Essay about Honeybees: Beekeeping and Robin F. a. Moritz

Submitted By tatortot3412
Words: 1604
Pages: 7

Honeybees in Decline

Shakespeare could not have said it any better, ‘to be or not to be,” that’s the 15 billion dollar question. The future of America’s food supply relies on a species that’s under stress. One out of every three mouthful’s of the food you eat directly or indirectly depends on pollination by honeybees. (Dieter Behrens and Robin F.A. Moritz, 2011) However, in the last 50 years the population of the domesticated honeybee, which most farmers depend on for pollination, has been diminished by 50 percent. (Purdue University, 2012) Recently, Purdue University research labs found that the decline of bees is from the insecticides used on farmers’ fields. Insecticides have been around for years and now they are killing our honeybees. The talc insecticide are making the bees populations drop. Patronizing our local honey and planting non-poisonous flowers are ways to help. Without the bee there is no known way to change to other pollinators for crop productions. The American farmer relies both on bees for pollination and insecticides for pest prevention. The decline in the U.S. bee population, first observed in 2006, is continuing to baffle researchers and beekeepers. Data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows a 36 percent drop in beehives in 2008 and followed by a 29 percent decline in 2009. (Purdue University, 2012) This affects not only the production of honey but more importantly the almost 15 billion dollars worth of crops that depend on bees for pollination. The disappearance of millions of honey bees has been given a name by scientists ‘Colony Collapse Disorder”. According to David Mendes, lead researcher at the Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Laboratory ‘under normal conditions there will be a 10 percent winter loss, last year there were 30,40 and in some cases even 50 percent losses found when beekeepers opened their hives in the spring. (Corinne Purtill, 2007) Adult bees have been discovered to leave the hive for work and never return. Most of theses disappearing bees are in fact dying. Some professionals in beekeeping with migratory hives have reported losing up to 90 percent of their colonies due to colony collapse disorder. (Corinne Purtill, 2007) If a cattle rancher lost just 30-40 percent of their herd each year, they’d go out of business. Nobody knows for sure why the bees are vanishing. There are several theories that scientists are researching on the cause for this disorder. Past theories for the decline of bees are genetically modified crops, pesticides, viruses, mites, and fungi; the newest of these focuses on the chemicals in insecticides. (Corinne Purtill, 2007) The research showed that insecticides were around in waste talc that is exhausted from farm machinery during planting. The brands of insecticides Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam were also consistently found at low levels in soil - up to two years after treated seed was planted - on nearby dandelion flowers and in corn pollen gathered by the bees. (Dieter Behrens and Robin F.A. Moritz, 2011) There are wild bees that could pollinate crops. Unfortunately, many of these kinds of bees may also be in decline. Today’s agriculture is a big part of the problem for the wild bee population. Giant weed-free farms that destroy habitats and use a lot of pesticides are believed to be the worst offenders that have helped drive some bees to the edge of extinction. This is because in an area bees need several different types of plants to produce pollen throughout the growing season. When farms rid their land of all plants except strawberries or melons the bees have pollen available only for a short period of time. (Dieter Behrens and Robin F.A. Moritz, 2011) This disappearing of bees is not only a curiosity, but also greatly impacts commercial agricultural crops that rely on the bees for pollination. Honeybees are responsible for the healthy development of many of the world’s major food crops. The foods in the produce