Since the late 1990s, beekeepers around the world have observed the mysterious and sudden disappearance of bees, and report unusually high rates of decline in honeybee colonies. Bees make more than honey, they are key to food production around the world because they pollinate crops. A third of the food that we eat depends on pollinating insects, including carrots, apricots, apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cucumbers, onion, grapefruit, orange, pumpkins, blackberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, peaches, watermelon, almonds, coriander, beans, plums, cotton, alfalfa and dozens more.
Over three million colonies in America and billions of bees worldwide have died since 2006. Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion. The main reasons for global bees-decline are industrial agriculture, parasites/pathogens and climate change. The loss of biodiversity, destruction of habitat and lack of forage due to monocultures and bee-killing pesticides are particular threats for honeybees and wild pollinators. It is becoming increasingly evident that some insecticides, at concentrations applied routinely in the current chemical-intensive agriculture system, exert clear, negative effects on the health of pollinators, both individually and at the colony level.
A study issued by the Harvard School of Public Health found that two widely used neonicotinoids, a class of insecticide, appear to significantly harm honey bee colonies over the winter. Surveys found total colony losses averaged 30 percent over the last eight-year span.
Last year, the European Union banned neonicotinoids and GMO's used for corn and other crops, as well as on home lawns and gardens.
Monsanto and other agrichemical companies lay much of the blame for die-offs on the "varroa mite," an Asian bee parasite first found in the United States in 1987.
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” - Albert Einstein
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