New research shows that the loss of bees in agricultural areas is hampering the supply of a number of key food crops. Biodiversity experts have for years raised alarm bells over the consequences of continued decline in pollinators. The latest study shows that the loss of wild bees due to habitat destruction, pesticide use and the climate crisis could pose serious complications for global food security.
A lack of bees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, a new US-based study has found, suggesting that declines in the pollinators may have serious ramifications for global food security. Species of wild bees, such as bumblebees, are suffering from a loss of flowering habitat, the use of toxic pesticides and, increasingly, the climate crisis.
“A perfect storm” of obstacles is threatening thousands of Alberta beehives. “It’s almost been like a perfect storm in the last year,” said Ron Greidanus, owner of Greidanus Honey Farm in Stettler and a board member of the Alberta Beekeepers Commission. “There’s no one particular reason for it. There are a number of significant contributing factors.”
On May 20, the world will celebrate bees, one of the insects that most actively contributes to the global population's food security and nutrition, as 75% of the world's crops depend on pollinators like them. Some pollinators, such as bees, birds, and bats affect 35% of the world's agricultural production, having an influence on the production of 87 of the world's main food crops and of many medicines derived from plants.
Agricultural chemicals may be responsible for wiping out beehives in the Bay of Plenty, East Coast and Waikato. Scientists have found traces of neonicotinoid (also known as "neonics") insecticides in the soil at nine North Island sites more than a year after coated seeds were planted. They were all maize fields.
Alberta’s beekeeping industry is hoping for help from the province after consecutive years of rough weather has contributed to low honey crops and losses over winter. The past two winters have seen Alberta beekeepers taking a loss of $20 million, and this year’s cold, wet spring and summer saw 67 percent of beekeepers suffering crop losses of 50 percent or greater.
Spring is a busy time for honey producers. Throw in the destructive antics of some hungry bears and it can all add up to one giant and expensive nuisance. And this spring is no different than previous ones for one New Brunswick producer, except this year the marauding bears have been bringing along the family to sample the luscious, fresh honey.
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