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The beekeeping industry in the U.S has been facing a number of obstacles to health bee management in the past few years. These obstacles range from pathogenic diseases to arthropod pests. Current anew problem has threatened the beekeeping industry and it might elapse altogether the bee maladies of old. This obstacle has been termed the colony collapse disorder which has gained considerable national and international attention. Around the United State, beekeepers have reported higher than usual loose of colonies since the fall of 2006. This many looses translates into hundreds of dead bees. In such a country where honey bees contributes billions of dollars in added income to the industry of Agriculture, these kinds of bee looses can't be lightly taken. This paper argues out the negative effects of farmers feeding the pollinators high fructose corn syrup in place of raw honey.
Among the theories that have been presented to explain the causes of this Colony Collapse Disorder, are the effects of shifting springs blooms and nectar flow that is associated with broader global climate change and temperature changes. The influence of feed supplements that are usually produced from genetically modified crops or transgenic; for instance, the high fructose corn syrup has not been also ruled out. The contribution of factors has not substantially been examined by key researchers of this issue, (Arenofsky, PP, 12).
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The issue of high fructose corn syrup is a very hot topic in the national and international debates. The opponents have seen it to be unhealthy unnatural and unappetizing, while the proponents argue that it is safe, tasty and natural, (Cane, A6). In the current times, the additive has been implicated in the colony collapse disorder. It has been reported that over winter periods, beekeepers feed their hives when the bees are not working on crop pollination. Because of its low costs, beekeepers have turned to processed food manufactures; have moved away from supporting the bees and the grubs with natural honey to high fructose corn syrup, (Arenofsky, PP, 15).
The practice of feeding high fructose corn syrup to supplement winter stores has been the syndrome that is attributed to the collapse colony disorder by some researchers. The high fructose corn syrup variability might be significant to the apparent result inconsistence. Researchers have suggested a possible connection with the high fructose corn syrup that is usually manufactured from genetically modified corn, (Arenofsky, PP, 12). If these were the only issues caught up, it should also result to the exclusive appearance of the colony collapse disorder in wintering colonies that are fed with HFCS. On the other hand, several reports occur in other contexts with bee farmers who usually do not use high fructose corn syrup in feeding their bees. It has been identified that the by-product hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is a potential guilty party in the colony collapse disorder. According to the research done by LeBlanc, a former research chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Tucson and currently an instructor at nearby Pima Community College, it was found that under different temperatures, from 890F to 1560F high fructose corn syrup degrades enough in bees to cause dysentery and ulceration. When the temperatures are above 1200F, the HMF levels doubles and bee deaths under the temperature multiplies dramatically as seen in colony collapse disorder. The syndrome seems to be a serious threat. Almost 28.6% of the total managed United State's honey bee colonies. According to the survey from fall 2008 to the spring 2009, it was observed that more losses that were severe than in the two winters before, (Arenofsky, PP, 15).
It has been also researched and found that high fructose corn syrup, causes DNA damages or alterations. Through many researches that has been done, researchers have brought out that bees that are usually fed on high fructose corn syrup do not appear to have similar genes as those bees that feed on raw honey. This issue of gene alteration happens to have adverse effects on the affected bees. The HFCS fed bees, experience low immune system. As a result, they do not turn on immune genes; meaning that they do have less ability to deal; with infections that might occur, (Ratnieks and Carreck, 152). They are also not able to turn to the enzymes that are usually required in the process of breaking down the pesticides. As a result, they have more chances of being harmed or killed by any pesticide that attacks the bees. As an effect, they would normally have limited or even a times no effect on pesticides and disease. This is based on the fact that, this mutations causes unmitigated exposure to the diseases or pests necessary for the promotion of natural selection for the diseases and pests resistance, does not happen. In researching further, it has been discovered that the bee bread or the food that is usually provided to the baby bees is never similar, and this might affect the development of the bee, (Cane, A6). In general due to the weak immune system, colony collapse disorder might occur in the hive or region.
It has also been noted that this disorder might involve an immunosuppressive mechanism. The magnitude of infectious agents in adult bees showed an immunosuppressant, (Rowan, 89). There has been a link between mite infestation and CCD, by suggesting that a combination of this bee mite, bacteria and deformed wing virus work together in suppressing immunity, and might lead to CCD. When a colony dies of whichever reason, and there exist healthier colonies in the vicinity, these healthy colonies usually enter the dying colony and take its provisions for their own use. If these provisions were contaminated by natural or man-made toxins, the resulting pattern of healthier colonies becoming sick may suggest that a contagious disease is involved, (Arenofsky, PP, 4). Nevertheless, it is typical in CCD cases that the provisions of the dying colonies are not robed. This suggests that at least this mechanism of toxins spreading through robbing hence mimicking diseases is not involved. Another evidence that CCD is an infectious disease is shown; when hives of died colonies from CCD could be reused by healthy colony if and only if they are first treated with DNA-destroying radiations. It has been reported that CCD-exhibiting hives, usually occur in proximity to one another within apiaries, (Cane, A6).
Though in trying to solve this problem, the suggested method of minimizing the problem of high fructose corn syrup, is the addition of basses to HFCS, for instance Sodium bicarbonate, or in other terms, baking soda, lime water, potash or caustic soda; this neutralization raises the PH and the most important thing is dropping the HFCS levels, (Refkin, A8). However the problem is that beekeepers do not apply this kind of strategy. Though the blame does not go the bee farmers, but to the poor networking, communication system that is weak, factors that tend to be regional, and the lack of education regard for the non-peer-reviewed American Bee Journal, as well as the financial shortages for carrying out exploratory research. A lot of things could be cleared out at professional meetings, for scientists to complete surveys regarding environmental issues like invasive and native plants, diet and temperatures.
In spite of all these kinds of obstacles, the wisdom that is prevailing to strengthen the immune system of the honey bees by going organic as much as all the beekeepers can. This can be expressed by the use of raw honey. There had been backed up reports that explain that; most if not all colonies that were organic, meaning that, were fed on raw honey, were not experiencing colony collapse disorder, (Cane, A6).
It has been noted by the researchers that, there exist extraordinary stress that usually affect the colonies in question prior to their die-of, most of the experience poor nutrition and or sometimes drought. This factor is the only one that all the cases of colony collapse disorder have in common. There exist some possibilities that can be termed as significant that the event is correlated to nutritional stresses and might not manifest in health or well nourished colonies, (Ratnieks and Carreck, 153). This concurs with the findings in which small scale operations of bee keeping that in many states believed that weak or/and malnutrition colonies was the factor that lead to the dying of the bees, whether the cases were due to colony collapse disorder or not, (Refkin, A8).
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Other studies have stated that the colony collapse disorder is mainly a problem of a monoculture diet bee feeding as opposed to provision of food from a variety of sources or plants. During winter, the bees are provided with a single food source, for instance corn syrup, either high fructose or others, sugar and pollen substitute, (Rowan, 89). During summer periods, the bees may only pollinate a single crop, for example, almonds, apples or cherries. Some studies have found that, the bees that were provided with pollen from a variety of plant species depicted signs of healthier immune than those that were eating on pollen from a single plant species, (Ratnieks and Carreck, 153). So, basing on this analysis, colony collapse disorder may be attributed to the loss of plant diversity.
Similarly, other studies have proposed untested hypothesis that honey bee dietary lucking pyrethrum and other micronutrients from pyrethrum producing plants pave way for parasitic mites to kill honey bees directly or reduce the resistance of honey bee to other disease causing pathogens, (Arenofsky, PP, 4). The honey bees intermittent feeding on pyrethrum producing plants may reverse or prevent colony collapse disorder. However, this does not take into account the colony collapse disorder that occurred in the absence of mite infections. This factor offer the possibility that bees are always suffering from being forced to specialize in pollinating huge numbers of similar plant in place of being left generalists, which is pollinating many different plants in a sequence of one after the other. If this happens to be the truth, then the very factor that leads to the use of this particular honey bee is what has lead to the problem of colony collapse disorder, (Refkin, A8).
In conclusion, over the period beekeepers feed their hives as the bees are not working on pollination by that time. Due to the less expenses involved in the use of HFCS feeds, the farmers have moved away from raw honey. It has been shown that these HFCS feeds does not activate some genes as bees feed honey, hence do not turn on their immune genes and enzymes that are essential in breaking down pesticides hence not resistant enough to withstand natural selection policy. In addition, the bee bread, the feeds that are given to the baby bees is not usually the same, and this might affect the development of a bee. The next possibility of colony collapse disorder is that bees suffer from being forced to specialize in pollinating single plant species, in place of being left to generalists as they pollinate many plant species one after the other. If this is true, then the very factor that leads to the use of this particular honey bee is what has caused the problem of CCD. Though it has been shown that, there is no single factor that that is involved in the colony collapse disorder, but among the very many factors, it is interesting that a lot of research has pointed out that, the problems within the commercial agriculture especially the use of high fructose corn syrup, is the major factor that has led to the bee problem of colony collapse.