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Taiwan stung by Millions of Missing Bees

By Chris V. Thangham     Apr 26, 2007 in Environment
Taiwan's bee farmers find many of their bees not returning back after they leave the bee boxes.
Over the past two months, farmers in three parts of Taiwan have reported most of their bees gone, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported. Taiwan's TVBS television station said about 10 million bees had vanished in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s farmers are suffering because of lack of honey bees to pollinate their produces. One beekeeper in Taiwan said nearly 6 million insects are missing for no apparent reason, and another beekeeper from south of Taiwan said 80 of his 200 bee boxes are empty.
The beekeepers let their bees do the work and usually they return back to their respective owners, but in the past couple of months, many of the bees have not returned.
Experts says the possible reasons for this may be due to disease, pesticide poisoning and hot weather fluctuation varying from 20 degree Celsius (68 degree Fahrenheit) to more than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degree Fahrenheit) in a very short period of time.
Yang Ping-shih, entomology professor at the National Taiwan University said the main reason for the bees disappearance is due to the climate change observed recently in Taiwan and also said some pesticide can make the bee disoriented and lose sense of direction. If bees fail to return it will affect everyone involved the beekeepers, farmers and the end users.
This is just not a local phenomenon, but is a global one, billions of bees have fled hives in the United States since 2006, the affected fruits, nuts and other crops will run to $15 billion dollars if not pollinated on time by the bees. The bees are also disappearing in Europe and Brazil.
Taiwan Government is worried about these missing bees are doing more studies to find the cause of disappearance and find evidence to avoid them in the future.
There may be another reason also, I read in one article that cell phone radiation is making the bees disoriented and the bees are unable to get back to their original starting place.
If the situation persists, we will see rise in the food prices. We rely on bees, there is no other alternative means of pollinating the flowers. I am seeing less bees in my small garden, there used to be plenty. Do you see similar trend of missing bees in your location?
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