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Honey Bees Are Disappearing

Bee Wary? Honey Bees Disappearing, Food Supply in Danger

Some people get their news from fancy newspapers and high falutin' websites, and some, if you're like me, learn things from the lid of a pint of Haagen-Dazs. Would that I were kidding, this is the truth folks: did you know that honey bees are disappearing like size 8 shoes at a sale? It's true. And without bees to pollinate the plants producing our fruits, vegetables, nuts — you know, the good stuff — we're about to get pretty hungry.

Since 2006, honeybees began to mysteriously disappear from their colonies destroying nearly a third of US hives — and the rate of decline is increasing, reaching 36 percent last Winter. About a third of our food sources require pollination, and plants cannot grow without it. During a hearing by the House subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, one expert asked the very worrying question: “How would our federal government respond if one out of every three cows was dying?” To see what might be behind this bee-witching development,


Because this phenomena is fairly recent, research and the money to do so have yet to blossom; though money is starting to roll in as the repercussions of this decline in pollination are beginning to be fully realized. Although no conclusive data has been ascertained, scientists suspect several culprits, among them:

  • Loss of habitat and a combination of pesticides that disrupt the bees neurology. One study of 108 pollen samples exposed 46 pesticides and as many as 17 in one sample.
  • Single crop cultures create a so-called “floral desert” with little diversity. One of these floral deserts is the 660,000 thousand acres in the San Joaquin Valley that offers cross-pollinators only almond trees as their only diet. It's like gorging yourself on hamburgers for a month and then starving the rest of the year. Not so great for productivity.

Here's where the ice cream comes in: Haagen Dazs is attempting to alert the public to this crisis and is awarding a $250,000 grant to UC Davis and the University of Pennsylvania. They’ve also started a public education campaign and have begun making a limited (hopefully) edition flavor called Vanilla Honey Bee in the hope to distribute 1 million flower seeds to groups and individuals to plant flora that will aid native pollinators.

Now that might have some people buzzing. Where have all the flowers (and bees!) gone? Come back, busy bees!


Join The Conversation
KerryG KerryG 9 years
This is something I've been concerned about for awhile and I actually ended up writing an article about how to plant a bee-friendly garden recently. Fun to research, and I'm putting it in action in my own garden this year!
mikeshoneybees mikeshoneybees 9 years
Support your local Bee keeper go out and make a donation to him or her in the form of buying honey, wax candles, lip balms, soaps, and other products he makes don't always go commercial it's not always real or good for you. Besides hows supporting someone in china raising bees good for you locally? We thank you for your help.... Most local beekeepers sell just enough to pay for their "hobby" it really doesn't make them very much money FYI.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i just saw this on a tv commercial today! I don't even know that the commercial was about. it showed a picture of people protesting and a sign saying "save the bees." it was about conserving something, and had examples of people saving things. Anyway, the word must be getting out.
outofhere outofhere 9 years
I'll admit I hadn't heard of this until recently, when I was enjoying my favourite flavour (strawberry)of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. It's a scary thing and I wish we could pinpoint the problem so we could help with the solution.
PinkTulip PinkTulip 9 years
I live in the san joaquin valley and I can attest to thier being waaaay too many almond orchards, there are some peach-apricot and walnut orchards around but not enough to provide bees with any real variety...almonds almonds everywhere....
stephley stephley 9 years
Ooh, that is gross but it is cool that your uncle could and did do it. I know the bees didn't come out, but the sound of the buzzing and the pics from the story would be enough to weird me out. I'm more scared by my bizarre fears of what the bees might do than what they likely would do. I can let one land on me now without losing it, but even that takes a lot of conscious effort.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
A weird thing --I learned from my great uncle-bees are only attracted to sweet smelling things so if you’re funky or musky they won't really come near you. My uncle use to work in the fields for a day and collect the honey later in the day by taking the musky odor from under his arm and spreading it by rubbing it around his face and arms to collect honey sans a suit. Gross I know but it works.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
WOW...that story freaked me out bella. :scared:
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Stephley, the bees never came out--they did their business behind and inside the wall. The owner actually didn't have them killed but a local bee keeper came in and took them and integrated them with his hives. They never bothered the owners and would have never been noticed except the honey production that was booming and started running down the walls. . BTW - They got in the house via a window crack - sometimes its best to get those cracks in the wood and foundation fixed ASAP. :LOL:
stephley stephley 9 years
Oh geez, wasps are even scarier, that's horrible! I've been stung three times and it doesn't hurt, but I do swell up and itch for a couple of days after.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
that makes me think stephley, i've actually never been stung by a bee, so i have no idea if I'm allergic to them or anything. I've been stung by a whole swarm of wasps, but I don't think that's the same.
stephley stephley 9 years
That sooo freaked me out Bella! I love what bees do and are, but my brother was allergic to them when we were younger, and I developed a real phobia about them. I would have to leave that house forever, and maybe even the neighborhood!
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I miss the summers I use to get fresh honey from the beehives in the back of my gradpas house. The memories. Those poor little guys. We really need to pinpoint this problem. Did anyone see the story of the 60,000 bees living behind the wall of a house for years. The homeowners found out b/c the walls started to bleed honey.
Meike Meike 9 years
Old news.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 9 years
We have lots of bees at our house in Arizona - of course, the Phoenix area does have 4 growing seasons, so we can have flowers year round, but we have hummingbirds, bees, and tons of butterflies all year - you really do just need to provide them with food, shelter, and avoid pesticides like Citizen said. I think one of the biggest thing is avoiding pesticides. So what if you have a few more bugs around? Your whole yard and your soil will be better off for it. I heart bees!
theparks theparks 9 years
i read about this in a two page ad from haagen really does make you realize how important this cause is...we recently planted some bee friendly flowers...maybe we can start randomly plant flower seedlings around our neighbors homes as well ;-)
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
i remember hearing about this awhile ago and i thought they concluded that it was some kind of virus that one bee picks up and ends up giving to the queen bee, i need to try to find that article...
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Here is a short film about it, from the page Citizen referred to.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
This is freaking me out. What can we do? I guess buy organic food, and plant trees? Uh, I don't know but it's awful. It could be climate change but it could also be something else, like pointed out by others here. This is depressing.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I think I'll have two Jill! This stresses me out. :drinks: I think I'm becoming a sugar alchoholic.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
:) KrisSugar-- No, the lid didn't offer many solutions, but the article says that people can provide food, water, shelter, and avoid spraying pesticides for a start, and this organization is doing work on the problem too.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Good idea, Harmony! :drinks:
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Bees and Coral Reefs both a key component in the food chain along with a host of other ways the earth is giving us signs. Signs we need to learn to interpret or possibly face a heavy cost. When I stop and think of this pivotal moment in time how humanity on so many levels is being asked to grow and expand our perception and work together it is extraordinary. It's funny how global crises have a way of making our differences so damned trivial.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
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