Should humans care about dying bees?
"Bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year. About one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination. Commercial production of many specialty crops like almonds and other tree nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables are dependent on pollinated by honey bees. These are the foods that give our diet diversity, flavor, and nutrition."
The SacramentoBee notes the alarm worldwide on the issue of dying bees, and lists four facts:
• In the United States, bee pollination is involved in producing one-third of the food that Americans eat.
• Scientists have been tracking major bee population die-offs in the United States and Western Europe for a decade or longer. Cited as causes are: pesticides, loss of forage areas for bees, viruses, mites and droughts.
No consensus exists among scientists and regulators on exactly why the bee die-off has occurred across the globe. A leading culprit, say environmentalist groups and beekeepers, may be over use of pesticides on crops.
• Eric Mussen, a University of California apiculturist, finds contamination in samples of adult bees, beeswax and stored pollen, with nearly 150 pesticide residues.
"Historically, the money funneled into bee health research has been rather dismal, considering how important the bee's role is to our food production."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes in an August report the rise of fruits and vegetable prices:
"The increase in the food index was caused by a sharp rise in the fruits and vegetables index; other food indexes were mixed."