We have a SLIGHT reprieve on the US bee emergency: on Friday, July 13, Agriculture Undersecretary Gale Buchanan warned, “There were enough honey bees to provide pollination for US agriculture this year, but beekeepers could face a serious problem next year and beyond.”
Of course, Gale Buchanan was only referring to the US problem. There is a serious problem in Europe as well, and the state of honeybee populations is not known in much of Asia and Africa, where there is no organized effort to measure them and no real idea of whether or not colony collapse disorder is a problem.
Beekeepers are able to restock lost populations by importing bees and purchasing domestic colonies from unaffected suppliers, but if colony collapse disorder continues at its present rate, a bee shortage will develop next spring, and in the hardest hit areas, it will be severe enough to affect pollination of crops.
Agriculture Department agencies are still struggling to obtain accurate ideas about just how many colonies are involved, and as yet there is no clear explanation for the disorder. Everything from electromagnetic radiation to various pesticides and even genetically engineered crops are under study as possible culprits.
The House Agricultural Committee is considering a draft farm bill that would including funding for CCD at this time, and it is expected to pass.
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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