Honeybee loss last summer sets record

HoneybeeLossTwo of five American honeybee colonies died last year, the second-highest rate loss in the 9 years since colony collapse disorder (CCD) was identified in 2006.

The study, conducted by a bee partnership of beekeepers and the USDA, included a survey of 6,100 beekeepers. Their findings revealed another shocker—the deaths SPIKED in the summer, when bees are usually healthiest.

The hardest-hit states were Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Maine, which all lost over 60 percent of their bees.

The state with the least bee loss was Oregon, at 25.2 percent.

“What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” the study’s co-author Keith Delaplane, told the Washington Post. One-third of the food we eat depends on honeybees.

In 2011, bees pollinated $15 billion worth of crops.

The die-off likely has multiple causes, researchers say—a combination of the deadly parasite called the varroa mite, poor nutrition, pesticides, the extreme weather.

And millions of acres of land once filled with wildflowers have been plowed and planted with corn and soybeans, reducing the bees’ pollen supply and causing many to starve.

What the mainstream reports DIDN’T mention is that nearly all U.S. corn and soybeans are genetically engineered and  treated with neonicotinoid and glyphosate pesticides. Pesticide-coated seeds stay in the plant and usually frequent sprayings take place during growth, including just before crops are harvested.

In another pre-GMO era, and in some places still, bees visit hundreds, if not thousands of plants a day, preserving biodiversity.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) warns that neonicotinoid-based pesticides have been implicated repeatedly in the alarming, continuing deaths of bees and other pollinators around the world.

But bees probably won’t become extinct, the researchers said, because beekeepers respond to die-offs by splitting their surviving colonies and starting new ones. But these smaller and weaker colonies produce less honey and push bees to their limits.

Just a few of the one-third of plants or plant products people consume that depend on bees, are nuts, cotton, coffee and many varieties of produce.

PAN said the world badly needs a new and beneficial model of farming—before it’s too late.

 

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