Bees Have Had a Guts Full

Sick Bee
Varroa Destructor Mite on the European (or Western) Honey Bee - Apis Mellifera

Not only do our kiwi honey bees have to deal with this blimmin’ parasite they are now also dealing with real gut wrenching poisoning.

In our apiary we have had a hive fail through Winter which was a strong colony. They had plenty of honey stores. They had a healthy laying Queen. They had a strong and busy workforce.

BUT then we started to see dysentery (runny orangey looking bee poo) on the front of the Beehive entrance, then the bees became very lethargic. The colony started to decline and dysentary was increasing.

As we have never experienced this before in our beekeeping journey of over 10 years, it was of real concern…So… I went to work on researching what might have caused the dysentery.

I came across these interesting articles with photos showing what I saw looking similar to our Beehive.

Commonly it is thought that Honey Bees can be infected with nosema spores which affects their gut.  Honey Bees can be infected through contaminated water sources then take it back to the hive. The dysentery Poo or their bee-excrement (with the spores in it), falls on to the hive entrance and as it is ‘dirty’ the poo will be cleaned up by the cleaner bees and then they become infected and so it goes on.

Other sources for contamination were shared as from an aphid which collects honey dew off the common willow tree, the honey dew would then be excreted by the aphid ?(the honey dew contained mould) the aphid would then excrete the sweet dew and if circumstances were right the honey bee would feed off the excretion – this is very similar to what happens with the right circumstances with the TUTU bush or Tutin poisoning scenario. Poisoning of human occurred in the Coramandel area a few years back. It appears that its not the actual honey dew which is the problem, its the chemicals used to kill the aphid which may be contributory.

This is quite disturbing because we have never experienced that in any of our colonies.

I perchance, came upon an article which looked into Nosema Ceranae and fipronil. 

Fipronil, as I understand, is used commonly by backyard wasp hunters in a homemade wasp-bait. Fipronil is used in flea treatments and can be purchased over-the-counter by anyone. 

Here’s a link to the article HERE

Quoted from this article: Those results also point out the potential risks incurred by any living organism frequently exposed to both pesticides and pathogens in their environment, no matter the sequence of exposure to those agents. Such multiple stressors interactions, endangering honeybees and potentially other communities, deserve additional attention. Finally, understanding the complexity of cumulative risks is a prerequisite for the implementation of more efficient guidelines in the frame of future chemicals regulation.

There is also the Vespex wasp bait which uses fipronil as well, this product used more commonly in the fight against the german and/or common wasp or yellow-jacket which is used by DOC and other agencies who use it as a land management method.

In the article linked below they describe it  …”Vespex is a frozen, protein-based bait targeted at wasps that contains the insecticide, fiprinol.

Wikipedia: Quote : Fipronil is a broad-spectrum insecticide that belongs to the phenylpyrazole chemical family. Fipronil disrupts the insect central nervous system by blocking GABA-gated chloride channels and glutamate-gated chloride (GluCl) channels. This causes hyperexcitation of contaminated insects’ nerves and muscles.

Rather alarmingly, there was an incident where fipronil was found in eggs and some egg products produced for human consumption.

The 2017 Fipronil eggs contamination is an incident in Europe and Asia involving the spread of fipronil insecticide which contaminated human consumed chicken eggs and egg products.

Read more HERE

Once I started to research it became apparent that there is a great deal of information out there sharing the effects of this chemical – in fact any synthetic chemical – on our natural world. The wasp baits left out for wasp-eradication may also contribute to poisoning insects that were not the target species, because when left out in the elements they could so easily be washed off or blown off the flimsy traps. 

My conclusion is that the demise of this honey bee colony could be related to the use of fipronil insecticide in our area or perhaps another funigcide,  and that the wasp baits may have been left out and with our constant rain – the baits may well have been washed-out, landing on the ground and contaminating our local area water sources.

Imagine what these chemicals are doing to us humans and our pets !

  • Remember folks that all these fancy-smancy chemicals are showing through scientific research to be NOT healthy to our environment and the organisms and insects that live off the land.

Lets agree, an aphid, flea, varroa or a wasp is a problem in itself – but it appears that sadly …from the research I have discovered is that the use of chemicals used to KILL these blimmin’ PESTS can start to cause more issues that the original pest !

Chemical spray for aphids which uses 5 g/L Myclobutanil, 10 g/L Tau-Fluvalinate in the form of an emulsifiable concentrate can be used to combat against the aphid – which could have caused water contamination – may also have leached into waterways and that may have caused the failure in the gut health of our Honey Bee colony.

  • Myclobutanil

This chemical is used to kill powdery mildew or fungus

….so if you are using products like these – please take a moment to hear this

These chemicals are not your Bees friends !

These chemicals are not your lands friends !

These type of chemicals are designed to kill !

They are designed to kill and do not discern between a bee, a caterpillar, a human, a dog, a cat… or a healthy bacteria in the soil or on a plant.

According to the research …it appears that once the non-target species is exposed, it can harm the gut health of the non-target species – when gut health is undermined, then immunity of the non-target species is compromised and sickness will follow, then most likely death. For the Honey Bee I understand that the neurological pathways can also be damaged so they may not even make it home.

 – best practice ?

Don’t use synthetic chemicals in your land management and pest control – it is killing healthy bacteria, fungi and nutrients along with living organisms in the soil, and insects living in the soil – therefore – the Birds who rely on them as a food source – will be harmed as well.

More importantly – it may not kill immediately but it may have slow debilitating action on the non-target species, thereby undermining normal ability for healthy production or causing a shorter life span. Sadly the research also states that it can harm ANY living organisms…this includes us by cumulative exposure.

We lost a very productive healthy hive and that is very painful and sad that someone out there may have contributed to their death probably unwittingly and ignorantly.

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