How the Bee Population Affects Agriculture As We Know It


"Beekeepers across the United States lost 44 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2015 to April 2016, according to the latest preliminary results of an annual nationwide survey. Rates of both winter loss and summer loss—and consequently, total annual losses—worsened compared with last year. This marks the second consecutive survey year that summer loss rates rivaled winter loss rates. [...] The researchers note that many factors are

Bee with a Varroa mite

Courtesy: HoneyBeeGreat.com

contributing to colony losses. A clear culprit is the varroa mite, a lethal parasite that can easily spread between colonies. Pesticides and malnutrition caused by changing land use patterns are also likely taking a toll, especially among commercial beekeepers."1

In a report published in 2009 by http://journals.plos.org/ , and might I add according to them only by them there is no record of any other news sources picking up this report and republishing it. Several Blogs, Articles and Book's have republished many quotes from this report but as far as I can tell it hasn't been republished in its entirety anywhere. The final paragraph of the Discussion in this report goes as follows;

"This is the first descriptive epizootiological survey of honey bee colonies that provides evidence that the condition known as CCD is consistent with a contagious condition or reflective of common risk factors within apiaries Of the 61 variables quantified (including adult bee physiology, pathogen loads, and pesticide levels), no single factor was found with enough consistency to suggest one causal agent. Bees in CCD colonies had higher pathogen loads and were co-infected with more pathogens than control populations, suggesting either greater pathogen exposure or reduced defenses in CCD bees. Levels of the miticide coumaphos were higher in control populations than CCD-affected populations. Potentially important areas for future hypothesis-driven research, including the possible legacy effect of mite parasitism and role of honey bee resistance to pesticides, are highlighted.1"

Even though the CCD states that they cannot pinpoint one thing that suggests a higher risk than others, it is evident that the neonicotinoids do have a substantial effect on the bee population and the UK has gone as far as to ban them for the next two years, so we will see what happens.

The Makers of the neonicotinoids, not naming names, claim that their product is safe if used correctly and diminishes quickly. However ScienceDaily.com gives us another take on this.

In a recent article citing The University of Bern Journal they tell us that, ""Insecticides are designed to kill insect pests. Bees, and many other important pollinators, are also insects that will be killed by insecticides if exposure levels are high enough," Raine said....What's being debated is the extent to which field levels of exposure have impacts on pollinators, he said....."It varies enormously depending on many factors, including the type of insecticide, how it is applied and which pollinator species you consider. Current evidence suggests that bumblebees and solitary bees are more severely affected by neonicotinoids than honeybees."

Yale author, Elizabeth Grossman states in her article from 2013 that "But because the insecticide stays with the plant as it grows, it raises questions about the potential for bees to be exposed through nectar, pollen, or leaf surface moisture, where a growing number of studies are finding evidence of neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are known to be toxic to bees, earthworms, and other terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, as was noted in documents submitted to the EPA when they were registered...'The motivation for producing neonicotinoids was reduced human toxicity, but the environmental and ecosystem impacts were not considered in enough detail to predict what’s going on,'3 says Frazier of Penn State.

This article was written for information purposes only and it truly intrigues you I encourage you to go down the "rabbit hole" and make your own decision. Since this is a public forum I do not want to take one side or the other, but I do intend to go even further down "the rabbit hole".

https://beeinformed.org/2016/05/10/nations-beekeepers-lost-44-percent-of-bees-in-2015-16/

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006481#pone.0006481-Aikin1

http://e360.yale.edu/features/declining_bee_populations_pose_a_threat_to_global_agriculture