Feeds

Taiwan mislays millions of honeybees

'Volatile weather' to blame for mysterious disappearance?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Taiwan's beekeepers are reporting the mass disappearance of millions of honeybees, Reuters reports.

According to the country's TVBS television station, around 10 million bees have gone awol in the last two months, with farmers in three regions reporting heavy losses. One beekeeper on the northeast coast told the United Daily News that six million insects had vanished "for no reason", while another in the south said "80 of his 200 bee boxes had been emptied".

While the exact reason for the exodus is unknown, experts say "volatile weather" may be to blame. The temperature recently swung from 20°C to 30°C over a few days, and this may have done for the bees. Yang Ping-shih, entomology professor at the National Taiwan University, said: "You can see climate change really clearly these days in Taiwan."

The impact of the bees' absence has yet to be felt, although it could have a serious effect on pollination. Taiwan's Council of Agriculture "may collect data to study the causes of the vanishing bees and gauge possible impacts", according to pesticides section chief Kao Ching-wen. He said: "We want to see what the reason is, and we definitely need some evidence. It's hard to say whether there will be an impact."

The Taiwanese mystery is possibly the latest manifestation of "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD), which has recently hit Europe and the US hard. In the US, CCD manifests itself as older bees die, "leaving behind the queen and young workers not yet ready to forage for pollen and nectar and insufficient in number to maintain the colony".

Experts have no real idea what causes CCD. Alleged causes range from harmful pesticides and increased solar radiation through ozone thinning, to falling queen fertility and use of unauthorised bee treatments. German researchers recently suggested mobile phone radiation may interfere with bees' "navigation systems", resulting in an inability to find their way back to the hive. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.