Yes, bees. We’ve been inundated with stories about the survival issues plaguing the busy little buggers for some time, and this past year was no different. During the 2012/13 winter, beekeepers reported losses of more than 30% across the nation’s colonies, according to an Apiary Inspectors of America study.
A phenomenon called “Colony Collapse Disorder” — in which entire colonies died off at once — had for years been primarily blamed for the majority of bee deaths, but this year, numbers were instead reported as just “dwindling.” And a new study by the University of Maryland and the USDA points to a “witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives.”
While entomophobes and many people with allergies might cheer this news on, it has major agricultural implications, as illustrated by the near-crisis reached by California almond growers. According to a Yale study, “one of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators … for a successful harvest,” and that heavily includes bees.