Bye Bye Bees
Posted on July 10, 2006 Comments (7)
The Vanishing by Sharon Levy:
One-third of the food we eat comes from crops that need animal pollinators, a role often filled by bees but sometimes by butterflies, beetles, birds, or bats. Bee-pollinated foods include squash, tomatoes, peppers, apples, and pears. Unfortunately, the honeybees surrounding me are members of a threatened tribe, whose loss would have a dire effect on farmers, not to mention everyone who eats fruits and vegetables.
This problem has been increasing in recent years.
Fees for renting beehives shot up from about $48 to as much as $140 per colony, a previously unheard-of amount. Beekeepers traveled from as far away as Florida and North Carolina to service California’s almond groves. For the first time in 50 years, U.S. borders were opened to honeybees from New Zealand and Australia. The fate of a $1.2 billion crop — more than half of all almond production worldwide — rested on the slender back of the embattled honeybee.
Natural systems seem so powerful that it hardly seems possible that running low on bees is really a concern. But more and more such stories (fish stocks being wiped out…) are being told. This is one of many reasons we need more scientists to study these areas and keep society informed. Enjoy reading this article it is a great example of science, scientific study, communicating scientific knowledge and the impact on society.
Photo by Justin Hunter