Fact: I Like Food and I Like Eating

I like food and I like eating.  I’ve been known do it several times a day.  Sometime MORE than several times.

Some of my favorite foods include: Kiwifruit, Bacon, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Bacon, Cashew, Cucumber, Bacon, Buckwheat, Fennel, Apple, Bacon, Mango, Avocado, Bacon, Apricot, Sweet Cherry, Sour cherry, Bacon, Almond, Peach, Bacon, Pear, Raspberry, Blackberry, Bacon, Blueberry.

Notice anything in common across this list?  Exactly.  A LOT of these foods require POLLINATION, especially from Bees!  Not only do bees do the heavy lifting of pollination, they make delicious honey.

My daughter getting ready to harvest honey!

For the past three years my neighbor and I have split the cost and labor of maintaining a bee hive, and have made some delicious honey.  To be honest, we actually only collected the honey, it was produced by our highly skilled agricultural labor force of about 30,000 Honey Bees.

Unfortunately, for the second year running, we’ve lost our bees to one pestilence or another.  We’re working hard to find out if it’s neighborhood insecticide use, or mites, or what.  Very sad.

Needless to say, we’re spending a good deal of time looking into the cause of hive collapse, with the complete loss of bees.

Our bees (‘our’ meaning the world’s bees) are at risk from multiple sources including mites, insecticides, and other threats.  In the First Quarter of 2016, the United States lost over 16 percent of it’s bee colonies — that’s 427,900 colonies in the first three months of 2016.  That’s a staggering number.

The maps below show the distribution of colonies, the areas hit hardest by colony loss, and the stressors that are impacting the colonies.

Number of Colonies, by State.  First Quarter, 2016

Number of Lost Colonies, by State.  First Quarter, 2016

Percent of Colonies Lost, by State.  First Quarter, 2016.
Percent of Colonies Impacted by Varroa Mite Stressors, by State.  First Quarter, 2016

Percent of Colonies Impacted by Insecticide Stressors, by State.  First Quarter, 2016

Percent of Colonies Impacted by Unknown Stressors, by State.  First Quarter, 2016

It’s hard to emphasize the importance of bees and other pollinators to our food supply.  How can I help?

Additional Readings:
USDA: Bee Basics An Introduction to Our Native Bees
National Academy of Sciences — Resources on Pollinators

Mark A. Carrozza,  MA
Director, HealthLandscape
American Academy of Family Physicians

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