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To Revive Honey Bees, Europe Proposes a Pesticide Ban

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Posted in Science on 19th Feb, 2013 11:32 PM by AlexMuller

The honey bees are still dropping dead. Nearly seven years after a sudden and unexplained drop in the bee populations of North America and Europe first made international headlines, these vital pollinators are still at risk. In the U.S., beekeepers reported the loss of one-third of their colonies each year from 2006 to 2011. Much of Europe has witnessed similar declines—not good for a species that pollinates 90 percent of the food we eat, at a value of €153 billion ($204 billion) globally to farmers.

 

For food science researchers, finding the culprit for bee colony collapse disorder has become the equivalent of discovering a cure for cancer. The plausible suspects are varied. Some scientists have fingered globalization; others pointed to climate change. Nasty new viruses, parasites, and pollution have also been blamed. The use of certain pesticides by farmers, the agricultural industry, and gardeners has also long been suspected of possibly killing bees, or at the very least fouling up their foraging instincts, confusing them to a point at which they cannot be relied upon to pollinate acres of almond groves or cherry orchards.

 



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