31 Percent Of U.S. Honey Bees Were Wiped Out This Year – Who Will Pollinate Our Crops?

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If bees keep dying off at this rate, we are going to be facing a horrific agricultural crisis very rapidly in the United States.  Last winter, 31 percent of all U.S. bee colonies were wiped out.  The year before that it was 21 percent.  These colony losses are being described as “catastrophic” by those in the industry, and nobody is quite sure how to fix the problem.  Some are blaming the bee deaths on pesticides, others are blaming parasites and others are blaming cell phones.  But no matter what is causing these deaths, if it doesn’t stop we will all soon notice the effects at the supermarket.  Bees pollinate about a hundred different crops in the United States, and if the bees disappear nobody is quite sure how we will be able to continue to grow many of those crops.  This emerging crisis does not get a lot of attention from the mainstream media, but if we continue to lose 30 percent of our bees every year it is going to have a cataclysmic effect on our food supply.

The frightening thing is that the bee deaths appear to be accelerating and they appear to be even worse in the UK and Canada…

This past winter was one of the worst on record for bees. In the U.S., beekeepers lost 31 percent of their colonies, compared to a loss of 21 percent the previous winter. In Canada, the Canadian Honey Council reports an annual loss of 35 percent of honey bee colonies in the last three years. In Britain, the Bee Farmers’ Association says its members lost roughly half their colonies over the winter.

“It has been absolutely catastrophic,” said Margaret Ginman, who is general secretary of the Bee Farmers’ Association. “This has been one of the worst years in living memory.”

Scientists have been scrambling to figure out what is causing this, and one study that was recently conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture may have some answers…

The study, published July 24 in the online journal PLOS ONE, is the first analysis of real-world conditions encountered by honey bees as their hives pollinate a wide range of crops, from apples to watermelons.

The researchers collected pollen from honey bee hives in fields from Delaware to Maine. They analyzed the samples to find out which flowering plants were the bees’ main pollen sources and what agricultural chemicals were commingled with the pollen. The researchers fed the pesticide-laden pollen samples to healthy bees, which were then tested for their ability to resist infection with Nosema ceranae – a parasite of adult honey bees that has been linked to a lethal phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.

On average, the pollen samples contained 9 different agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and miticides. Sublethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals were present in every sample, with one sample containing 21 different pesticides. Pesticides found most frequently in the bees’ pollen were the fungicide chlorothalonil, used on apples and other crops, and the insecticide fluvalinate, used by beekeepers to control Varroa mites, common honey bee pests.

The particular parasite mentioned above, Nosema ceranae, is extremely destructive to honeybees, and this study found that some pesticides and fungicides make it much more likely that bees will become infected by these parasites…

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

So are these pesticides and fungicides the cause of Colony Collapse disorder?

The authors of the study stated very clearly that they were not making that conclusion.

But it does seem more than coincidental that continental Europe is not seeing bees die in the same kinds of numbers and they have banned many of these pesticides and fungicides.  The following is from a recent article by Christina Sarich

A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has labeled one pesticide, called clothianidin, as completely unacceptable for use, and banned it from use entirely. Meanwhile, the U.S. uses the same pesticide on more than a third of its crops – nearly 143 million acres. Two more pesticides linked to bee death are imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. These are also used extensively in the US, while elsewhere, they have been taken out of circulation.

There are others that are not entirely convinced that pesticides and fungicides are the primary cause of the mass bee deaths that we are seeing.  In some cases, tens of millions of bees are dying all at once.  How could that be caused by pesticides and fungicides?  The following is from a recent article by Arjun Walia

It’s not just the United States, Elmwood, Canada also recently reported a discovery of over  30 million dead bees. The massive bee deaths in Elmwood came shortly after approximately 50 thousand bees were found dead in an Oregon parking lot.

No matter what the true cause is, we need to find a solution quickly because if we start running out of honey bees we will rapidly be facing a nightmarish agricultural apocalypse.

Just check out the following list of crops that are pollinated by honey bees

  • Apples
  • Mangos
  • Rambutan
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Guava
  • Rose Hips
  • Pomegranites
  • Pears
  • Black and Red Currants
  • Alfalfa
  • Okra
  • Strawberries
  • Onions
  • Cashews
  • Cactus
  • Prickly Pear
  • Apricots
  • Allspice
  • Avocados
  • Passion Fruit
  • Lima Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Adzuki Beans
  • Green Beans
  • Orchid Plants
  • Custard Apples
  • Cherries
  • Celery
  • Coffee
  • Walnut
  • Cotton
  • Lychee
  • Flax
  • Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Goa beans
  • Lemons
  • Buckwheat
  • Figs
  • Fennel
  • Limes
  • Quince
  • Carrots
  • Persimmons
  • Palm Oil
  • Loquat
  • Durian
  • Cucumber
  • Hazelnut
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tangelos
  • Coriander
  • Caraway
  • Chestnut
  • Watermelon
  • Star Apples
  • Coconut
  • Tangerines
  • Boysenberries
  • Starfruit
  • Brazil Nuts
  •  Beets
  • Mustard Seed
  • Rapeseed
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
  • Turnips
  • Congo Beans
  • Sword beans
  • Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
  • Papaya
  • Safflower
  • Sesame
  • Eggplant
  • Raspberries
  • Elderberries
  • Blackberries
  • Clover
  • Tamarind
  • Cocoa
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Vanilla
  • Cranberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapes

Can you imagine life without those foods?

I can’t either.

But if bees keep dying off like this, first those crops will start becoming extremely expensive and then they will start disappearing from our store shelves altogether.

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth.  His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

The Beginning Of The End - The New Novel About The Future Of America By Michael T. Snyder
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  • Louise in MO

    When I read articles such as this one, my thoughts always return to The Book of Revelation in the Bible and it’s prediction of famine and how pervasive it will be. Certainly the loss of the honeybees would be one way of producing a famine.

  • Grim Really

    I imagine a time when real bees are replaced by mechanical drone pollinators. A swarm of these drones could be rented from Monsanto, or Dow by farmers who wish to get their fields pollinated. All natural insects would be eliminated by strong pesticides provided by the same companies. Utopia!

    • Rodster

      I wouldn’t put it past them, LOL.

  • mohsensamiei

    Don’t worry, Monsanto will give the farmers a helping hand.

    • Hambone

      Monsanto is interesting because it’s among the few things conservatives and liberals can agree on. Unfortunately, they are in the back pocket of our lawmakers, so conservative and liberal politicans also agree with each other (but disagree with the general population).

  • Agnes

    Lets face it, GMO’s are probably the culprit . We haven’t a clue what it is doing to humans. Imagine what it is doing to the bees, they think they are getting good food.

  • Hambone

    I think members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers) are actually wind-pollinated, not insect pollinated. Same with beans. That said, the issue is still very real and extremely concerning.

    I live in an agricultural area, but my land is adjacent a “classified forest” where it is illegal to do anything — you have to leave it alone completely. I don’t use pesticides or fertilizers of any kind, and the bees flourish in that area next to the forest. I can’t help but think man’s attempt to control nature is a major factor. It’s anecdotal evidence at best, but it makes sense.

    When the pollinators are depleated, we will be in deep kimchi.

  • iguana one

    Monsanto could be behind the bees’ death. They want us to eat their poison GMO. No pollination. Just pure GMO in a test tube. They want us dead. And the bees too.

  • lilbear68

    there wont be much more news about bee die-offs now, monsanto had bought the main lab that does the majority of bee studies

  • Guillaumé

    I have checked with the two major bee keepers associations in Britain and I have checked with the two major bee keepers associations in South Africa.
    Both countries report not one single bee loss can be attributed to that which has been given the name, Colony Collapse Disorder.

    In fact both countries have not reported any losses caused by some unknown disease. All losses, if any, can be attributed to well known bee diseases found in any bee keepers book.
    Varroa and Foulbrood being the two major.

    If I check with other countries I can almost be sure that I will find the same.
    “It only happens in America” we employ this saying whenever strange stories come out of America.

    Like buildings blowing up as in 911, a Hollywood blockbuster. no high rise building anywhere else in the world has blown up and collapsed after a single airplane has crashed into it.

    Americans live in the Matrix of unreality and cannot see under the stage curtain.