Bee Disappearance Burdens Farmers

With honeybee populations across the country dwindling, farmers dependent on the tiny pollinators are finding themselves in an increasingly difficult situation.
Despite their small stature, bees are a vitally important part of agricultural production. Countless crops grown across the United States are primarily pollinated by bees. Fruit and nut farmers are particularly dependent on bee populations. In total, it has been estimated that about one-third of human nutrition is largely due to bee pollination. In the United States alone, the Western honeybee is responsible for about $14.6 billion in food crop value.
With honeybee colonies across the country mysteriously disappearing, many farmers are finding themselves scrambling to replace these missing pollinators. Many have been forced to turn to bee brokers, who transport beehives to farms, migrating across agricultural areas and renting out bee colonies.
With bee populations declining, many farmers are finding these bee broker contracts harder and costlier to secure, adding a major financial burden in an already tight year.
While many scientists do not have a definitive explanation for the declining bee population, much of the current research points to overuse of agricultural pesticides.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer