The Honeybee population around the U.S. is struggling. Furthermore, it’s struggling to a point of being threatened in a way that hasn’t been seen before. In fact, scientists are completely stunned, by the way, the honeybee population is struggling. They’ve found that even as colonies of honeybees aren’t dying like they once were, the overall population is still falling dramatically. They have pointed out that the sharp decline in population during the summer has played an intricate role in making this happen.
Jeff Pettis of USDA Agricultural Research Center’s Bee Research Laboratory pointed out, “Beekeepers in some cases are replacing half their operations during the year.” That is largely due to pesticides and other chemicals that are making their way to the crops that the honeybees ultimately pollinate. This is a problem because it’s putting beekeepers in a tough place financially and physically. While it’s costly to replace bees like that, it also can take a physical toll on the crops that are requiring pollination.
Even worse, Pettis pointed out, “We’ve always known that we had summer losses. We just never tried to quantify it before.” That might be the most telling and compelling information that has been offered on the subject to date. Unfortunately, this is something that only began getting researched very recently. This though is something significant that can do major damage to the honeybee population as a whole. It’s important to understand the landscape of the honeybee population and how it’s shifted over the course of the last several years. This is the first meaningful survey to take a hard look at these issues.
Dennis vanEngelsdorp, who led the survey, said of the results, “It’s better news than it could have been.” He went on to point out that “One year does not make a trend,” and that waiting and learning more is what scientists have to do first and foremost. However, these two individuals weren’t the only two with a voice on the matter.
Keith Delaplane of the University of Georgia, who also was a member of the team pointed out that, “What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’re some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems. We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.” These are just some of the concerns that have been vocalized as the results come out. Ultimately, there are a number of individuals from the agricultural community who share strong feelings on the matter, due to how directly they’re impacted by the issue.