Linking to a report over at ConservAmerica regarding the recent collapse of bee colonies here in the U.S. The cause is still not clear but, since 2006, over 25 percent of domestic colonies have died off from what is being referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder. If this trend continues, it could be devastating to agriculture that depends upon commercial bee hives for crop pollination. New research suggests that feeding bees high fructose syrup, as a substitute for honey, could potentially leave them vulnerable to disease due to a weakened immune system. Another possible explanation is poisoning from pesticides. Given the direct link to food production and prices, this is an issue that warrants more serious attention.
[Update: Have done some more digging on this issue. There is increasing evidence that one of the most widely used insecticides, neonicotinoids, also used in seed-treatments, could be causing the die-off. There is also increasing concern, based on a thorough review by Dr. Pierre Mineau, a distinguished Canadian scientist, on behalf of the American Bird Conservancy, that neonicotionids, while less acutely toxic than prior insecticides such as organophosphates and carbamates, are far more toxic to birds than previously believed. Concerned scientists are now calling upon EPA to conduct additional reviews of neonicotinoids’ impact on birds, aquatic invertebrates and other wildlife and suspend all applications pending further review.]