Saturday, May 14, 2016

Apiarists Lost 44% of Their Colonies

The stats are in and they are grim for honeybees.  Keepers lost 44% of their colonies last year, the highest level of mortality in six years. These losses are considered to be unsustainable for US agriculture that relies on honeybees to pollinate a third of the annual fruit and vegetable crop. The continued use of massive amounts of pesticides, both commercially and by homeowners, is contributing to the decline of the honeybee. One class of ubiquitous compounds, neonicotinoids, has been implicated by several studies.  Europe has already moved to ban or restrict their use. The US EPA is still studying the issue in the face of significant pressure from the chemical industry to not do anything. The agency has issued a preliminary finding that neonicotinoids above 25ppb pose a risk to honeybees. But it is attempting to sidestep the issue by passing off responsibility to states for formulating pesticide use plans to save honeybees from ultimate destruction.