Honey bees pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US. For that we should have a lot of gratitude for apis mellifera.
However, as some of you know, they have been dying in droves.
In a recent posting from the Quartz blog (recommended), they say “Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) … has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witchâ€™s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying…
“When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight (agricultural) chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.”
We’re not an agricultural blog, nor a chemical blog, nor a (purely) business blog. But we do want to help people connect the dots between sustainability issues (such as biological diversity and species loss) to the day-to-day operations of business (such as farming), and the projects (such as research projects to investigate this, or the launch of a new pesticide).
We think that unfortunate statistics like this should (excuse the pun) sting a little bit, and serve as an aid to understanding these connections. Think of it as “b-school’.