What the bees are telling us
Bees have been dying off in droves around the world since the mid-1990s. First in France, then in the U.S. and elsewhere, colonies have been mysteriously collapsing with adult bees disappearing, seemingly abandoning their hives. In 2006, about two years after this phenomenon hit the U.S., it was named “Colony Collapse Disorder,” or CCD. Each year since commercial beekeepers have reported annual losses of 29% - 36%. Such losses are unprecedented, and more than double what is considered normal.
While wild pollinators like bats and bumble bees are also facing catastrophic declines, managed honey bees are the most economically important pollinators in the world. According to a recent U.N. report, of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. In the U.S. alone, honey bees’ economic contribution is valued at over $15 billion.
State of the Science
State of the Science: Pesticides & BeesPAN's report Honey Bees and Pesticides: State of the Science presents findings from dozens of scientific studies, focusing on the link between pesticides and CCD. Download here»
U.S. commercial beekeepers report that their industry is on the verge of collapse, and farmers who rely on pollination services are increasingly concerned. It's unlikely that such a collapse will directly result in a food security crisis, but crop yields would decline signficantly, and more acres of land would need to be put into production to meet demand. With most fruits, many vegetables, almonds, alfalfa and many other crops all dependent upon bees for pollination, the variety and nutritional value of our food system is threatened.
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