Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No News Here

From Vox and Brad Plumer:

Europe's honeybees are vanishing — and we still don't know why

"...the European Commission just published a massive new studytracking 32,000 honeybee colonies across 17 states — the largest-ever study on honeybees and the diseases that affect them...The EU study didn't figure out why the honeybees are dying...There's probably no one single explanation. As the 2013 report by the US government put it, "Consensus is building that a complex set of stressors and pathogens is associated with [colony collapse disorder]... This massive new study out of Europe is just a first step in getting a better handle on why the bees are vanishing..there are also reports that wild bees — which are also increasingly crucial for pollination — are in trouble, too. One recent report found that 31 of the 68 species of bumblebees in Europe are in decline, with 14 facing extinction..."

CCD took off in 2006. Now, eight years later, all we have are theories. We have come within a nano-second of being able to see the birth of the universe but we can't save the bees and, by extension, ourselves. 

More from Brad Plumer:
"The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that"out of some 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 of these are bee-pollinated."
From the USDA:

Why Should the Public Care About What Happens to Honey Bees?
A honey bee, with pollen attached to its hind leg, pollinating a watermelon flower.Bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year. About one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination. Commercial production of many specialty crops like almonds and other tree nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables are dependent on pollinated by honey bees. These are the foods that give our diet diversity, flavor, and nutrition.
Honey bees are not native to the New World; they came from Europe with the first settlers. There are native pollinators in the United States, but honey bees are more prolific and easier to manage on a commercial level for pollination of a wide variety of crops. Almonds, for example, are completely dependent on honey bees for pollination. In California, the almond industry requires the use of 1.4 million colonies of honey bees, approximately 60 percent of all managed honey bee colonies in the United States.

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