World News and Trends: America and Europe hit by loss of bees

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America and Europe hit by loss of bees

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"Hundreds of millions of honeybees have vanished in 22 US states, leaving keepers financially crippled and jeopardising £8 billion [or $16 billion] of crops that needed insects for pollination" (The Times, Feb. 19, 2007). This disappearance is attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which causes swarms of bees to abandon their hives and die.

A later update appearing in the Feb. 27, 2007, International Herald Tribune expanded the figure to 24 American states—nearly half the country. And America is not alone. "Bee-keepers in Poland, Greece, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal have also reported heavy losses" (The Daily Telegraph, March 31, 2007). And the list keeps growing.

This is sobering news affecting agricultural production. According to Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation, "Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honey bee to pollinate that food." Bees do far more for us human beings than just produce honey. (Sources: The Times, The Daily Telegraph [both London], International Herald Tribune.)