter (because you can use pollen to trace the origin of honey)And mixed with corn syrup. So what you see close to the “honey” label may not be honey, and because these “honey” no longer contain pollen, so the health of the bees and no good.

To sum up, the occurrence of colony collapse syndrome is due to the natural lack of immunity to the disease and chemical substances, and these two factors on the impact of the growing bees, and often work together; In addition, the bee’s immunity becomes worse due to undernourished food and stressful living conditions. There is no single reason, there is no single solution.

What can we do?

First, let me assure you that the bees will eventually pass the crisis. The bees are not at risk of extinction, even the western bees. Wild bees actually live well, disappear only commercial bees … and they disappear the rate is also reduced! The rate of decline in different years is different, and in some years there will be a rise in the total number of bees. For example, 2012-2013 is the most difficult year for bees, and many hives suffer from colony collapse syndrome. the reason? That year there was a drought in the Midwest, and a lot of flowering plants died. Inadequate nutrition, coupled with lack of water, and hard life, make it difficult for bees to withstand natural and man-made stress (including pathogens and pesticides), and the possibility of death is higher. In other years, the day of the bees is much better.

However, these are not comforting the beekeepers who have lost bees. What can we do to help them? Two things. First of all, in your garden to plant some bees like flowers, if you have a garden. Providing a source of food for bees near your house can reduce the loss of some habitat to bees. Secondly, if you can, please buy local honey to support local beekeepers. Go to the farmers market, or find some beekeeping people to buy honey. This will help them through the storm, you can also ensure that they buy is genuine honey, rather than processed products.

That bigger question? Well, we will continue to use our existing products until we find the acarics that are completely harmless to bees. Warts are one of the culprits and must be controlled, although the solution to their methods is another cause of the problem. As for the prohibition of chemical products, is undoubtedly a bad idea. Think about new nicotine: even if you forbid those new nicotine insecticides (like in Europe), then? Farmers still use other pesticides, such as earlier products Pyrethroids – are more toxic than neonicotine By prohibiting specific pesticides, Europe may make the problem of colony collapse syndrome become more serious. If you want to solve the problem from the public policy point of view, my proposal is to prevent the destruction of habitat, the idea is always right. This also comes to my last argument. Your best choice is to get enough information … it is not to say to find a source of information, and then blindly believe them. Getting enough information means that you should keep looking for new information and never meet. This means that when the new story comes out, you have to be questioned, especially when the story looks so real, or that can “eventually” answer a question.

Getting enough information also means that you can not confuse a conspiracy theory website or an anti-agricultural technology blog, or even a news story, with real scientific data. In addition, you can not believe too much about a scientific essay, especially when the paper is only a single study rather than a meta-analysis. Science has been in constant change: think about how much of our understanding of bees has changed from 2006 to the present, how many hypotheses have been verified, challenged, and then abandoned with the emergence of new evidence. Even the ones I write now may change one day (though it is still widely accepted). The story of the bee is not over yet, but I bet this story will not have any exciting ending, or what climax, but will be intricate, full of intertwined roles; the end of the story may not be too compelling , But should be more satisfying. (Any day)

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