Honey bee decline spreading globally
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Scientists working for the United Nations (UNEP) reported Thursday that the collapse of colonies is becoming a world wide phenomenon and will continue unless humans work to restore habitats for bees. The insects are necessary for crops and the report calls for profound changes in how humans .
The decline in managed bee colonies, first noticed in Europe and the U.S., is now seen in China and Japan, and there are signs of in Egypt. According to the , honey-producing colonies in the U.S. have declined from 5.5 million colonies in 1950 to 2.5 million in 2007. A co-author of the report, Peter Neumann, said changes in rural areas during the past 50 years have contributed to decline of wild bees and other . Additional factors include the declines in flowering plants, the use of harmful chemicals and insecticides, the increase in air pollution and a worldwide trade system that spreads bee and pests.
The world's growingmeans more bees are needed to pollinate the crops to feed more people. According to the U.N. report, of the 100 crop species that supply 90 percent of the world's food, bees pollinate more than 70 percent. Noting that humans seem to believe that they can operate independent of nature through technological innovations, Achim Steiner, the executive director of the UNEP said, "Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less dependent on in a world of close to 7 billion people."
The report calls for such measures as incentives for farmers and land owners to encourage them to restore habitats that are friendly to pollinators.
- Michael McCarthy. "Honey bee decline now global phenomenon" — , March 10, 2011
- The Associated Press. "World’s bee hives to decline without human changes" — , March 10, 2011