Honeybee decline spells trouble for our food supply

Why honeybees matter to our food supply.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor

Billions of honeybees have died worldwide since 2006. Coined the colony collapse disorder (CCD), researchers are still trying to figure out if pesticides or viruses or something else is the cause for the colony decline. Even if you don't like honey, bee colonies are important to our food supply.

Honeybees pollinate close to 90 crops such as avocados, cucumbers, sprouts, apples, onions, broccoli, coffee and tomatoes. According to The Telegraph:

Albert Einstein, who liked to make bold claims (often wrong), famously said that "if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live".

Such "apocalyptic scenarios" are overblown, said Rabobank. The staples of corn, wheat, and rice are all pollinated by wind.

However, Rabobank's analyst Ruben Verwijs said in a statement:

Around 90 agricultural crops - representing one third of global food production volume - are dependent to some extent on animal pollination. Foods and beverages produced with the help of animal pollinators include almonds, apples, blueberries, coffee, melons and soybeans.

So what exactly is making the honeybees disappear?

New research out of the University of Montana suggests there's a link between the CCD and a mix of a parasite and a virus. Montana's ecologist Colin Henderson said to the Washington Post:

Some people have seriously considered climate change, others have focused on an accumulation of pesticides. The third approach was, maybe we've got a new disease we haven't identified before. We fell into that category.

Einstein was right - honey bee collapse threaten global food security [The Telegraph]

Photo:  cygnus921/ flickr

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