Bees and Colony Collapse Disorder

I’ve been hearing more and more about the declining bee population from a number of my news sources- primarily NPR, NY Times and my email network.

The information coming in is fairly distressing. Researchers have found that during the past five decades, the domestic honey bee population has declined by fifty (50%) percent. Since honey bees pollinate between 15 and 30 percent of the foods we eat, conservation biologists warn that the declining honey bee population could mean that some of the fruits and vegetables we eat may not be available in the future.

The bee is an important part of the agriculture industry, but so is the declining population of bats. They pollinate a huge percentage of our crops and are the first species in forests that have been clear cut. Their guano supplies the seeds to the first growth vegetation in these barren areas, that then attracts birds with more seeds.

Bees and bats… love ’em.

:: POTENTIAL CAUSES

– One camp is starting to point towards CORDLESS PHONE use (not necessarily cell phone use) in the U.S. and Europe as a cause. A recent study conducted in Germany found that a high percentage of bees couldn’t navigate back to the hive when a radio frequency device was placed inside the hive.
– Another camp indicates that a tiny MITE is causing the decline.
– Yet another, points to herbicides.

:: LINKS

Some recent headlines:
CNN Earth Matter
Pollinator decline puts world food supply at risk, experts warns

U.S. Congress
Honey Bee Decline Concerns Congress

National Public Radio
Declining Bee Population Threatens Major Growers

South East Farm Press
Loss of honey bee populations a threat to U.S. agriculture

China View
Study: Cell Phones Confuse Honey Bee Navigation

National Geographic
Bees Decline May Spell End of Some Fruits and Vegetables

International Herald Tribune
This is the article that interviews the scientific team that did the study in Germany on the cordless phones and bee homing impairment.

BBC
Decline of Island Bee Population

Botanical Gardens Conservation
The Plight of the Bumble Bee Affecting Plants

The Physics Forum
Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

MarketWatch
Crops and our Wallets May Get Stung by Declining Bee Population

Here is a way YOU can take action- build your own bee box!
NPR Starting Your Own Hive

I think I may try this at our property in Carbondale. There is a lot of clover in the fields nearby … A great experiment for our kids.

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