Bee decline may be caused by excess manganese

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

An excess of manganese might be the culprit of the high bee-colony losses and the worldwide bee decline of late. This is the conclusion reached by intensive studies and practical experiments among beekeepers by Netherlands-based company Science in Water.

Since winter mortality also occurs in remote areas far away from agricultural activities, and in nature conservational areas with a large quantity of flora, the root of the problem must be a general environmental factor. That factor might be manganese.

Manganese

It is not the manganese itself that causes the decline in bees, but the processes that make manganese available to their systems. An excess of manganese leads to increased reproduction, resulting in too many young bees that cannot be fed sufficiently by the worker bees.

An excess of manganese also stimulates bees to leave the hive. That is precisely what happens in the widely observed phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), one of its characteristics being empty hives.

Varroa

A third issue with manganese is the role it plays in disease. The main problem in beekeeping is the occurrence of the varroa mite. "We asked the question, 'Why does the varroa mite occur?'," says Maarten van Hoorn, leader of the research team and owner of Science in Water.

"It is known that the tick, also a spider, carries the Borrelia bacterium inside it. Borrelia, the cause of Lyme disease, helps the tick during the infection process, using manganese instead of iron.

The manganese is transported to the host, in the case of the bees by the bacteria inside the varroa mite, thus influencing colony behaviour. The bee decline problem is therefore a general microbial issue, brought about by an excess of manganese."

Experiments

Science in Water http://www.science-in-water.com asked beekeepers to supply additional iron to their colonies. Soon after application they reported a higher level of activity amongst their bees.

Furthermore, they noticed a decrease in mites. "Both aspects were completely unexpected, nobody could predict this," explains Maarten van Hoorn. "We are no beekeepers, so we must trust beekeepers' observations; they know their bees."

Iron counteracts the effects of manganese. Work is now focused on applying iron to bee colonies on a much larger scale, and on finding more beekeepers willing to put these findings to the test.


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (1) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

Deb Conway    
Saratoga, CA  |  September, 18, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Is anyone interested in testing samples of wax, propolis or beebread from a hive that has absconded?? There may be clues there.. Deb


Convyers

Meridian’s conveyors deliver seed with unmatched versatility. Meridian’s transport conveyors are manufactured with heavy-duty, fully enclosed construction. Meridian’s cross cleated ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form