3 July 1998

Crisis In Bee Population Threatens US Crops

According to recent research by Dewey Caron of the University of Delaware, deadly tracheal and varroa mites are decimating the wild Golden Honeybee population which pollinate up to 90 percent of US crops (including apples, blueberries, watermelons, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, peas and lima beans) worth in excess of US$10 billion.

The extent of the decimation is so significant that in the wild only 10 percent of bee colonies now survive. Using a grant from the Fund for Rural America, Caron and other researchers are working towards developing strategies to combat the mites.

Currently the only way apiarists can attack the mites is by using chemicals like miticide, Apistan and formic acid. However, scientists are concerned that the mites are becoming resistant, prompting farmers to use higher doses which can also affect the bees.