Friday, May 3, 2013

Bees Face Pesticides, Parasites and Poor Forage; Oh My!

If you've been following the news on honeybee declines and the recent EU pesticide ban, you'll probably be interested in a new federal report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and EPA Thursday that cites a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics and habitat loss, as well as pesticides, as causes for colony collapse disorder in the U.S. These multiple causes make it harder to do something about to preserve the bees and, thus, our crops.

A Florida beekeeper collects honey from his hives.
A variety of factors have contributed to a worrisome loss of bee colonies in recent years,
and a federal report released Thursday concludes there is no single remedy. 
"It's not a simple situation. If it were one factor we would have identified it by now," said David Inouye, President of the Ecological Society of America.

"No single silver bullet will solve the problems affecting honeybees and other pollinators," wrote the report authors. "Habitat enhancement, judicious and targeted pesticide use, improved colony management techniques and improved disease- and pest-resistant stocks of bees are collectively needed to improve the health of honeybee colonies."

Although good management practices have been developed to improve bee health, the report added that "there are numerous obstacles to widespread adoption of these practices.'"

Read the full Los Angeles Times article here.

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