Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ready for a Diet of Bread and Water? More on Bee Disappearance

You know the disappearance of honeybees is serious when the usually “let’s not panic” U.S. Department of Agriculture voices alarm. In the article published today, the head of the USDA’s bee and pollination program calls Colony Collapse Disorder “the biggest general threat to our food supply.” The impacts are pretty scary:

Bees pollinate over 90 of the tastiest flowering crops the U.S. has.
About 1/3 of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants.
The honeybee contributes about 80% of that pollination.
Even cattle, which feed on alfalfa, depend on bees.

The upshot is that if the bee disappearance becomes unstoppable, the domestic diet could be reduced literally to grains and water.

Since no one knows the cause(s) of the disappearance, there is little specific anyone can do right now to stop contributing to it. The USDA does not mention the concern that cell phone signals might be contributing. The suspects the USDA is investigating, with help from experts from Brazil and Europe, include pesticide, parasites or disease.

The article mentions that the list of suspects exceeds the time, people and funds the USDA has. Lobbying the Bush administration to give the crisis much more urgent priority is one constructive thing concerned citizens can do. The article is at

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