Thursday, January 10, 2008

Our Bees Are Dying

The idea seems so absurd, but toward the end of 2006, everyone in the United States agricultural community had noticed that bees – especially in America’s Northeast region – are becoming scarce.

By: Vanessa Uy

Albert Einstein once said that if all the bees in the world were to disappear, the human race has only four years to live. Bees are extremely important to agricultural crops because without bees not only will our food crops fail to yield their fruits, our food crops won’t be able to reproduce without the aid of bees in their pollination. Remember apiculture (bee keeping) is more than just producing honey.

The phenomenon that describes the continuing decline of honeybee population in the United States is called: “Colony Collapse Disorder.” Colony Collapse Disorder was first observed in a blueberry farm in the state of Maine. Ken State University had conducted bee “autopsies” in the field where Colony Collapse Disorder had occurred. Dennis Van Engelsdorp, one of the researchers investigating the phenomenon have found out that autopsies conducted on the dead bees show that signs of disease are present but the cause is still a mystery. As of the middle of May 2007 the preliminary findings suggest that “Colony Collapse Disorder” -might be caused -by an agent that affects the bee’s immune system.

Even though the jury is still out, “Colony Collapse Disorder” has already been declared as a “calamity” by various farm and agricultural communities in the US. Watermelons and other honeybee dependent crops have shown decline in their yields during the past two years. This had cost farmers millions of dollars in lost yields. At present, “Colony Collapse Disorder” is still localized in the northeastern part of the United States. If we don’t understand this phenomena and create a solution before this spreads around the world, mankind is doomed.

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