Thursday, June 11, 2015

Honey Bees "Colony Collapse" Epidemic

Honey Bee numbers have been plummeting worldwide over the last several years.  This is especially alarming since honey bees provide a valuable service by pollinating agricultural crops.  There are multitude possible reasons for the decline; mite infestations, pesticides and pathogens, just to name a few.  However, one possible reason is the pathogen Nosema ceranae. 

This pathogen is bad primarily because it degenerates the digestive tissue in bees.  This causes malnutrition and reduces the lifespan of the bees.  Until recently, most thought this pathogen only infected adult bees.  However, new studies have shown that bee larvae can also be infected, further shortening the life of the bee once if it reaches adulthood.  This is not good for humans, since 35% of the world’s food crops are affected by bee, bird and bat pollination.  It is also not good for the State of Florida because Nosema ceranae is highly prevalent and somewhat resistant to treatment in warmer climates.  This means that bees in Florida are more susceptible to the pathogen than in more temperate climates.

Nosema ceranae can be controlled with Fumigillin.  With a warm climate and a large agricultural industry that somewhat relies on bees to pollinate crops, the State of Florida should make sure that this pathogen doesn’t further devastate the bee population.  Honey bee populations should be treated during the cold winter months and can be treated from September through February.  These steps can be taken to ensure that Florida’s honey bees and Florida’s agricultural industry survive and prosper well into the future.

But is Fumigillin safe to use?  Please tell us YOUR thoughts!

-Sean Combs, Legal Intern

No comments:

Post a Comment