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Bee Population Reaches A Record Loss

Over the duration of the 20th century, 50 percent of wild bee species were lost in the U.S.

Just this last winter, honey-beekeepers reported an average bee die-off of 50 percent, which is the highest the die-off rate has been in the last forty years.

Of all the foods we eat, at least 75 percent rely on the pollination of bees, including blueberries, almonds, and coffee (which is already under ecological strain).

This furthermore threatens the existence of  animal species whose diets are comprised solely on berries, nuts, and other pollination dependent fruit and seeds.

According to the USDA , this loss can mostly be attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

This is a phenomenon in which the adult honey bees abandon their hive for unknown reasons, leaving their colony to collapse in their absence. Often in hives where CCD has occurred, a live queen will be present, along with broods, but there will be little to no traces of adult bees; nor any remains suggesting dead bees.

A specific cause of CCD has not been identified, but certainly there are many environmental stresses, in addition to poor management with overcrowded conditions and long distance transportation of bees.

However, many are accusing neonicotinoids for acting as the main culprit of CCD. Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides that include clothianidin,  thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid. Ironically, these pesticides were introduced in the 1990s as being less hazardous to honey bees.

Even nurseries use neonicotinoids, often more than is used on farms. So, while we attempt to grow healthier food in our backyards we end up plugging the soil with toxic plants, killing bees in the process.

But even those who have the wits (or at least, ought to) to avoid threats to bees are undermining the advice of professionals. A few years ago, the EPA knowingly harmed bees when they allowed the use of clothianindin (of the neonicotinoids family just mentioned), despite warnings from their own scientists against it.

If you tend to a garden of your own, you can help your local pollinators by ensuring all your plants are grown without the use of pesticides – before and after they have left the nursery.

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