Environment

Water supplement for bees is claimed to prevent Colony Collapse Disorder

BeesVita is claimed to arrest Colony Collapse Disorder
BeesVita is claimed to arrest Colony Collapse Disorder
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BeesVita is claimed to arrest Colony Collapse Disorder
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BeesVita is claimed to arrest Colony Collapse Disorder

Around the world, honey bees have been vanishing at an alarming rate. Since bees not only provide honey, but are also vital for pollinating crops, this is not only distressing, it also puts agriculture at risk. The reasons for this decline are still unknown, but a Florida-based company claims to have found a solution in the form of a concentrated organic feed supplement. BeesVita is purported to not only protect bee colonies in danger of collapsing, but actually causes them to grow and thrive.

The mysterious, wholesale vanishing of bee colonies leaving behind deserted hives is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). It affects the common European honey bee (but not the Mason bee) and was named in 2006, though reports of CCD go back to at least 1900. Its main symptom is striking - the sudden, uncharacteristic disappearance of bees from the colony as if the population is collapsing. Colonies can lose as many as 50 percent of its worker bees at one time, often leaving behind only young workers or even a lone queen bee or, eventually, no bees at all. Though the main concern has been about the fate of domestic bees, feral colonies are hit hardest.

CCD costs billions of dollars worldwide because of its impact on honey harvesting and on the role of the domestic bee in pollinating crops and wild plants. The cause remains unknown, though there are many theories about why CCD occurs. Possible causes include things like mites and other parasites, viruses, fungi, immune deficiencies, climate change, malnutrition, pesticides, migratory beekeeping and even speculation that the culprit is mobile phones or genetically modified (GM) crops.

BeesFree’s BeesVita is a honey bee feeding formulation that claims to arrest CCD. According to the company’s press release, "BeesVita Plus is a concentrated solution that is introduced to the honeybees' water supplies," says David Todhunter, BeesFree's chief executive officer. "Studies show when honeybees drink BeesVita Plus they become healthier, stronger and more resistant to various illnesses and CCD."

Del Vecchio is described as “an internationally-recognized biochemist specializing in DNA sequencing techniques used in genetic therapy and molecular biology.” with a PhD from Cambridge. She says that tests of the product in Tuscany, Italy saw treated colonies enjoy a 50 percent increase in population while control colonies lost 40 percent.

Details of exactly what is in BeesVita or how exactly it works are unclear. It appears to be an “animal food product” that contains “known components.” BeesFree says that it is going to commission university studies of BeesVita in the United States, though it says they do not require USFDA approval because the ingredients are recognized as safe.

BeesFree's chief scientist and BeesVita Plus inventor Dr. Francesca del Vecchio claims,"BeesVita Plus is composed of scientifically-engineered, natural components proven to contrast (sic) neonicotinoids' side effects on honeybees," says "The solution also contains antimicrobial agents and compounds to fight viruses and its interaction with Nosema parasite. Plus, it has powerful nutrients and antioxidants."

With a retail price of US$70 per liter, BeesVita will be marketed in the U.S. autumn of 2012 and the company is also pursuing sales in Argentina, Italy, Slovakia and South Africa. BeesFree also sells an electrically-powered dispenser for the concentrate.

The claims made by BeesFree are sweeping and the company says that it not only has the research to back them up, it pledges to replace any bees lost to CCD if the product is used properly. However, since the cause and much else about CCD remains unknown, this may be an instance where wait and see is the best policy.

Source: BeesFree

8 comments
robinyatesuk2003
interesting article.Time will tell if this product works
MD
The title could more accurately say "Nutritional Supplement prevents (bee) colony collapse". Calling it a "Water supplement" leads the reader to immediately think that they are somehow replacing water with some other ingredient.... (I didn't read the article initially because the heading seemed a little crazy.... then I read it after I had finished all the other articles.) Does it work, or not, will it price itself out of the market?? who knows.
Bill C Beekeeper
More chemicals?? Its no wonder our environment and our bees are not in good order. Every time we turn around our global society is looking for an easy way out of things. Treating bees with chemicals and antibiotics is what is killing our bees and breeding colonies of bees that cant tolerate natural predators that are living with bees. Now we are to assume that feeding more chemicals to bees in water will somehow miraculously make bees become healthier than bees that are not exposed to constant chemical and antibiotic treatments??? NONSENSE!!!! Stop using man made chemicals and watch the bees adapt and thrive!!!
MikeM
The odds of this working are very low. It has all the hallmarks of pseudo-scientific hand-waving: the vaguely stated "Studies show ..." rather than pointing to actual peer-reviewed studies and the use of sciencey-sounding jargon - I mean, what the heck are "scientifically-engineered, natural components" anyway? Were they engineered or do they occur in nature? Bill C, you have fallen for the naturalistic fallacy, the idea that anything man-made is automatically toxic and that anything that occurs in nature is automatically good and harmless. In fact a substance's origin has absolutely nothing to say about it's effectiveness or toxicity. As some wit once said, "Dog feces are natural, but I don't see anyone eating those".
nutcase
Bees are particularly susceptible to poisons and disease because they are frequently in contact with each other. The local farmer around here sprays so much insecticide on his paddocks it's a wonder the are any bees at all! How is this going to help them??
Slowburn
China that has an entire region without bees still exports bee care products. It seems to me that using such products are a bad idea.
James Capella
BEE VITAMINS!
alfred knows
Let's give the Doctor "the benefit of the doubt" before throwing her under the bus. I hope she win's a MEDAL, for saving our food supply.
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