Bees face extinction as billions of colonies die worldwide

By | May 3, 2010

The world faces a future with little meat and no cotton because of a catastrophic collapse in bee colonies, experts have warned.

Many vital crops are dependent on pollination by honeybees, but latest figures show a third failed to survive the winter in the U.S.

More than three million colonies in America and billions of bees worldwide have died since 2006.

Pesticides are believed to be a key cause of a crisis known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CDD), damaging bee health and making them more susceptible to disease.

But scientists do not know for certain and are at a loss how to prevent the disaster. Other potential factors include bloodsucking parasites and infections.

Some experts believe bees are heading for extinction.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the U.S. fell by 34 per cent last winter, according to a survey by the country’s Agricultural Research Service, and some commercial beekeepers have reported losses of more than 60 per cent over a year.

In Britain, the latest report into the fate of the estimated 250,000 honeybee  colonies is expected this month after losses of up to a third in the last two  winters.

Bees are a critical part of the food chain because flowering plants depend on  insects for pollination and the honeybee is the most effective.

It pollinates 90 commercial crops worldwide, including most fruit and  vegetables – from apples to carrots – alfalfa for cattle feed, nuts, oil-seed  rape and cotton.

A world without honeybees would mean a largely meatless diet of rice and  cereals, no cotton for textiles, no orchards or wildflowers and decimation  among wild birds and animals in the bee food chain.

Bees are worth £26 billion to the global economy, and £200 million in Britain.

‘Bees contribute to global food security and their extinction would represent a  terrible biological disaster,’ said Bernard Vallat of the World Organisation  for Animal Health.

U.S. scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and  pollen, increasing fears that pesticides are a key problem.

The wipe-out of so many colonies has been dubbed ‘Marie Celeste’ syndrome  because many hives have been found empty, with no sign of dead bees.

The British government’s National Bee Unit denies the existence of CDD over  here, blaming the bloodsucking varroa mite and rainy summers that have stopped  bees foraging for food.

via Bees face extinction as billions of colonies die worldwide | Mail Online.

2 thoughts on “Bees face extinction as billions of colonies die worldwide

  1. Aeve

    Petition to help save bees, a message from

    Quietly, globally, billions of bees are being killed off threatening our crops and food. But a global ban of one group of pesticides could save bees from extinction.

    Since banning this poison in four European countries, bee populations have soared. But chemical companies are lobbying hard to keep their killer pesticide on the market. A global outcry now for a ban in the US and EU, where debate is raging, could provoke ripple effect around the world.

    Let’s build a giant global buzz calling for these dangerous chemicals to be outlawed in the US and EU until and unless they are proved to be safe. Sign the petition to save bees and our crops and send this to everyone:

    1. Xeno Post author

      Thanks. I checked out Avaaz and it looks like a legit org, so I signed this bee petition.

      here is controversy over the role of neonicotinoids in relation to pesticide toxicity to bees and imidacloprid effects on bee population. Neonicotinoid use has been strictly limited in France since the 1990s, when neonicotinoids were implicated in a mass die-off of the bee population. It is believed by some to account for worker bees neglecting to provide food for eggs and larvae, and for a breakdown of the bees’ navigational abilities and possibly leading to what has become generally known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which is usually associated with the mite pest Varroa destructor.[4][5]

      In May 2008, Germany banned seed treatment with neonicotinoids due to negative effects upon bee colonies. Bee keepers suffered a severe decline linked to the use of clothianidin in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany,[6] allegedly connected to a failure to apply a ‘glue’ agent that affixes the compound to the coats of seeds. The manufacturer maintains that without the fixative agent, the compound drifted into the environment from sown rapeseed and sweetcorn and then affected the honeybees.

      The 2009 documentary Vanishing of the Bees suggests that a link between neonicotinoid pesticides and colony collapse disorder does exist, although the experts interviewed conceded that insufficient data exists in order to make a conclusive case.[7]

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