Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Scary Fact: A "Witch's Brew" Has Destroyed 10 Million Beehives In 6 Years

Just possibly, stopping what is killing bees is something about which even Republicans and Democrats in Congress could agree.  After all, no matter one's politics, we all need to eat, and eating becomes difficult without bees. Congressional dysfunction, however, is so bad that I wonder whether Congress could enact even clearly needed remedies to save bees.

Something nasty and mysterious is exterminating bees and putting bees and us, including those humans in Congress, in real trouble. Indeed, Colony Collapse Disorder has destroyed 10 million beehives in 6 years. So, what's killing the bees and threatening our food supply?

"Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives."

A parasite called Nosema Ceranae and pesticides that weaken bees ability to withstand the parasite are now the leading suspect.  The bad news is that this latest research does not identify just one pesticide as the problem but suggests a "brew" of pesticides that combine with the parasite is devastating bee colonies. Solving Colony Collapse Disorder, therefore, is going to be more difficult than removing one pesticide from the environment.

But solve it we must, if we want to protect agriculture and keep eating.

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