Massive Honey Bee Die-Off Threatens US Crops
Probing Question: What's killing the honey bees?
March 1, 2007, By Lisa Duchene, Research Penn State
Far away from the snowdrifts outside our windows, spring is unfolding in California as the almond trees begin to bloom. Missing from the party are millions of honey bees typically trucked in to pollinate the $2-$3 billion crop.
Since last fall, beekeepers in more than 20 states including Pennsylvania have lost tens of thousands of honey bee colonies -- an estimated 30 to 35 percent of the nation's pollinator stock. Nobody knows why.
So far investigators have discovered three possible causes: a parasite, a fungal disease, and new toxic pesticides.
The phenomenon, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD),
was first noticed last fall in Florida. Theories about its cause
include environmental change, malnutrition, pathogens, mites, pesticide
contamination, disease or genetically modified crops.
20 states have been affected, including Iowa. California, Florida,
Georgia, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are the hardest hit.
Some beekeepers have lost 80 percent of their colonies.
according to report in Mason City, Iowa, Globe Gazette: http://www.globegazette.com/articles/2007/03/29/local/doc460b1591305dd178663554.txt
One concerned bee-keeper said, "If you don't have bees, you don't have food."
Concern is so great experts will be testifying before Congress today regarding the problem for the House Horticulture and Organic Agriculture Subcommittee.
A major focus is on the effects of new pesticides and insecticides used in monoculture and on modified crops.
See my comments below for updates on the Hearing and more info.
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