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There's still just as much work to do - making honey and pollinating the nation's crops - but not nearly as many bees to get it done.
Over the past six months, an invasive bloodsucking bug has killed off half the U.S. honey-bee population in a sort of Darwinian downsizing.
And the effects may soon set produce aisles abuzz as shoppers find certain fruits and veggies harder to come by.
"At some point, the economic system is going to kick in here, and somebody's going to go short," said Jerry Hayes, chief bee-minder for the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Source: Kansas City Star
Like Mr. Uzzell, many Americans are lining up to ease a looming pollination problem, tugged by the promise of honey money and an agri-patriotism: The struggling bumblers pollinate $15 billion worth of agricultural products in the US every year, a critical link in the growing cycle of everything from cantaloupe to tomatoes. Easily domesticated, and crowding into hives by the tens of thousands, honeybees are perhaps the world's perfect pollinators, and their shortage has farmers scrambling.
The stakes were raised this winter, when Asian "vampire" mites, grown immune to pesticides, ravaged the hibernating hives. In Pennsylvania, some farmers opened their hives this spring to find that 75 percent of their bees had perished. Florida, where beekeepers send their hives for the colder months, took a huge hit. Orange-grove owner Rob Dye says he's lucky that a friend put a couple of hives at the edge of his 40 acres. "There have been no bees on that property for some time," says Mr. Dye.
Always excellent pollinators - they gather in large numbers and, once domesticated, easily withstand being transported to farms in need - the honeybee is in higher demand than ever. Many beekeepers who normally winter their bees in Florida have instead shipped them to California, where almond growers are paying triple the usual hive fee to have bees in residence.
But despite that call of "Go West, young bee," California farmers are bracing for a 16 percent decline in almond yields, according to the US Department of Agriculture's California Statistical Office.
Source: CBS News
Originally posted by KhieuSamphan
Yeah, I had heard about this story. Bees tend to be under pressure these days, what with loss of habitat and pesticide poisoning. This will just add to their woes.
Originally posted by Valhall
Well, unless they keep stinging Springer when he's mowing - we have a pretty good hive going in an old dead post oak on our property and we'll do all we can to keep them alive.