All should care about the plight of the honeybee

Apr 16, 2013

Beekeepers in the area are concerned about the disappearance of their honeybees, but it is a problem everyone should be concerned about.

The Environmental Protection Agency is referring to this problem as Colony Collapse Disorder and reports show case dating back to 2006. The problem is widespread, so much so that one man in Buncombe County is making a living by “renting” his bees to farmers to pollenate their crops or orchards.

Honeybees provide vital benefits to our agriculture and economy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honeybees pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops, which makes up one-third of what we eat.

The loss of these hard workers could affect food production, which in turn affects many other industries. It would devastate the harvesting of apples, strawberries, blueberries, soybeans, cucumbers and alfalfa. Agriculture is a huge part of our economy whether directly through farming, fresh markets and farm to table restaurants.

The cause of the disappearing bees seems to be uncertain though some scientists attribute the decreased populations to pesticide exposure, invasive parasitic mites, an inadequate food supply, or a new virus that targets bees’ immune systems.

A source of the problem needs to be found before irreversible damage is done.

Until then, it is important for the public to educate themselves on the vital role bees have on our ecosystem, the negative effects of pesticides and figure out a way to foster a healthy bee population.

You may want to consider trying to keep your own bees like Andy and Robin Bailey, especially if you have a garden, orchard or farm. And if you have crops, you may want to consider an organic technique so pesticides won’t potentially kill off your bees. Pesticides are of little use if they are contributing to fewer bees pollinating the crops.

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