Perhaps you’ve heard murmerings over the past 5-10 years about the plight of the honeybee, whose population has dropped 50% in the past 50 years in the U.S. While many of you are probably thinking, “sweet, fewer irritating bee stings for me”, there is much, much more at stake than your carefree picnic time. Honeybees do much, much more than make honey.
Honeybees pollinate 80% of the flowering plants in the US, and pollination is necessary for plants to produce fruit. A huge percentage of our food supply is dependent on this process, and if the bees disappear so will our food. Here is an excerpt describing just how critical the honeybee truly is to our ability to eat:
“Typically, according to the US Department of Agriculture, these under-appreciated workers pollinate 80% of our flowering crops which constitute 1/3 of everything we eat.Their loss could effect not only dietary staples such as apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries and cucumbers, but may threaten our beef and dairy industries if alfalfa is not available for feed. One Cornell University study estimated that honeybees annually pollinate $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the US. Essentially, if honeybees disappear, they could take most of our insect pollinated plants with them, potentially reducing mankind to little more than a bread and water diet.”
Before 2006 the honeybee population was declining at a relatively constant rate, and was believed to be due to certain pests (mites), pesticides, and reduction in beekeepers and natural bee environments. However, in 2006 the honeybee population took a major hit, declining by 25% with no understood cause. This was labeled Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and is characterized by bees that leave the hive and mysteriously do not return [...]