[ExI] (tt) (RawStory) Nearly a third of honey bee colonies died in U.S. last winter (fwd)
rtomek at ceti.pl
Wed May 8 17:49:28 UTC 2013
(So, perhaps we don't really need to worry about oil or polar bears - TR)
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Nearly a third of honey bee colonies died in U.S. last winter
By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 16:36 EDT
Honey bees walk on a moveable comb hive at the Bee Research
Laboratory, in Beltsville, Maryland, August 22, 2007. (AFP)
Topics: honey bees cD- us department of agriculture
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Nearly a third of the honey bee colonies in the United States died
this past winter, sharply higher proportion than a year ago, according
to an official report released Tuesday.
The US population of managed honey bee colonies fell by 31.1 percent
in the October 2012-April 2013 period, said the preliminary report by
the US Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the Apiary
Inspectors of America and The Bee Informed Partnership.
Bees are vital pollinators in fruit and vegetable production and have
been dying in significant numbers in recent years, some stricken by
Colony Collapse Disorder, the sudden loss of all bees in a colony. The
cause remains unknown.
The just-ended winter's losses were 42 percent higher than in the
prior winter, when 21.9 percent of the bee colonies died, but were in
line with the average loss of 30.5 percent over the past six years.
The latest findings were based on responses of more than 6,000 US
beekeepers which represent almost 23 percent of the nation's total
estimated 2.62 million colonies.
The beekeepers said that a loss rate of 15 percent was "acceptable"
but 70 percent of them had heavier losses than that, the report said.
There were more colonies that dwindled away, rather than suffering
from Colony Collapse Disorder, which was not reported as a major cause
of colony loss for the second straight year.
One key difference stood out in this year's survey, the researchers
said. Beekeepers who took honey bees to California to pollinate
almonds reported higher losses than beekeepers who did not take their
bees to pollinate almonds.
Almost 20 percent of the beekeepers who pollinated almonds lost at
least 50 percent of their colonies, the report said.
The US Department of Agriculture, in a report last week, said an
investigation into the decline in honey bee health has found multiple
factors, "including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition
and pesticide exposure."
The USDA called for further research to determine risks from
"Acute and sublethal effects of pesticides on honey bees have been
increasingly documented, and are a concern but it is not clear, based
on current research, whether a pesticide exposure is a major factor
associated with US honey bee health declines," it said.
In a lawsuit in March several beekeepers and environmental groups
accused the US Environmental Protection Agency of failing to protect
pollinators and challenging practices that speed to market about
two-thirds of all pesticides.
The suit seeks to suspend the EPA registrations of pesticides that
have been identified as toxic to bees.
Last week the European Commission said it would impose the world's
first continent-wide ban on three pesticides which environmentalists
say are killing the bees that pollinate Europe's crops.
The insecticides -- imidacloprid and clothianidin produced by Bayer,
and thiamethoxam by Syngenta -- are used to treat seeds, and are
applied to the soil or sprayed on bee-attractive plants and cereals.
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