The Lack of Bees and its Affect on Agriculture

“If the bees disappear from the face of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”  -Albert Eistein

In the past few years the number of bee hives in the United States has significantly decreased.  Some parts of the country are reporting losses between fifty and ninety percent of honey bee hives.  This has a direct effect on the price of honey, with an indirect effect on the production and subsequent prices of crops that are pollinated by bees.  As most fruit and vegetables that we eat are the ovaries of the plant, the bees are the vehicle that connects the female plants to the male plants.

As most crops in the US are bred, through the use of bees and their ability to transport pollen, by commercial bee keeper’s hives being able to move from farm to farm to pollinate these crops, there is a significant potential economic disaster that could ensue if the problem, termed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is not rectified.  The potential economic impact was estimated at 15 Billion dollars due mostly to the destruction of commercial farming, and the honey bee is estimated to be extinct by 2035 if a solution is not found.

Potential causes of the disorder are stress from moving and relocating bees to pollinate newly blossoming crops, pesticides used on crops, parasitic mites, and poor nutrition.  On top of these the primary suspect in the decline in bee hives is a virus, the Israeli acute paralysis virus, which has been identified as something the dieing hives have in common.  But the presence of the virus in bee hives is only correlated to the destruction of the hives.  Along with this there is evidence of bees adapting to the virus, essentially changing their genome in a manner to resist the virus, which means the virus may not be a factor in the death of hives at all.

Gary Hitchins

http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/29/news/honeybees/index.htm

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,295981,00.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZvEJFWtbB4

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~ by garyhitchins on February 28, 2010.

One Response to “The Lack of Bees and its Affect on Agriculture”

  1. […] is that their generational zenith has not come to pass yet. The story is approaching fruition, bees are in fact dying off, but this is textually just as much an experiment in futurism as it is literally an experiment in […]

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