31 Percent Of U.S. Honey Bees Were Wiped Out This Year –Who Will Pollinate Our Crops?

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”― Albert Einstein

Natural Blaze
by Michael Snyder

If bees keep dying off at this rate, we are going to be facing a horrific agricultural crisis very rapidly in the United States. Last winter, 31 percent of all U.S. bee colonies were wiped out. The year before that it was 21 percent. These colony losses are being described as “catastrophic” by those in the industry, and nobody is quite sure how to fix the problem.

Some are blaming the bee deaths on pesticides, others are blaming parasites and others are blaming cell phones. But no matter what is causing these deaths, if it doesn’t stop we will all soon notice the effects at the supermarket.

Bees pollinate about a hundred different crops in the United States, and if the bees disappear nobody is quite sure how we will be able to continue to grow many of those crops. This emerging crisis does not get a lot of attention from the mainstream media, but if we continue to lose 30 percent of our bees every year it is going to have a cataclysmic effect on our food supply.


The frightening thing is that the bee deaths appear to be accelerating and they appear to be even worse in the UK and Canada:

This past winter was one of the worst on record for bees. In the U.S., beekeepers lost 31 percent of their colonies, compared to a loss of 21 percent the previous winter. In Canada, the Canadian Honey Council reports an annual loss of 35 percent of honey bee colonies in the last three years. In Britain, the Bee Farmers’ Association says its members lost roughly half their colonies over the winter.


“It has been absolutely catastrophic,” said Margaret Ginman, who is general secretary of the Bee Farmers’ Association. “This has been one of the worst years in living memory.”

Scientists have been scrambling to figure out what is causing this, and one study that was recently conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture may have some answers:

The study, published July 24 in the online journal PLOS ONE, is the first analysis of real-world conditions encountered by honey bees as their hives pollinate a wide range of crops, from apples to watermelons.


The researchers collected pollen from honey bee hives in fields from Delaware to Maine. They analyzed the samples to find out which flowering plants were the bees’ main pollen sources and what agricultural chemicals were commingled with the pollen. The researchers fed the pesticide-laden pollen samples to healthy bees, which were then tested for their ability to resist infection with Nosema ceranae – a parasite of adult honey bees that has been linked to a lethal phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.


On average, the pollen samples contained 9 different agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and miticides. Sublethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals were present in every sample, with one sample containing 21 different pesticides. Pesticides found most frequently in the bees’ pollen were the fungicide chlorothalonil, used on apples and other crops, and the insecticide fluvalinate, used by beekeepers to control Varroa mites, common honey bee pests.

The particular parasite mentioned above, Nosema ceranae, is extremely destructive to honeybees, and this study found that some pesticides and fungicides make it much more likely that bees will become infected by these parasites…

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.


Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.


“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

So are these pesticides and fungicides the cause of Colony Collapse disorder?

The authors of the study stated very clearly that they were not making that conclusion.

But it does seem more than coincidental that continental Europe is not seeing bees die in the same kinds of numbers and they have banned many of these pesticides and fungicides. The following is from a recent article by Christina Sarich

A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has labeled one pesticide, called clothianidin, as completely unacceptable for use, and banned it from use entirely.


Meanwhile, the U.S. uses the same pesticide on more than a third of its crops – nearly 143 million acres. Two more pesticides linked to bee death are imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. These are also used extensively in the US, while elsewhere, they have been taken out of circulation. 

There are others that are not entirely convinced that pesticides and fungicides are the primary cause of the mass bee deaths that we are seeing. In some cases, tens of millions of bees are dying all at once. How could that be caused by pesticides and fungicides? The following is from a recent article by Arjun Walia…

It’s not just the United States, Elmwood, Canada also recently reported a discovery of over 30 million dead bees. The massive bee deaths in Elmwood came shortly after approximately 50 thousand bees were found dead in an Oregon parking lot.

No matter what the true cause is, we need to find a solution quickly because if we start running out of honey bees we will rapidly be facing a nightmarish agricultural apocalypse.

Just check out the following list of crops that are pollinated by honey bees…

Apples
Mangos
Rambutan
Kiwi Fruit
Plums
Peaches
Nectarines
Guava
Rose Hips
Pomegranites
Pears
Black and Red Currants
Alfalfa
Okra
Strawberries
Onions
Cashews
Cactus
Prickly Pear
Apricots
Allspice
Avocados
Passion Fruit
Lima Beans
Kidney Beans
Adzuki Beans
Green Beans
Orchid Plants
Custard Apples
Cherries
Celery
Coffee
Walnut
Cotton
Lychee
Flax
Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
Macadamia Nuts
Sunflower Oil
Goa beans
Lemons
Buckwheat
Figs
Fennel
Limes
Quince
Carrots
Persimmons
Palm Oil
Loquat
Durian
Cucumber
Hazelnut
Cantaloupe
Tangelos
Coriander
Caraway
Chestnut
Watermelon
Star Apples
Coconut
Tangerines
Boysenberries
Starfruit
Brazil Nuts
Beets
Mustard Seed
Rapeseed
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Cabbage
Brussels Sprouts
Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
Turnips
Congo Beans
Sword beans
Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
Papaya
Safflower
Sesame
Eggplant
Raspberries
Elderberries
Blackberries
Clover
Tamarind
Cocoa
Black Eyed Peas
Vanilla
Cranberries
Tomatoes
Grapes

Can you imagine life without those foods?

I can’t either.

But if bees keep dying off like this, first those crops will start becoming extremely expensive and then they will start disappearing from our store shelves altogether.

Weapon of Mass Wildlife Destruction: Neonicotinoid Pesticides “At the Root of Global Wildlife Declines”

Real Farmacy
By Justin Gardener

If massive bee die-offs are not enough, neonicotinoid pesticides are causing millions of bat deaths and are contributing to many other wildlife declines. Researchers conducted an in-depth review of existing literature and report their findings in the Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology.

Strong correlations are found in the rise of neonicotinoid pesticides and Colony Collapse Disorder, as well as plummeting wildlife populations in areas where the chemicals are heavily used. Outbreaks of infectious diseases in many wildlife populations, including fish, amphibians, bats, and birds, coincide on a temporal and geographic scale with the emerging use of the pesticides. Non-target insects are also being wiped out, depriving wildlife of a food source.

How could this new class of pesticide have such a devastating effect on so many types of wildlife? Neonicotinoid pesticides are designed to disrupt the central nervous system. While very effective on pests, they are not specific to pests and appear to work on all animal life forms from invertebrates to mammals. In the case of honey bees, for example, the neurotoxins can kill them outright or cause “sublethal” effects such as disrupting their ability to forage.

The researchers hypothesize that neonicotinoid pesticides have another sublethal effect by damaging the immune system of a variety of wildlife, making them more susceptible to infectious disease outbreaks that correlate with use of the pesticide. This is thought to be a contributing factor in the bees’ inability to ward off the Varrea mite that is a factor in Colony Collapse Disorder. Even after treatment for the mite, honey bees still cannot fight off the mites enough to prevent collapse.

Is this the new DDT?

Unlike some other biocides, neonicotinoids are persistent in the environment, meaning that they do not break down quickly. These pesticides are typically applied to crop seeds. The chemical is ingested into the plant and travels to the growing shoots and flowers, where it is toxic to anything that eats any part of it. Honey bees take toxic pollen back to their hives where it wreaks havoc. The chemicals are also applied as a soil treatment. When it rains, the chemicals get washed into aquatic ecosystems.

Here is where it damages amphibians and other aquatic organisms. New and devastating pathogens were discovered in frog species after the emergence of neonicotinoids. Another study found that exposure to low but constant concentrations of the pesticides has lethal effects on freshwater invertebrates. Experiments on native freshwater shrimps found that this type of exposure impaired their mobility and feeding behavior, leading to slow starvation. Invertebrates are critical links in aquatic ecosystems.

In 2012 it was reported that 6.7 million bats died in the U.S. due to a new pathogen called White Nose Syndrome. This fungal virus began decimating bat populations as the use of neonicotinoid pesticides ramped up in the early and mid-2000s. Bats feed on insects, and exposure to small cumulative doses of the chemicals reduces bats’ immune response, thereby leaving them susceptible to White Nose Syndrome.

Something so “effective” in the chemical agriculture system, as neonicotinoid pesticides are, is bound to have negative repercussions in the environment. The motivation is profit, and there is no profit in being concerned for wildlife. Producing chemical solutions and genetically-engineered, patented crops is the obsession of Bayer CropScience and its cohorts in the industry. And the U.S. government is a willing co-conspirator. While Europe has enacted a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, the U.S. plows on as if nothing is wrong.

Tens of millions of Florida bees mysteriously drop dead in one day, beekeepers blame pesticides

Real Farmacy (by Natural News)

Authorities have already ruled out disease, including the infamous “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD), as the cause of a recent honeybee holocaust that took place in Brevard County, Florida. The UK’s Daily Mail reports that up to 12 million bees from roughly 800 apiaries in the area all dropped dead at roughly the same time around September 26 — and local beekeepers say pesticides are likely to blame.

CCD is the term often used to describe the inexplicable mass die-off of honeybees around the world, which typically involves honeybees leaving their hives and, for whatever reason, never finding their way back home. Mass die-offs associated with CCD often occur at seemingly random locations around the world, and typically involve a gradual process of disappearance and eventual colony collapse — and the dead bees are typically nowhere to be found.

But the recent Florida event involved hundreds of colonies from 30 different sites in a one-and-a-half mile radius literally dropping dead all at the same time and leaving their carcasses behind, which is why authorities have dismissed CCD as the cause. Based on the appearance of the dead bees, as well as the synchronous timing of their deaths, pesticide sprayings appear to be the culprit in this case.

“I’m a pretty tough guy, but it is heart wrenching,” said Charles Smith of Smith Family Honey Company to News 13 in Orlando. His family’s company lost an estimated $150,000 worth of bees in the recent die-off. “Not only is it a monetary loss here, but we work really hard on these bees to keep them in good health.”

The Florida die-off coincides with a recent county-wide mosquito eradication effort, during which helicopters flew over various parts of the county and sprayed airborne pesticides. Officials, of course, deny that this taxpayer-funded spraying initiative had anything to do with the bee genocide, though.

“The fact that it was so widespread and so rapid, I think you can pretty much rule out disease,” said Bill Kern, an entomologist from the University of Florida (UF) to Florida Today. “It happened essentially almost in one day. Usually diseases affect adults or the brood, you don’t have something that kills them both.”

Many of the beekeepers who lost their hives in the mass killing raised their bees to sell to American farmers, who then used them to pollinate food crops. Because of their massive losses, many of these beekeepers could end up losing their entire beekeeping businesses.

Killing Bees In America & Worldwide Will Be The Death Of Humanity

Rense
by Frosty Wooldridge

The world-famous Harvard University biologist Edward O. Wilson speculates: “If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”

Each day, millions of middle class Americans across this country spray Roundup, Weed-Be-Gone, Termite Spray, Bug Killer, Wasp Spray and hundreds of other poisons onto their sidewalks, driveways, bushes, trees, flowers and onto their lawns. They kill everything that pecks, slithers, crawls, flaps, bites and breathes. Their mass slaughter includes bats, honey bees, flies, butterflies, mosquitoes, wasps, bumblebees and other pollinators. Billions upon trillions of insects suffer death via poisons that disrupt their breathing or digestive tracks.

As human life menacingly expands across the planet, it devours the natural world. It kills the balance of the natural world. It murders just about anything that flies, bites or burps. According to a High Country News report years ago, Americans kill 1 vertebrate crossing our roads (road kill) every 11.1 seconds. That equals to one million deaths every day of the year.(www.HighCountryNews.com) That equals 365 million creatures lose their lives to tires, boat propellers, fans, boats, jet intakes, aircraft propellers and other mechanical devices every single day of the year. Humans kill everything that runs, leaps, flies or swims—by the billions and trillions.

But we shall pay for our transgressions when it comes to the pollinators: bees, bats, wasps, butterflies and other insects.

Consider the coming collapse of the $30 billion honey bee economy in the US.

“Since 2006 honey bees responsible for pollinating more than 100 crops—from apples to zucchini—have been dying by the tens of millions,” said a Huffington Post report. “As a new report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) details, scientists are still struggling to pinpoint the cause of so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and time is running out. Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops.”

The report said, “CCD has wiped out some 10 million bee hives worth $2 billion over the past six years. The death rate for colonies has hit 30% annually in recent years and there are now about 2.5 million honey bee colonies in the US, down from 6 million in 1947 and 3 million in 1990. That downward spiral leaves “virtually no cushion of bees for pollination.”

With mounting information, it becomes downright frightening. For example: take almonds. California harvests more than 80 percent of the world’s almonds. But you can’t grow the nut without honey bees and it takes 60 percent of the US’s remaining colonies to pollinate that one $4 billion cash crop.”

“If the death toll continues at the present rate, that means there will soon be barely enough bees to pollinate almonds, let alone avocadoes, blueberries, pears or plums. “We are one poor weather event or high winter bee loss away from a pollination disaster,” USDA scientist Jeff Pettis said in the report.

Jacques Cousteau worried about what humans were doing to the ecosystem: “If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe to be replaced by the insect.”

Scientists report several factors—from disease-carrying parasites to pesticides. What sickens me stems from the fact that we know our chemicals disrupt every living creature in a cornfield, wheat field, potato field, tomato patch and bean acre. Yet we pour, spray and inject more and more poisons.

A beekeeper said, “Bees are vital to our lives as they are among the primary pollinators of our food plants. It has been deduced that if our native bees were to die out the effect on crops and wild flowers would be utterly catastrophic. As these crops and flowers provide food for our wild and farm animals we could easily lose up to a third of our regular diet. This is a very real problem, and one that is not getting the attention it needs.”

Bees and other pollinators allow humanity to thrive. Without them, we won’t survive the 21st century. I finding it particularly galling if not a whole new dimension of “stupid” for our species to continue expanding our numbers while we diminish insect numbers, rodent numbers, big beasts and avian numbers at a rate of one million daily via road kill in the USA alone.
But the wholesale poisoning via such insane herbicides like Roundup makes me sick to my stomach. Those poisons travel into the ground, into the angleworms, into the birds, into the bugs and finally into the water systems where they ultimately poison each and every one of us. How can we be this stupid?

We wonder why 1 out of 3 Americans suffers from the biggest killer in the USA: cancer. How stupid can we prove ourselves? How absolutely out of touch and in denial of reality can we be? What kind of intellectually and morally bankrupt greedy money-mongers make TV commercials parading Roundup to millions of really stupid, ignorant and uninformed Americans too fat and too lazy to bend down and pull out the weeds on their driveway with their hands?

To think that within another 37 years, our country will grow by 137 million Americans while the rest of the world adds another 3 billion people—all capable of using Roundup and hundreds of other poisons to kill the bees of the world. We prove ourselves to be the smartest—dumbest species on this planet. I’ll toss in arrogant, self-righteous and insanely dull of mind to boot.
Tama Janowitz puts the earthly competition between insects and humans this way: “Long after the bomb falls and you and your good deeds are gone, cockroaches, will still be here, prowling the streets like armored cars.”

If you would like to make a difference, please join these organizations for the most effective collective action you can take: www.CapsWeb.org ; www.NumbersUSA.org ; www.TheSocialContract.com ; www.Fairus.org

Related: Accelerating Disappearance of Earth’s Species, Plants and Animals Is Threatening Survival of Humankind

Peak Pollination: Global Collapse of Food Supplies Approaches As 30% of Bee Colonies Wiped Out In the Last Year

Investment Watch
by Mac Slavo

With seven billion people on the planet energy and food resources are already highly strained, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of the world’s population lives on just scraps a day.

It wouldn’t take much to send us over a cliff. The last several years have not only reduced food reserves significantly because of widespread droughts, but have led to price inflation in essential grains necessary to feed ourselves as well as the livestock on which millions of Americans depend.

The reality is that we’re just one major calamity away from a catastrophic impact on our ability to feed the people of earth.

And, according to recent data published by the Bee Informed Partnership, that calamity could come in the form of a totally unexpected event: Peak Pollination.

According to the latest survey results, an astounding 31.3 percent, or roughly one-third, of all managed bee colonies in the U.S. were wiped out during the most recent 2012/2013 winter season, a rate that represents a 42 percent increase compared to the number of colonies lost during the previous 2011/2012 winter season.


U.S. beekeepers on average lost more than 45 percent of their colonies during the 2012/2013 winter season, a 78.2 percent jump in losses over the previous season.


And overall, more than 70 percent of respondents, most of whom were backyard beekeepers, experienced losses beyond the 15 percent “acceptable” threshold, illustrating a monumental problem not only for bee survival but also for the American food supply.


…many are worried that this year-after-year compounded increase will very soon make it impossible for grow enough food.
“We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands,” says Dennis vanEngelstorp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland who led the survey. “If we want to grow fruits and nuts and berries, this is important.



One in every three bites [of food consumed in the U.S.] is directly or indirectly pollinated by bees.
Via: Natural News

The bee population has been diminishing at an astounding 30% per year over the last decade, a decline that is often overlooked or ignored by central planners.

Bees are absolutely essential to the cycle of life. In the United States they pollinate about 90% of flowering crops, including those used as feed for cattle.

Take away the bees and the majority of the world’s population will be dead within a year because there will be no way to pollinate the billions of pounds of fruits, vegetables and other plants required to keep all of us alive.

The most frightening thing about the destruction of bee colonies is that we have absolutely no idea what is causing it. It could be contaminants in the air such as industrial pollutants or radiation. Some have surmised that it’s electro-magnetic and radio signals from millions of internet-wired devices. Or, perhaps it’s the very plants the bees are pollinating, most of which are now genetically modified to serve corporate business interests.

Whatever the cause, we have no solution, which means we can expect this trend to continue.

Nature has struck a very delicate balance on our planet. From the thermo-halene circulation of our oceans to the oxygen and carbon dioxide in our air, even tiny changes make for significant global impacts.

At this pace it is only a matter of time before the population of bees on our planet falls below the threshold necessary to produce enough food required to meet global demand.

Adee Honey Farms of South Dakota, the largest beekeeping business in the country, lost 28,000 of its 70,000 hives. That’s about a billion bees gone missing. “It’s off the charts,” said Bret Adee. “It’s not a sustainable thing, what’s happening now.” (link)

How long before we go critical is anybody’s guess, but peak pollination is coming unless we can reverse the trend (something that doesn’t look very promising).

At current rates about half of the world’s bee population is being destroyed every two years.

These are massive numbers.

With bees responsible for pollinating about 35% of the food produced for global consumption, it’s easy to see how serious of a crisis we’ll face if Colony Collapse Disorder can’t be stopped.

Couple this with all of our other problems, both natural and man-made, and things could go very badly, very quickly.

Beemageddon’ threatens US with food disaster

RT

US honey bees have been dying by the tens of millions, with annual death rates of about 30 percent. With fewer bees to pollinate fruits and vegetables each year, ‘beemageddon’ may soon cause the collapse of the agriculture industry.

Honey bees pollinate more than 100 US crops, including apples, zucchinis, avocados and plums, that are worth more than $200 billion a year. Since 2006, about 10 million bee hives at an average value of $200 each have been lost in what scientists call the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), according to a new report by the US Department of Agriculture.

There are currently about 2.5 million honey bee colonies in the US, which is a drastic decrease from the 6 million that existed in 1947 and the 3 million that existed in 1990. Last winter alone, the honey bee population declined by 31.1 percent, with some beekeepers reporting losses of 90 to 100 percent. In the previous two winters, beekeepers lost about 22 percent of their populations.

“Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of US agricultural crops,” the USDA report states.

California’s almond crop, which blooms toward the end of winter, would suffer the most. About 80 percent of the global almond supply comes from the Golden State’s orchards, and 70 percent of the state’s crop is marketed overseas.

US beekeepers truck about 1.5 million out-of-state colonies to the almond orchards each year, which depend on the insect’s pollination. The colonies are tasked with pollinating about 760,000 acres of almond trees at the end of each winter. It takes 60 percent of all US bee colonies to pollinate the $4 billion crop.

Zac Browning, a beekeeper, told NPR that the almond orchards have become “ground zero in commercial beekeeping” and that many beekeepers drive over from their home base in the Midwest.

But with a bee shortage that gets worse every year, many of the almond orchards will never be pollinated, which could eventually cause a global almond shortage and economic consequences for the US.

The USDA knows how the agriculture industry will be affected by the large-scale bee die-offs, but does not know why exactly they are dying in such numbers. The report cites “multiple factors… including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure”, while also citing last summer’s drought as a contributing factor.

“Undernourished or malnourished bees appear to be more susceptible to pathogens, parasites, and other stressors, including toxins,” the USDA report states.

During CCDs, surviving adult bees abandon their hives, leaving behind the queen bee, brood and food stores.

“Bees across the country are not in as good a shape as last year,” Eric Mussen, a University of California bee specialist, told the Christian Science Monitor. “When you stress them far enough, the bees just give in.”

After large-scale honey bee die-offs each winter, beekeepers try to restore their populations in the summer. But with the populations dropping so low, the economic ramifications are almost unavoidable.

The European Commission suspects that neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine, might be responsible – at least partially – for the die-offs and the CCDs. Honey bees have also died off in unusually large numbers in Europe, prompting the commission to impose a two-year ban on neonicotinoids last month to give scientists time to review the chemicals’ impact on bee health.

But US officials have stated that they don’t have enough evidence to ban neonicotinoids. And with a drastically decreasing honey bee population, ‘beemageddon’ might be just around the corner.

“We are one poor weather event or high winter bee loss away from a pollination disaster,” Jeff Pettis, the USDA’s bee research leader, said in the report.