Archive for Friday, June 27, 2008

Bee crisis could boost food prices

June 27, 2008


— Food prices could rise even more unless the mysterious decline in honey bees is solved, farmers and businessmen told lawmakers Thursday.

"No bees, no crops," North Carolina grower Robert D. Edwards told a House Agriculture subcommittee. Edwards said he had to cut his cucumber acreage in half because of the lack of bees available to rent.

About three-quarters of flowering plants rely on birds, bees and other pollinators to help them reproduce. Bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion annually in crop value.

In 2006, beekeepers began reporting losing 30 percent to 90 percent of their hives. This phenomenon has become known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Scientists do not know how many bees have died; beekeepers have lost 36 percent of their managed colonies this year. It was 31 percent for 2007, said Edward B. Knipling, administrator of the Agriculture Department's Agricultural Research Service.

"If there are no bees, there is no way for our nation's farmers to continue to grow the high quality, nutritious foods our country relies on," said Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza of California, chairman of the horticulture and organic agriculture panel. "This is a crisis we cannot afford to ignore."

Food prices have gone up 83 percent in three years, according to the World Bank.

Edward R. Flanagan, who raises blueberries in Milbridge, Maine, said he could be forced to increase prices tenfold or go out of business without the beekeeping industry. "Every one of those berries owes its existence to the crazy, neurotic dancing of a honey bee from flower to flower," he said.

The cause behind the disorder remains unknown.


1derer 9 years, 7 months ago

I wonder how many of the farmers who are renting bees are also using pesticides on their crops?

shlomoek 9 years, 7 months ago

Apparently, I didn't learn how to spell thread.

Tara Painter 9 years, 7 months ago

Maybe if we put more time into figuring this out and not on the war. Gas price's are already crazy we don't need crazy food price's too.

Ragingbear 9 years, 7 months ago

Caton, here is something to consider.Bees are vital to the existence of many plants, including a majority of agricultural foods. Honey is pretty much pure sugar. Sugar can be used to make ethanol. An ancient Scandinavian alcoholic beverage known as mead was made from honey.Corn is a self-pollinating plant. This means that bees play no role in corn development. Contrary to popular belief, bees are not the only insects responsible for plant pollination. The cocoa flower (from which chocolate comes from) for example, is pollinated by a breed akin to the common housefly. Honey has certain anti-septic qualities. Which is why it is one of the materials used in ancient Egyptian Mummification.Honey has a shelf life like no other. Honey found in jars inside ancient Egyptian burial tombs has been judged by people to still be edible. Honey is pretty much bee vomit. Wax is basically a form of bee fat. I believe that if ethanol is ever going to become a usable form of fuel, that we need to do more research into seeing if it can be made from trace harvesting from honeybees. Basically fueling cars on honey, which is not taking away from anything other than honey.

gr 9 years, 7 months ago

Interesting that our food supply is now dependent upon an imported exotic. What did we do for food before importing honeybees?

shlomoek 9 years, 7 months ago

I guess the bees don't do it.I learned a lot from this comment tread.Thanks guys and gals.

Ragingbear 9 years, 7 months ago

Interesting factoid. European honeybees are American honeybees. Honey bees are not native to the American continents. Other breeds of bees include the African (killer), the Japanese honeybee, and the Cape Honey Bee. The Cape Honey Bee is capable of causing other hives to burn themselves out while releasing impostor queens that will assault other hives. They will not distinguish between other beehives. I can't help but wonder if we are dealing with a Cape Honeybee problem. If that is the case, it will eventually correct itself. But not after we see a much larger honey crisis.

notajayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Countdown to someone blaming the president for the bee problem in543...

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