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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Again on bees.

I've already written about disappearing honeybees, and possible causes for the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), prompted by articles in the NYTimes.

Now, there's a new one, where expert entomologists suggest that the whole thing may have been a little bit over-hyped.

  • What some scientists say is missing from the debate is historical context. “Every time there are these disappearances, the ills of the moment tend to be held accountable,” said May Berenbaum, who heads the entomology department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and led a National Academy of Sciences review of the status of North American bees and other pollinators that was published last year.

    “In the ’60s it was synthetic organic insecticides,” Dr. Berenbaum said. “In the ’70s it was Africanized bee genes. In the 19th century, there is a wonderful report about this resulting from a lack of moral fiber. Weak character was why they weren’t returning to the hives.”

The last bit is hilarious, yet it explain very well how scientist are normal people, and tend to involuntarily project their own prejudices upon the subject of study. Although I am still amused at the idea that someone may attribute moral fibre (or lack thereof) to bees or caterpillars.

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