A widespread honeybee die-off, known as “colony collapse disorder,” has seen bees disappear from hundreds of thousands of hives around the world this winter.
Experts are scrambling to explain why bees are fleeing their hives en masse and dying elsewhere.
Honeybees affect one-third of all food eaten in America and the United Kingdom, pollinating orchards, gardens and crops.
Twenty-four U.S. states have been affected, as have Scotland, Spain, Italy, Poland, Greece and other parts of Europe.
A Pennsylvania beekeeper blames a new insecticide used to treat agricultural crops, while scientists on the West Coast say the culprit is cold weather and mites.
In California, one local beekeeper bought twice the normal number of bees to help ensure local farm crops are pollinated and productive, the Simi Valley Acorn reports.
A essay in Reason Magazine (“Free minds and free markets”) critiques recent claims by the Sierra Club that biotech crops are to blame. The author says the studies cited find no such link and points out that the problem has spread to hives across biotech-free Europe.
“Is new pesticide less than bee-nign?”
The Ellsworth American (ME), April 12, 2007
“Hives left ‘like Mary Celeste’ as bees mysteriously vanish”
The Scotsman (U.K.), April 14, 2007
“Weather, mite infestation put county’s bee population at risk”
Simi Valley Acorn (CA), April 13, 2007
“Plight of the bumblebee”
Reason Magazine, April 13, 2007