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Colonies in Crisis

Sweet, diligent honeybees—what would we do without you? Up with the sun, you flit from bloom to bloom, legs packed with pollen, helping flora to flourish. Bred from European stock brought over in the 1600s, your big social colonies are ideal for commercial pollination. You endure being trucked down highways to work giant farms. Dancing out directions for hive mates, you service row upon row of almond, peach, pumpkin —nearly one hundred crops in all. And you provide honey to boot. But since 2006, hundreds of thousands of U.S. honeybee colonies have died out in what is being called colony collapse disorder. Whether caused by a new insecticide, disease, or a mix of stressors, the losses have spurred a flurry of research and a query: Could native bees step in? Of the thousands of U.S. species, some adeptly tend crops like apples and alfalfa. A few, like the orchard mason bee, are already in commercial use. But some once common bees are in decline; data on others are spotty. Advocates are fighting to preserve wild and weedy lands that support these natives. Still, honeybees will remain workhorses for much of the world. "It's a numbers thing," says Jim Cane of Utah's Logan Bee lab. "You get tens of thousands of honeybees to work for such reasonable prices, it's hard to beat." —Jennifers. Holland

THE BUZZ ON HONEYBEES • Bees per hive: up to 60,000 • Bee hours for 1 Ib. clover honey: 7,000+ • U.S. honey yield, 2006:155 million Ibs. • U.S. diet tied to honeybee services: 33% • U.S. beekeepers reporting colony collapse disorder: nearly 25% • Value of pollination: $14.6 billion a year.

Reference: National Geographic October 2007 page 31


Albert Einstein said, "If the Honeybee becomes extinct we humans will have about 4 years to find a substitute before the same happens to us!"

Is evolution dying?


Dreamworks approached HONEXpr for their Bee Movie

HONEX was featured in the local newspaper on Tuesday, 11 December, 2008

Radio and TV coverage was on Wednesday, 12 December, 2007 BBC and ITV Midlands news


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