Why are all the honeybees dying? In the last year alone, a shocking 50 percent of of the hives needed to pollinate many of the country's crops were completely wiped out. Scientists say growing evidence points to a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids:
The Agricultural Department, according to a recent article in The New York Times, underscores the importance of bees to our country's food supply: "A quarter of the American diet, from apples to cherries to watermelons to onions, depends on pollination by honeybees. Fewer bees means smaller harvests and higher food prices."
For years scientists have been unable to pinpoint the cause of this mysterious malady, and the latest round of bee deaths have been particularly alarming. Beekeepers now suspect the cause is "a growing soup" of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides used to control pests on crops:
While each substance has been certified, there has been less study of their combined effects. Nor, many critics say, have scientists sufficiently studied the impact of neonicotinoids, the nicotine-derived pesticide that European regulators implicate in bee deaths. The explosive growth of neonicotinoids since 2005 has roughly tracked rising bee deaths.
For more on the latest developments in the mysterious case of the missing bees, read the full article linked below:
Related: Why Bees Are So Important To Your Food
(Image: Flickr user Ryan Wick licensed for use under Creative Commons)