Thursday, May 8, 2008

CNN -SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A survey of bee health released Tuesday revealed a grim picture, with 36.1 percent of the nation's commercially managed hives lost since last year.

Bees are dying at unsustainable levels, the president of the Apiary Inspectors of America says.

Last year's survey commissioned by the Apiary Inspectors of America found losses of about 32 percent.

As beekeepers travel with their hives this spring to pollinate crops around the country, it's clear the insects are buckling under the weight of new diseases, pesticide drift and old enemies like the parasitic varroa mite, said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of the group.

This is the second year the association has measured colony deaths across the country. This means there aren't enough numbers to show a trend, but clearly bees are dying at unsustainable levels and the situation is not improving, said vanEngelsdorp, also a bee expert with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

"For two years in a row, we've sustained a substantial loss," he said. "That's an astonishing number. Imagine if one out of every three cows, or one out of every three chickens, were dying. That would raise a lot of alarm."

The survey included 327 operators who account for 19 percent of the country's approximately 2.44 million commercially managed beehives. The data is being prepared for submission to a journal.

About 29 percent of the deaths were due to colony collapse disorder, a mysterious disease that causes adult bees to abandon their hives. Beekeepers who saw CCD in their hives were much more likely to have major losses than those who didn't.

"What's frightening about CCD is that it's not predictable or understood," vanEngelsdorp said.

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff announced that the state would pour an additional $20,400 into research at Pennsylvania State University looking for the causes of CCD. This raises emergency funds dedicated to investigating the disease to $86,000.

The issue also has attracted federal grants and funding from companies that depend on honeybees, including ice-cream maker Haagen-Dazs.

Because the berries, fruits and nuts that give about 28 of Haagen-Dazs' varieties flavor depend on honeybees for pollination, the company is donating up to $250,000 to CCD and sustainable pollination research at Penn State and the University of California, Davis.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Haagen Dazs worried about honey bees - CNN

Disappearing bees threaten ice cream sellers
Premium maker Haagen-Dazs says vanishing bee colonies in the United States could mean fewer flavors and higher prices.
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By Parija B. Kavilanz, senior writer
February 20 2008: 8:25 AM EST

Bees are responsible for 40% of Haagen-Dazs' flavors currently sold in the market.

NEW YORK ( -- Haagen-Dazs is warning that a creature as small as a honeybee could become a big problem for the premium ice cream maker's business.

At issue are the disappearing bee colonies in the United States, a situation that continues to mystify scientists and frighten foodmakers.

That's because, according to Haagen-Dazs, one-third of the U.S. food supply - including a variety of fruits, vegetables and even nuts - depends on pollination from bees.

Haagen-Dazs, which is owned by General Mills, said bees are actually responsible for 40% of its 60 flavors - such as strawberry, toasted pecan and banana split.

"These are among consumers' favorite flavors," said Katty Pien, brand director with Haagen-Dazs.

"We use 100% all natural ingredients like strawberries, raspberries and almonds which we get from California. The bee problem could badly hurt supply from the Pacific Northwest," Pien said

Pien said Haagen-Dazs is hoping scientists get a breakthrough in this mystery soon. Otherwise, she said, the company may have to "re-examine the flavors that we currently offers our customers."

"We have to ensure that we have enough supply to maintain our variety," she said.

Additionally, a supply shortage of key ingredients could push up retail prices for its products, she said.

Pien said the company is donating $250,000 to both Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Davis to fund research into the bee colony collapse disorder (CCD).

She said Haagen-Dazs is also rushing to raise consumer awareness about the problem by launching a new flavor this spring called Vanilla Honey Bee.

"We'll use part of the sales from this flavor help the honeybees," she said.

"This is the first time that Haagen-Dazs has adopted a cause like this," said Pien. "We are taking this very, very seriously because it impacts not just our brand but the entire food industry."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Board meeting - honey time.

National Honey Board to Meet in Denver in February
NHB will hold its February board meeting at the Warwick Hotel in Denver, Feb. 21 and 22. Board meetings are open to the public. For meeting information, please call (303) 776-2337.

National Honey Report for December
The Agricultural Marketing Service has issued the December 2007 National Honey Market Report.
NHB Success Story: Applied Science Product Prototypes Become a Reality with Two New Honey Products on the Market!
For the past two years, NHB has worked to increase honey consumption by identifying and formulating promising honey-based products through its Applied Science program. NHB recently experienced sweet success when two product prototypes, solid honey and honey balsamic vinegar, were launched in the marketplace.

Honey Drop™
In January, Island Abbey Foods Ltd. introduced the Honey Drop™, the first 100% pure, solid honey product. The Honey Drop™ is an individual serving of dried honey without any additives or binding agents, making it a neat and convenient sweetener for hot beverages.

An inventor and entrepreneur, Island Abbey’s John Rowe independently conceived the concept of solid honey in the 1990's. Rowe researched a natural, dried honey product and discovered none existed. Believing such a product would be a convenient form of honey with broad consumer appeal, Rowe began developing production methods.

Separately, prompted by growing interest from food manufacturers in dried honey, NHB initiated development of a solid honey concept on behalf of the U.S. honey industry to optimize the utility of the various forms and styles of honey. The board then prospected for food manufacturers willing to move the concept from ideation to the store shelves and connected with Rowe. The rest of the story is honey history!

The Honey Drop™ comes in two flavors, pure honey and pure honey and lemon, and is packed for both retail and foodservice sales. The Honey Drop™ has a shelf life of one year and contains no artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives. For more information, visit