Monday, March 17, 2014

Did you know ... bees feed us

by Alison Jones

Bees pollinate many crops that we enjoy eating! According to 10 crops that would disappear without bees, "more than $15 billion worth of crops are pollinated by bees each year just in the United States alone. Put another way, one of every three bites of food Americans consume comes from a plant visited by bees or other pollinators." Among crops that would disappear if bees did not exist -- apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocados, cucumbers, onions, grapefruits, oranges, and pumpkins, to name a few.

Did you know that bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate? According to the United States Department of Agriculture,
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a serious problem threatening the health of honey bees and the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States. The main symptom of CCD is very low or no adult honey bees present in the hive but with a live queen and no dead honey bee bodies present. Often there is still honey in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are present.
CCD is not fully understood, and a single cause has not yet been identified. It may be a virus, bacteria, fungi, parasites, or stress, or some combination of these factors.

Photo courtesy of Phil Dalto.

3 comments:

  1. I've wondered if GMO's have impacted the bee population? One thing we can count on... that angle will never be researched!

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  2. According to this article: http://www.youris.com/Environment/Bees/Bees_restored_to_health_in_Italy_after_this_springs_neonicotinoidfree_maize_sowing.kl
    it actually IS the GMO corn...

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  3. According to that article, it was a neonicotinoid insecticide that was causing the problem. Seeds soaked in insecticide are not the same thing as genetically-modified seeds. Neonicitinoids are a fairly new type of insecticide, which are extremely dangerous from the perspective of human health and the environment, so no surprise that they would also cause a problem with bees.

    The problem with CCD, however, is that there are many similar stories where X was changed, and the CCD problem disappeared, which is why it has not been linked to a single cause. There are probably a variety of causes or some perfectly lethal combination that hasn't been discovered yet. GMOs are probably a part of the problem.

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