Bee’s Dying all over the World

Bees are dying all over the world, and nobody is sure why it is happening. Up to 40 percent of U.S. beekeeper hives failed to survive the past winter, making this the worst season so far on record. In part this was the result of a mysterious and growing phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in which bees fly off en masse and never return to their hive.

Agricultural production is beginning to take a hit from the loss of bees. In California’s Central Valley at the end of February, there weren’t enough commercially bred bees to pollinate all of the 800,000 acres of almond trees. Some desperate almond farmers actually flew in the precious insects from Australia to service their trees. Almonds aside, fully one out of every three bites of food that we eat were produced with the help of insect pollinators.

Domestic bees aren’t the only ones in trouble. Wild pollinators have been diminishing too. Feral honey bee populations in the U.S. have dropped an alarming 90 percent in the last 50 years. Some species are teetering on the edge of extinction. Fifteen pollinators are listed as endangered in the U.S. alone. The World Conservation Union forecasts that, largely as a result of global declines in wild pollinators, over 20,000 flowering plant species are likely to disappear over the next few decades.

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