Monday, May 06, 2013

Feds put some, but not all, the blame on pesticides for bee deaths; many factors cited

While some are calling for a ban on neonicotonoid pesticides, or "neo-nics," which beekeepers and environmentalists blame for a dwindling population of bees, the U.S. Government isn't so quick to point the finger, saying many reasons are probable for a surge in bee deaths. European nations imposed a two-year ban on the pesticides, which are used on 75 percent of American farmland and being largely blamed for beekeepers losing 40 to 50 percent of their bees over the winter. (Photo by Pamela Smith, DTN/The Progressive Farmer)

U.S. officials cited many factors for the decline in bee population in a report May 2, "but they did not describe pesticides as the probable key contributor involved, and they proposed no specific pesticide ban," reports Susan Sward for The Sacramento Bee. Bees pollinate $20 billion to $30 billion worth of U.S. crops, and "since 2006, about 30 percent of U.S. hives have been lost each year." (Read more)

A report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't place all the blame on pesticides, stating that major factors for bee deaths are parasites and disease, and poor nutrition, reports Pam Smith of DTN/The Progressive Farmer. The report also called for more genetic diversity among bees, and greater communication among beekeepers, growers, and stakeholders on "effective practices to protect bees from pesticides." (Read more

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