Honeybee alert – 07/19/2005

  • October 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm #852

    We’re Losing Bees But Can’t Do Without Them


    Pesticide levels that were previously thought to be safe for bees may
    actually be harmful to them. Adult bumble bees exposed to the
    pesticide spinosad have an impaired ability to forage for food.
    Spinosad is a natural pesticide derived from the bacteria
    Actinomycetes. It’s used in over 30 countries, including North
    America, Canada and the UK, to combat common crop pests such as
    caterpillars and thrips. Bees are important pollinators of crops. In
    developed countries, about a third of human food relies on their
    pollination. Less dramatic effects on honey bees could be going
    unnoticed, and other species could also be affected.
    Bumble bees that were exposed to spinosad during their larval
    development, in amounts that are the same as the amount of spinosad
    they’re likely to be exposed to in nature, took longer to find
    complex flowers. They bees also displayed “trembling,” which impaired
    their ability to land on the flowers and enter the flower tubes.
    Besides exposure to pesticides, honey bees are being decimated by the
    varroa mite from Southeast Asia, which has killed or severely
    weakened an 40 to 60% of the honeybees in the United States during
    the past six months. More than 50% of the bees in California, which
    pollinate the state’s almond crop, have died during the past six

    The honeybee is the major carrier of pollen for seeded fruits and
    anything that grows on a vine, from apples to zucchini. Millions of
    acres of U.S. fruit, nut, vegetable, seed and legume crops depend on
    insect pollination, and 80% percent of insect crop pollination is
    done by honeybees. Crops that require bees for pollination are
    apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, oranges,
    grapefruit, sunflowers, tangerines and watermelon. In addition, beef
    and dairy products eat alfalfa, clover and other plants that require

    Honeybees are ideal for pollination because they their hives can
    easily be moved to fields where they’re needed. They also pollinate a
    wide variety of crops.

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