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What’s Happening to the Honey Bees?

February 25, 2013

In the last several years, there have been various news reports and articles about the rapid loss of honey bee colonies in Europe.  Honey bees are important because they pollinate crops which produce fruits and vegetables for us to eat.  In fact, honey bees pollinate 90 percent of the food that we eat which is valued at $204 billion globally to farmers. The article To Revive Honey Bees, Europe Proposes a Pesticide Ban on the Business Week website explains why food scientists have begun researching the cause of the honey bee loss.  Many scientists lay the blame on the use of pesticides by farmers.  The loss of the honey bees is known as Colony Collapse Disorder, and it has been observed in bee populations at intervals over at least 100 years.  It is no wonder food scientists are alarmed about the staggering loss.

Italian Biologist Marco Lodesani, Director of a honeybee and silkworm research institute in Bologna, has completed countless experiments on the carcasses of dead honey bees.  His team concluded that the bees are dying because of harmful pesticides, commonly known as neonicotidnoids, which are found mainly on maize seeds and are used to prevent sap-sucking pests from destroying the crops.  The group has persuaded Italy and France to ban certain kinds of pesticides and persuaded Slovenia and Germany to do the same in the past.  The honey bee loss has declined since the ban has been implemented.  The European Commission has also proposed a two-year ban on the pesticides that the European Food Safety Authority has declared as unsafe for honey bees.

Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, the makers of neonicotidnoids, think that the study is flawed and are concerned about farmers and the agriculture business. They believe that the agriculture business may lose billions of dollars because of the loss of crops and that 50,000 jobs will be in jeopardy.  The powerful farmers’ unions in Europe oppose the ban as well.

What is the best way to preserve the honey bee population while still enjoying delicious honey products? At Wholesome Sweeteners we believe in protecting both the bees and the environment. Our Fairtrade Organic Amber and Raw Honey are produced on traditional family farms in Mexico and the Northeastern Amazon.  The bee hives are cultivated in organic agriculture zones in Central and South American rainforests.  The plants around the hives are not sprayed with harmful pesticides which in turn protects the environment and the honey bees.

 

 

 

 

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