Food Security At Risk Without Honey Bees?
In California, almond trees are under siege because they lack the workers needed to pollinate the trees. Those workers are honeybees, who are responsible for billions of dollars worth of agricultural productivity each year. Honeybees contribute an estimate 15 billion dollars each year to the U.S. economy.
President Obama has created a special task force from among several agencies to address this alarming decline. The two organizations poised to lead efforts are the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. Their job is to uncover reasons why not only honeybees, but monarch butterflies and other pollinators, are fast disappearing.
The President’s current budget calls for $50 million to go towards these efforts. The reason for the big money is because the food security of the U.S. (and the rest of the world) is highly dependent on pollinators. Technological advances cannot duplicate the work that bees do – and almond tree farmers know this. Honeybees are the only creature, in fact, that pollinates almond trees.
Current research has identified several reasons for bee die-off, including loss of biodiversity and habitat, and beekeeping practices. A type of parasitic mite has also been identified as a threat.