Manataka American Indian Council









Organic Bees Are Thriving
While commercial bee populations are plummeting



While bee populations in commercialized hives are declining by rates up to 80%, organic honey bees are thriving!
Friday, May 11, 2007


 (EXCERPT) Over the past few weeks we have highlighted reports that suggest bee populations are declining at rates of up to 80% in areas of the U.S. and Europe. Experts are calling the worrying trend "colony collapse disorder" or CCD.


While no one can pin point the exact reason as to why bees are declining so rapidly it is interesting to note that no organic bee keepers are reporting losses.


A recent report at sci-tech website cites a statement from longtime environmental activist and part-time organic beekeeper Sharon Labchuk from Prince Edward Island who states:

I'm on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list. The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies.

Labchuk ... is adamant that it is the rigors of the commercial agricultural industry that are wiping out bee populations.


Scientists are thus far stumped as to what is causing the decline, ruling out parasites but leaning towards some kind of new toxin or chemical used in agriculture as being responsible. "Experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor," reports Germany's Spiegal Online.


"We've been pushing them too hard", Dr. Peter Kevan, an associate professor of environmental biology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, told the CBC. "And we're starving them out by feeding them artificially and moving them great distances." Given the stress commercial bees are under, Kevan suggests CCD might be caused by a combination of parasitic mites, pesticides and genetically modified crops.


(To read entire article, go to:



This is an excellent resource for scientific information regarding CCD: "The Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAAREC), established in 1997, is a regional group focused on addressing the pest management crisis facing the beekeeping industry in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. A task force has been established with representation from the departments of agriculture, state beekeeping organizations, and land-grant universities from each of the following states: New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


MAAREC has been researching alternatives to chemical controls and promotion of less reliance on chemical pesticides for mite control. MAAREC's Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group appears to be the de facto lead team investigating Colony Collapse Disorder."


(from Wikipedia:


read MAAREC's reports:

I recommend this excellent article, discussing various causes of the decline in commercial bee colonies. The article summarizes the findings of the scientific community as to the probable causes for CCD:


Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a poorly understood phenomenon involving the massive die-off of a beehive or bee colony. CCD is alternatively referenced as Vanishing Bee Syndrome (VBS). The cause (or causes) of the syndrome is not yet well understood and even the existence of this disorder remains disputed. Theories include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition, unknown pathogens (i.e., disease), mites, pesticides such as neonicotinoids, emissions from cellular phones or other manmade devices, and genetically modified (GM) crops. That the disappearances have only been reported from a subset of the commercial beekeepers in affected areas (i.e., not feral colonies or "organic" beekeepers), suggests to some that beekeeping practices are a primary factor.


read more:


Related Blogs:

Shamanic Way of Bees    
  Just finished this fascinating book--The Shamanic Way of the Bee: Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices of the Bee Masters by Simon Buxton.


Honey Bee Decline    
  California Senator Barbara Boxer writes about the decline in the honey bee population, and what it means for agriculture


Source:  Friday, May 11, 2007

Submitted by Lauren Zack, Manataka Correspondent