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96% Decrease in Honeybees

This isn’t good. A new study shows a dramatic, continuing drop in honeybees, those honeybees which cross pollinate many of our food sources. This is an excerpt from AOL News and by clicking on the blue type, you can read the entire article.

Study: US Bumblebee Population in Sharp Decline

The population of bumblebees in the United States is in a kind of free fall, dropping 96 percent over the past two decades, according to a new study that has scientists alarmed.

Four species of bumblebees are in a rapid decline, possibly because of increased fungal infections and inbreeding. Researchers called the findings of the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “disturbing” and said they were in line with findings in Europe.

“Disturbing reports of bumblebee population declines in Europe have recently spilled over into North America, fueling environmental and economic concerns of global decline,” the authors wrote.

The bumblebee population in the United States is in a steep decline.

The bumblebee is wild, but it pollinates commercial crops from tomatoes to coffee, and its disappearance could have a dire effect on food sources. “People need to know that wild bees are an enormously important ecosystem service, just like honeybees,” Sydney Cameron, the head author of the study and a professor at the University of Illinois, told AOL News by phone today.

To find and count the bees, teams of researchers across the United States visited fields of flowers where hives had historically been found and gently scooped up the insects in butterfly nets.

The disappearing bees have scientists somewhat perplexed. They think a disease-causing pathogen, Nosema bombi, as well as a “lack of genetic diversity” could be plaguing the insects, but they haven’t been able to prove it yet. Cameron said the Nosema bombi pathogen seems to make it difficult for queen bees to survive the winter so they can reproduce.

Honeybees in the United States are also in trouble. They are suffering from a phenomenon called “colony collapse,” a disorder that seems to kill massive numbers of a hive’s worker bees. Scientists aren’t entirely sure what’s causing the disorder, but they suspect a virus may be to blame.

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Environment, Food, Living Conditions, Technical Issue | 2 Comments