Not only are honeybees disappearing, but bumblebees are going the way of the dinosaurs too. Bumblebees pollinate roughly 15% of crops, which are worth about $3 billion dollars. While there isn’t a definitive cause yet, the National Academy of Sciences has reported that a combination of habitat loss due to housing developments, intensive agriculture, pesticides, pollution and disease are contributing to a worldwide decrease in pollinators. I wonder how long before global warming is added to that list?
A couple of quotes caught my attention from the article in Discovery News:
“We have been naive,” said Neal Williams, assistant professor of biology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. “We haven’t been diligent the way we need to be.”
“We are smart enough to deal with this,” said Laurie Adams, executive director of the Pollinator Partnership. “There is hope.”
Well, I hope Laurie Adams is right, but I don’t have much faith in the intelligence of mankind. Pollinating insects are one of those things that most people don’t even realize we depend on. Probably given the choice, many people would rather do without bees altogether, except for the honey they make. I know I’ve said something to the effect of “I wish all bees would die” after getting stung. I hate it when trite sayings like “be careful what you wish for” come true. Why didn’t my wishes for no mosquitoes come true instead? I suspect they will only continue to flourish.