Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Beekeepers fear sting of Australian hives"

"Some worry about a deadly parasite entering U.S. with the insects."

Mr. Ken Haff, described as a vice president of the American Honey Producers Association as well being a beekeeper himself, gives us this sound bite:

"We've got enough problems with our own bee diseases that we don't know how to treat."

Adapted, albeit loosely, from this original source: Mr. Garance Burke, Associated Press, by way of the San Antonio EXPRESS - NEWS. Sunday, January 18
, 2009.

Now, here's the story:

"Domestic honeybees feed on most flowering plants, and are vital pollinators for many crops.

"However; domestic bee stocks have been waning since 2004, when scientists first got reports of the puzzling illness that has claimed up to 90 percent of commercial hives and has been labeled colony collapse disorder.

"That's also the year the USDA allowed imports of Australian hives, and scientists have been investigating whether Australia was a source of a virus tied to the bee die - off.

"Entomologists also fear that the aggressive bee species found near Australia's Great Barrier Reef could carry a deadly mite, said Mr. Jeff Pettis, the USDA's top bee scientist.

"The Australian government has adopted emergency controls to quarantine and destroy the aggressive bees and has never detected that [deadly] mite, according to materials provided by Ms. Chelsey Martin, counselor for public affairs at the Australian Embassy in Washington.

"U.S. agriculture officials say they also are taking precautions.

"Agriculture officials started sampling Australian bees last week after they were released in the Central Valley.

"Government officials said they do not know how many Australian bees have been imported, but [one ] hive importer [with the last name of ] Sullivan estimates that he has sold 110,000 hives since 200


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