F&M professor part of team that studied decline of wild bees
(Lancaster) — The declining population has received a lot of attention in recent years.

But a professor at one midstate college is out with one of the first studies analyzing the health of wild bees.
– whether or wild bees – are essential to the U.S. food supply.
They help many fruits and vegetables, from blueberries and cherries to pumpkins and squashes.
Franklin and Marshall College Biology Professor Eric Lonsdorf is part of a team of researchers who looked into wild bees.
What they found is not good — the population is down, and their habitat is being turned into industrial farm land.

Speaking on WITF’s Smart Talk, Lonsdorf says with fewer wild bees, farmers have to bring in expensive managed honey bees.

“We don’t necessarily see a decline in the production of the food. But what we do see is that the cost of that production going up. I mean I know it used to be under $100 and now in some places it’s hitting close to $200 per hive,” he says.

“And so it’s really in these huge industrial farm land areas where we see lots of intense management of the soil, and a lot of heavy mowing and herbicides that we see a huge decline in bees.”

Lonsdorf says grocery shoppers may have to pay more for fruits and vegetables.

He says more habitat would solve the problem, but with the emphasis on ethanol fuel, many areas are being turned into corn fields.


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