USDA honey bee report worse than ever — Congress holds a hearing

The USDA just released a report on the state of America’s honey bees, and the news is not that sweet.

As this Reuters graphic shows, beekeepers reported a loss of 42.1 percent of their colonies in 2014/2015. Summer losses were 27.4 percent, and for the first time on record exceeded the winter rate, which was 23.1 percent. More than two-thirds of the 6,128 beekeepers surveyed reported winter loss rates above the 18.7 percent rate deemed the tipping point for economic sustainability.

Bees impact 50-80 percent of the global food supply, so the issue extends beyond healthy sweeteners. A Cornell University study reported that insect pollinators contribute $29 billion to the U.S. farm economy, and the country has an estimated 2.74 million managed bee colonies which pollinate one-third of the country’s fruit and vegetable crops.

Indeed, the situation is serious enough to attract Washington’s attention: A subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture convened this week for a public hearing…

Whoop-de-doo. Congress holding a hearing is about as useful as looking through the Sears Roebuck catalogue for remedies for teen pregnancy. The advice is more out-of-date than the hardware.

5 thoughts on “USDA honey bee report worse than ever — Congress holds a hearing

  1. News item says:

    “Mysterious ‘Zombie Bee’ Plague Spreads to Virginia” https://weather.com/science/nature/news/zombie-bees-zombees-apocephalus-borealis-parasites-collinsville-virginia “Flies known as Apocephalus borealis are to blame for this epidemic. They attach themselves to the bees and inject them with their eggs, which causes the bees to behave erratically and display “zombie-like” behavior, the AP also said. This includes the insects flying at night and flying toward light, like Berry’s bees. The insects typically die within hours and fly larvae burst out of their carcasses days later. “They basically eat the insides out of the bee,” said San Francisco State University biologist John Hafernik, who discovered the first case of zombie bees in California in 2008. He began the website Zombeewatch.org, which offers simple instructions for collecting bees suspected of being infected, and for watching for signs of the parasites.”

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