“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more men.”
This famous quote from Albert Einstein came up over and over again during our search for a research topic. Even if it is just one of Einstein’s many hypotheses, these two sentences began to take on a completely new meaning when considered more closely.
A crucial point to consider when dealing with this topic is the disease Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is developing into a downright catastrophe right now in North America and which has already crossed over the threshold into Europe.
The consequences of CCD are devastating!
Already in 2006, the U.S. reported massive declines of bee colonies. What we know today: On the American West Coast, there has been a 60% collapse of the bee population and in Texas, about 70%. All in all, it is assumed that about 80% of the bee population in North America has fallen victim to CCD.
Amazing, when one considers that the economic worth of pollination by bees in the U.S. alone is estimated at 14.6 billion dollars! The economic worth worldwide is valued at around 200 billion euros, with 80% of that coming from domesticated bees alone.
Bees are responsible for the pollination of over 90 crops. They are also responsible for the pollination of many wild plants, whose existence is essential to the survival of many types of animals.
On this scale, making honey is just a nice little sweet “side job” for bees.
The losses are felt not only by beekeepers and farmers, but also in politics, in the infrastructure, and by every single American citizen—and, perhaps soon, by us.
Due to globalization, it is only a matter of time until local colonies are affected as well since bee populations are handled on a worldwide scale in order to breed new and more effective colonies.
What many have feared has now come to fruition. The first cases of “Israeli Acute Bee Paralysis Virus” (IAPV) have cropped up in Spain, Germany and in many other European countries. That means that IAPV and CCD, the latter more than likely resulting from IAPV, may find their way to Austria!
On September 7, 2007, the news magazine “Standard” reported: “At this time, we do not have any problems with CCD in Austria,” explained Rudolf Moosbeckhofer from the Institute for Apiology.” In addition, the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus is completely unheard of in Austria. “As soon as evidence is presented,” assured Moosbeckhofer, “then we will deal with the problem.”
us or the bees?
And that is where we come in. In our school’s own lab, we worked on a new test which could also be used for future research and testing measures. On the following pages of our report, we will inform you about the methods of examination which serve to prove the existence of IAPV and which is a first in Austria. We will also provide you an inside look at the progression of the project from the sample procedure to the final results.
For the conclusion of this text, a quote from the French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885): “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come! ”