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[经济学人] [2010.03.04] Vitamin Bee 人需维他命,树要采花蜂

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发表于 2010-4-29 00:47 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Almond pollination in California
加州杏仁树的授粉难题

Vitamin Bee
人需维他命,树要采花蜂

A new attempt to save the most vital workers in the orchards
拯救果园里最重要工作者的新尝试


Mar 4th 2010 | LOS ANGELES | From The Economist print edition


被曲奇饼喂肥的蜜蜂

AT THIS time of year Gordon Wardell loves to stand amid the almond blossoms in California’s San Joaquin valley, listening to the “low-pitch, warm, happy hum” of millions of bees. But the bees are not as happy as they sound, which is why Mr Wardell, who has a PhD in entomology and is a de facto bee doctor, is here.

      每年这个时候,戈登•沃代尔都喜欢站在加利福尼亚圣华金山谷里杏仁树盛开的花丛中,聆听数百万只蜜蜂“低沉、温暖、愉快的哼鸣”。然而蜂群并不像听上去那么快乐,这也是沃代尔先生——这位昆虫学博士和货真价实的蜜蜂大夫——来到此地的原因。

More than 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in California and, to pollinate them, the 7,000 or so growers hire about 1.4m of America’s 2.3m commercial hives. Thousands of trucks deliver the hives in February—from Maine, Florida, the Carolinas and elsewhere—and will soon pick them up again. The bees’ job is to flit from one blossom to the next, gorging themselves and in the process spreading the trees’ sexual dust.

      世界80%以上的杏仁树都生长在加利福尼亚,为了给它们授粉,大约7000个种植户租用了全美国230万个商用蜂房中的140万个蜂房。二月份,几千辆卡车从缅因州、佛罗里达州、卡罗莱那州和其他各地开始运送这些蜂房,每到一处又很快装车起程。蜜蜂们的工作就是在一朵朵花上飞过,饱餐一顿的过程中也传播了果树的花粉。

Since 2006, however, bees have been suffering from “colony collapse disorder” (CCD), a mysterious affliction that has drastically reduced their numbers. As a result, says Joe MacIlvaine, the president of Paramount Farming and the largest almond-grower in the world, the rental cost of a hive has tripled in the past five years to about $150. Bee rental now accounts for 15% of Paramount’s costs.

      然而从2006年起,蜜蜂们一直遭到“蜂群衰竭失调症”(简称CCD)的折磨,这种神秘的怪病使得蜜蜂的数量急剧减少。派拉蒙农场总裁、世界最大规模的杏仁种植户——乔伊•麦克伊尔万说,由于这一原因,过去五年内一个蜂房的租金翻了三倍,达到150美元左右。现在租用蜜蜂的费用占到派拉蒙农场总成本的15%。

So Paramount has hired Mr Wardell, who has been studying bees for 30 years and CCD since it broke out. Its cause may be mobile-telephony radiation, viruses, fungi, mites and pesticides—or none of the above. In the absence of a clear explanation, Mr Wardell is concentrating on something different: nutrition.

      因此派拉蒙农场雇佣了沃代尔先生,他30年来一直和蜜蜂打交道,而且从“蜂群衰竭失调症”爆发以来就在研究此病。这种病的原因可能是移动电话辐射、病毒、霉菌、螨虫或者农药——也可能不是上述的任何一种。在缺少明确解释的情况下,沃代尔先生将注意力集中在另一原因上:营养问题。

A healthy worker bee spends about four weeks in its hive, feeding on protein-rich pollen and nursing larvae, and then another two weeks in the field eating sugary honey until its proteins are depleted and it dies. For some reason bees are getting too little protein in the hive, thus dying after only about four weeks, almost as soon as they venture outside. So Mr Wardell is force-feeding them protein. He owns a patent for MegaBee, which he says “looks like cookie dough”. He puts a bit of this into the hives, blocking the bees’ entrance so that they have to chomp their way through it. As part of his new job, Mr Wardell is working with beekeepers across the country to supplement bee diets everywhere.

      一只健康的工蜂要在蜂房里度过四周的时间,一边以富含蛋白质的花粉为食,一边养育蜜蜂幼虫;然后再在野外生活两周,采食含糖的蜂蜜,直到体内的蛋白质耗尽,然后死亡。由于某种原因,蜜蜂在蜂房里获得的蛋白质太少,所以仅仅四周后就死去了,几乎就是它们刚刚外出探险的时候。因此沃代尔先生正在给这些蜜蜂强制喂食蛋白质。他拥有一项饲养超大蜜蜂的专利,他称之为“看上去像曲奇饼的东西”。他在蜂房里放了一点儿,堵住蜜蜂的入口处,这样蜜蜂就不得不吃出一条通路。作为新工作的一部分,沃代尔先生正在和全美国的养蜂人合作,为各地的蜜蜂补充营养。

So far he has noticed that hives are smaller this year and some colonies still collapsing. But he has hopes that his cookies will work, bringing more of a buzz next year.

      到目前为止,沃代尔先生已经注意到今年的蜂群偏小,而且有些蜂群依旧在衰竭崩溃中。他希望他的曲奇饼能够发挥作用,给明年带来更多嗡嗡的哼鸣声。
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发表于 2010-4-29 01:27 | 显示全部楼层
翻译得不错
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发表于 2010-4-29 02:07 | 显示全部楼层
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Vitamin Bee
人需维他命,树要采花蜂
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标题翻得有意思。
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