Bye Bye Bees

Posted on July 10, 2006  Comments (7)

Photo of a bee

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

7 Responses to “Bye Bye Bees”

  1. Curious Cat Science Blog: Bye Bye British Bees - Too
    July 23rd, 2006 @ 10:54 pm

    “The number of species of bees in Britain has declined sharply in the last 25 years, new research has shown.”

  2. More on Disappearing Honeybees
    March 29th, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

    “Beekeepers throughout the United States have been losing between 50 and 90 percent of their honeybees over the past six months, perplexing scientists, driving honey prices higher and threatening fruit and vegetable production…”

  3. CuriousCat: More on the Bee Deaths
    April 26th, 2007 @ 12:30 pm

    “A fungus that caused widespread loss of bee colonies in Europe and Asia may be playing a crucial role in the mysterious phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder that is wiping out bees across the United States, UC San Francisco researchers said Wednesday….”

  4. CuriousCat: Bee Colony Collapse Disorder
    May 4th, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

    “In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture…”

  5. CuriousCat: Virus Found to be One Likely Factor in Bee Colony Colapse Disorder
    September 9th, 2007 @ 11:32 am

    “Scientists sifting genetic material from thriving and ailing bee colonies say a virus appears to be a prime suspect – but is unlikely to be the only culprit – in the mass die-offs of honeybees reported last autumn and winter…”

  6. CuriousCat: The Study of Bee Colony Collapses Continues
    November 3rd, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

    This effort provides a good example of the difficulty of learning what really happens around us. Often, once things are worked out, and explained they seem simple and even obvious…

  7. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Continuing Bee Colony Collapse Disorder
    March 17th, 2009 @ 8:20 am

    […] Bye Bye Bees – Colony Collapse Disorder Continues – Penn State Program Promotes Pollinator-Friendly Gardening – […]

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