Buzz, buzz, buzz
There is a genuine problem with 'commercial' bees in several countries. Large numbers of hives are dying off, which means that large numbers of crops will not be pollinated this year.
The blogworld is also buzzing with theories.
Sorting it out:
Many are saying that the huge pileup of electromagnetic waves generated by cell-phones is confusing the bees. This is plausible, because bees do use a magnetic sensor as part of their direction-finding mechanism. Pigeons, which also have internal compasses, are known to get confused when flying past a powerful radio transmitter, or when kept near magnetic emitters like a car's fuel injectors.
Unfortunately, the known locations of the bee problem don't jibe with this theory. America, Brazil, and Europe seem to have the most dead hives. Brazil is not high-tech, so cellphones are unlikely to be the source there; Japan and Korea, which are far more 'celled up' than America, don't have the problem.
Another plausible theory is genetically-modified crops. Since the main purpose of GM is to accentuate a plant's natural pesticides to kill unwanted insects, it wouldn't be surprising if bees were also killed as a side effect.
But wild bees don't seem to be suffering, which knocks down both the cell-phone and the GM crop theories. It also tosses out artificial pesticides and (of course) global warming. Those phenomena would affect every bee, wild or domestic.
As it happens, the bees around here are swarming for the first time today, and these aren't any wimpy little half-dead bees. These are aggressive
bees. These are some nappy-ass B's, to paraphrase a distinguished modern commentator. Seriously, they are more aggressive than in previous years. In running my afternoon errands, I've been struck on the face three times by bees. Luckily not stung. Is this an important observation? Maybe. It's certainly a true observation, so I emphasize it here.
One blogger has come up with a distinctly interesting theory that does fit the known pattern, though the mechanism isn't proved. Apparently one company that supplies commercial bee food (bee feed? bee chow?) uses the same source of Chinese wheat gluten as the poisoned dog food. This would certainly explain why only commercial hives are dying, and would also explain why the problem seems to happen country-wide but only in certain countries.
This theory could be tested quickly by examining which countries buy Chinese products instead of making their own, versus the countries that are intelligent enough to keep Chinese shit from invading their borders.
If the bees are dying only in the dumb countries, you've got proof.
In fact, I'd take it one step farther: if this connection is true, the bees, not the dogs, were China's intended killoff. Eliminating bees eliminates much of a country's agriculture; poisoning some dogs is terrible but not an economic disaster. And China is the world's most effective user of Mercantilism, commerce as a weapon of war.
Needless to say, if the United States had a national government, such a government would contain a Department of Agriculture capable of figuring out what's wrong and applying economic or military measures against the enemy. Since we are in effect a colony of China already, we aren't going to offend the Master.
The sting will continue until enough people get sufficiently pissed off to stage a Boston Bee Party, tossing crates of toxic Chinese crap off the dock.