The promise of solid action to halt the decline in the honey bee population at least in the US!

The White House released three goals for saving honeybees and other pollinators, which are crucial to the nation’s economy. But money isn’t enough, one expert says.

The White House announced a new plan for halting the precipitous decline in honeybees and other pollinators on Tuesday, winning praise from scientists and farmers worried about the collapse of bee colonies but also illustrating the difficulty of bringing back insects crucial for sustaining the food supply.

“The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment,” U.S. President Barack Obama wrote in a memorandum announcing the plan. (Read “Quest for a Superbee” in National Geographic magazine.)

More than half of managed U.S. honeybee colonies have mysteriously disappeared in the past ten years. Honeybees pollinate a third of the U.S. diet, from nuts to produce—not to mention coffee and cotton. In 2010 the insects, originally from Eurasia and northern Africa, contributed to more than $19 billion worth of crops in the U.S. (Read more about the announcement on our food blog: “White House Puts Honey Where Its Mouth Is.”)

Pesticides, fungicides, and viruses, among other factors, have contributed to the honeybees’ decline. The seven known species of honeybee are vulnerable to parasites, such as the bloodsucking varroa mite, which deforms their bodies and shortens their life spans.

 

 

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