To bee or not to be: Five foods we’d miss without bees
If the bees of the world continue to die at the current pace, these foods, and many others, may face extinction.
Bees are not doing too well, currently. According the the British Beekeepers Association, the number of bee colonies that failed, with almost all the bees dying, was greater than 33%. A like percentage of American colonies, which amounts to approximately 800,000 bees, have also died.
Part of the bees’ problem is the use of corn syrup to feed bees kept in industrial hives. It is theorized that corn syrup accelerates the occurrence of a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder. This will in turn have a catastrophic effect on a $30 billion farming industry that depends on crop pollination by bees.
As one way to address the situation, the idea of sperm banks for bees has been suggested by scientists working at Washington State University. But ,while the European Union has banned specific pesticides because they have been found to harm and even kill the insects, in the U.S., the EPA has approved a new, and more bee-poisonous, pesticide. Called sulfoxaflor, and manufactured by Dow Chemical, it has been approved to be used on almost all crops, even though the same EPA describes it as “highly toxic to… bees.”
While there is hope that a portion of the bee population, and thus the species itself, will survive the onslaught of chemicals and poisons being sprayed everywhere, the tens of millions of bees that normally pollinate the same large numbers of crops will disappear.
Each and every individual piece of fruit on each and every individual fruit tree must be pollinated by a bee in the early spring. Almost all vegetables and nuts need this to come into existence, as well as tomatoes, pepper, peas, been, and squash. Reports are that a higher percentage of bees have died in China, then in the rest of the world. Hand pollination by humans is becoming an industry there.