We all know that without pollination, little grows and the part bees play in the pollination of our food.
Now, there’s a new study that claims it’s not an infestation of mites, as claimed, but rather, it’s a pesticide!
A widely used farm pesticide first introduced in the 1990s has caused significant changes to bee colonies and removing it could be the key factor in restoring nature’s army of pollinators, according to two studies released Thursday.
A pesticide trade group questioned the data, saying the levels of pesticide used were unrealistically high, while the researchers said the levels used were typical of what bees would find on farms.
“. . . . There is an urgent need to develop alternatives to the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops wherever possible,” added the authors of the second study on bumble bees.
Last week, a coalition of environmental groups and beekeepers asked the EPA to suspend the use of the pesticide, which is widely used in flowering crops like corn, sunflower and cotton to combat insects.
The studies are the first to go outside the lab and into the fields, where the experts said they detected how the pesticide impacts bees as they collect pollen and pollinate flowers and crops.
Honey bee populations have been crashing around the world in recent years, and pesticides have been suspected, along with other potential factors such as parasites, disease and habitat loss, in what’s known as Colony Collapse Disorder. In the U.S., some beekeepers in 2006 began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Combating Colony Collapse Disorder is hardly an esoteric exercise. The USDA notes that “bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables.