The Record published my article on the problems facing honey bees on Saturday, and by Saturday night I had several e-mails -- including one from a farmer in Australia. Just goes to show the reach of the Internet.
Also had a couple of e-mails from this region (North Jersey) as well.
It seems everyone has a theory on what is causing honey-bee colonies to collapse in such great number.
The organic farmer in Autralia e-mailed me to say he thinks the causes are the new types of pesticides as well as genetically modified crops.
So does another reader. (I hope to look into this more -- as long as I can keep a local angle for The Record.)
A third worried about contrails from jet planes.
A fourth brought up cell phones -- though a bee expert in my article dismissed the cell-phone theory, which holds that the radiation from cell phones interrupts the bees' homing abilities and they can't get back to the hives.
I quoted the expert as calling the study, by German university researchers, "bad science," but lacked the room to explain.
So here goes: The expert said that cell phones have been popular way to long to suddenly cause colony collapse disorder now, and what's more, the study had been based on fruit flies.
Most bee keepers I talked to dismissed the cell-phone theory as well -- though one knowledgeable beekeeper said he wanted to keep an open mind on that one.
I know this much: Honey bees are being threatened for all sorts of reasons, and to keep those bees is becoming more and more a challenge -- even though they are vital to our agriculture...
The Australian organic farmer (who is originally from the states) calls the issue from colony collapse disorder "very important, and probably more immediate than the effects of climate change."