agriculture, Almond, almonds, American Bee Journal, Bee, beekeepers, bees, California, Colony Collapse Disorder, crops, Deadly, Death, diseases, flowers, food supply, fruit, global, hives, honey, Honey bee, honeybees, insecticide, Lethal, nectar, Neonicotinoid, nutrition, pesticides, pollen, pollination, United States, vegetables, world
Two studies have found that the pesticide neonicotinoid, used since 1990, is contributing to killing the honeybees needed for pollination of our food crops. Our food supply is reliant on bees to pollinate the crops. They contribute to $15 billion worth of our food supply. In fact, it’s estimated that one third of the food in our diet is connected to honeybees in some way. Honeybees pollinate our corn, apples, almonds, lemons, broccoli, onions, cherries, oranges, avocadoes, and other fruits, vegetables and flowers, not to mention honey. California‘s almond crop will soon be at stake, as the trees need pollination every year and there are not enough honeybees to do the job.
Neonicotinoid insecticide is contributing to the declining bee population in the U.S. and around the world. The pesticide affects over 94 million acres of land, via seeds treated before they are planted, especially corn, cotton and sunflower seeds. Even small amounts of neonicotinoid make the bees more susceptible to other diseases, and reduces their homing ability. Continued exposure to the chemical is fatal to honeybees. Colony Collapse Disorder caused beekeepers to lose up to 90 percent of their hives in 2006.
Honeybees dying caused the worst honey production year in 2012, and may lead to a crisis in the California almond industry. The American Bee Journal reported that the shortage of nectar and pollen in the hives in 2012 took a toll on the bee colonies as the bees suffered from poor nutrition. Fewer bees survived the winter. Of the 1.6 million bee colonies that California relies on to pollinate the almonds, 500,000 come directly from California and the rest are brought in by trucks from across North America. The loss of bee colonies could wreak havoc with the almond pollination period in California, and lead to an economic loss for California almond growers, as well as higher prices of almonds for consumers. California supplies 80 percent of the world’s almonds, three quarters of which are shipped worldwide. Almonds are a $3 billion industry.