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The buzz about bee decline

Posted by: admin at 11:14 am on November 21st, 2015

  • honey
  • bee population

Is it true that honey bees are dying off? Can't that be a problem with our food supply?

Honeybees, which are a critical link in U.S. agriculture, have been under serious pressure from a one problem, considered a mystery, called Colony Collapse Disorder.

This is a syndrome defined as a dead colony with no adult bees or dead bee bodies but with a live queen and usually honey and immature bees still present, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

A second possible problem being explored by scientists is the use of pesticides. Specifically, research is being focused on a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.

Significant declines in the bee population have been observed in areas where neonicotinoids are being used, so the European Commission has moved to ban the use of three variants of the pesticide on flowering species.

The Environmental Protection Agency, on the other hand, said it will likely not be approving any new use for neonicotinoids until more test have been carried out to determine more clearly the pesticide's effects on honeybees and other pollinators in nature, according to Tech Times.

How does the demise of the honeybee affect our food supply? Bee pollination is responsible for more than 15 billion in increased crop value each year, according to an article in the Washington Post.

That equates to about one mouthful in three, in our diet, is directly or indirectly related to honey bee pollination. According to the USDA, honeybees account for the pollination of 80 percent of flowering crops including almonds and other tree nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables to name a few. These are the foods that give our diet diversity, flavor and nutrition.

If bees cease to exist, a number of agricultural goods go with them like broccoli, cantaloupes, asparagus, cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelons, blueberries, almonds, cranberries, cherries and apples.

Aside from aiding agricultural production, bees also offer food products, like honey. The USDA stated the honey production in 2014, from producers with five or more colonies, totaled 178 million pounds.

There were 2.74 million colonies producing honey in 2014, up 4 percent from 2013 - a good sign considering CCD. And to end on a trivia note: Honeybees from a typical hive visit about 225,000 flowers per day.

Bees must visit 2 million flowers and fly more than 55,000 miles to make one pound of honey, according to Positive Med.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thought for the week: Some days you just have to create your own sunshine.

The last nutrition class of the year will be at Organic Emporium at 7 p..m. Dec. 14.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at docphylis@gmail.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.


-By Phylis Canion