Keeping honeybees alive may hinge on fungicide restrictions

07/27/2013 7:07 PM

07/27/2013 7:07 PM

Honeybees are teaching people just how delicate nature’s balance truly is.

The insects, which are an absolute must for pollinating crops, are dying in alarming numbers. Scientists now think one cause might be farmers’ use of fungicides to ward off pests and improve crop yields.

A University of Maryland study has found that the bees are more susceptible to a killer parasite when the bees also are exposed to the fungus-eradicating chemicals.

The bees as carriers take the chemical back to the colony, making it a killer dose for the hive, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Scientists are calling for federal restrictions on the use of fungicides similar to those on insecticides when pollinating insects are foraging. The decline in honeybees first surfaced in 2006.

Early reports cited possible causes as parasites, disease, genetics, poor nutrition, pesticide exposure and farming practices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that a third of all food and beverage production is dependent on the pollinating work of honeybees,

Pollination annually contributes about $20 billion to $30 billion to the farm production. Unlike global warming, action to fix this problem needs to be taken immediately to safeguard the world’s food sources.

Videos

Join the discussion

is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service