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03.23.2011

What’s Happening to the Honeybees?

bee-on-cactus-flower-for-blog

Photo by Matt Coors

Ready to shrug off that winter cabin fever and smell the fresh air of the great outdoors?  Us too; and all that anticipation has got me reading a lot about springtime flowers and the bees that are attracted to them.  The sad thing, though, is that honeybee populations are in pretty extreme danger in the last several years, as bees are dying off at an alarming rate.

You may have heard of the problem in some media reports recently, but we here at Knockaround think that it deserves a lot more attention: called Colony Collapse Disorder, it’s a situation in which almost all of the bees abruptly disappear from a hive that seemed healthy beforehand.  Scientists haven’t yet determined exactly what is causing such an upswing in this phenomenon, but a number of contributing factors for the death and disappearance of bees have been proposed, from chemical toxins present in the bees’ environment, to insecticides used in crop gene modification, to complications caused by parasitic mites.

Hopefully, further research will shed more light on the situation soon, because the loss of honeybees poses a serious problem, not only for the many families supported by the commercial beekeeping industry, but for all of us.  As mentioned on the University of Florida page that is linked to below, “one estimate suggests that one-third of the world’s food production is directly dependent on honey bee pollination.”  The potential continued loss of honeybees could have scary agricultural consequences, and a bad effect on food availability and price.  For more information about the bee crisis, visit this page.  And for some info about things you can do to help make it easier on the honeybees, including planting bee-friendly gardens, visit this page.  If more people know about this problem, encourage research and donate to the cause, maybe we can turn things around. -Knockaround

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