Articles

An Urban Legend Gone Viral

Here's a good example of bad reporting and dangerous conclusions:woolcarder

A highly inaccurate news report out of California blaming the European wool carder bee for colony collapse disorder (CCD) is forcing the University of California, Davis to work overtime in an attempt to clear the air.

This report has gone viral:
http://www.science3point0.com/scienceblogs/category/animal-news-animal-planet/

...and according to noted California entomologist Randy Oliver "We will likely be besieged by the public now wanting to know if this bee is the cause of colony collapse!


For the facts, see http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/24881

DAVIS — The European wool carder bee is not the terrorist that some folks think it is.

The pollinator doesn't cause colony collapse disorder (CCD). It's not a newcomer to California. It doesn't have five stingers. And it doesn't target honey bees leaving behind a "blood-soaked battlefield."

Entomologists at the University of California, Davis, are fielding a flurry of phone calls and emails as a result of a Sacramento-based news story gone viral. A Sacramento resident told an area TV station Jan. 24 that he discovered the first-ever European wool carder bee in California on May 23, 2009, and that it targets honey bees: It "cuts off their wings, cuts off
their antenna, cuts off their heads, cuts off their torsi (tarsi) and stabs them to death."

It's a pollinator and it does what pollinators do, say UC Davis entomologists.

"The species *(Anthidium manicatum)* was first collected in Sunnyvale, Calif. in 2007 and it was well established in the Central Valley by 2008," said entomologist Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology<http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/> (home of more than 7 million insect specimens, including wool carder bees) and professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology."

However, the above facts are unlikely to deter some groups from circulating petitions to call for the destruction of this dangerous bee!

 - Randy Oliver