Friday, October 8, 2010

Science News: Cause of Colony Collapse Found

This is a science story that not many people are really aware of... or how much it impacts (or will impact) their lives: Bee colonies on this planet have been mysteriously dying off at an incredible rate.

Why is this important? Quite simply: Imagine a world without most of its fruit or vegetables.

Bees are the primary pollinators of fruits and vegetables on this planet, and they are dying at a rate that is, to put it simply, very scary. In just four years, 20% to 40% of the bees in America have died. In a span measured in years... not decades... things such as onions, broccoli, lemons, strawberries, and even cotton could be gone...

...or at least massively reduced: I saw a documentary on colony collapse, and the film crew went to China and showed how the plum capital of China has been nearly wiped out. The only thing that has saved their industry is that fruit farmers walk around the trees with long sticks with feathers on the ends, and tap all the plum blossoms, spreading the pollen around.

But obviously that's not going to work on a global scale.

Anyway, it turns out that what is killing the bees is a combination of a fungus and a virus working together. But, that's only step one. Yet to be found is a way to stop the deaths and that is still very much an unsolved mystery.

This really is one of the most serious and immediate threats facing the planet today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Pattaya Daily News had an article on the demise of the honey bees, and seemed to indicate the cause was related to cell phone related microwave radiation. Apparently even Thailand is extremely concerned about the bee situation