Monday, February 20, 2017

The Dead Honeybee Problem Mapped to All States - Science

There's no surprise of a problem with honeybees dying in America but there hasn't been much identification of where they're dying.  In the current research, the honeybee die-off is mapped by county across America and the results are illuminating.  (Science Daily:  Bee decline threatens US crop production)

A new study of wild bees identifies 139 counties in key agricultural regions of California, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, west Texas and the Mississippi River valley that face a worrisome mismatch between falling wild bee supply and rising crop pollination demand.

Credit: PNAS

- SD

Right away California takes a big win when there are contiguous red counties in the prime growing lands of the state.  It was surprising to see the Midwest is much less-affected than it seems it should be when Nebraska is the Cornhusker state, etc.  The places with a similar level of the problem as in California are in the Dakotas but not so much elsewhere.

It's tough to walk away from the idea pesticides are the source of the problem when the places where pesticides are used the most show the most evidence of the bee die-off.

Pesticides, climate change and diseases threaten wild bees -- but their decline may be caused by the conversion of bee habitat into cropland, the study suggests. In 11 key states where the map shows bees in decline, the amount of land tilled to grow corn spiked by 200 percent in five years -- replacing grasslands and pastures that once supported bee populations.

- SD

Add habitat encroachment to the problem of pesticides and now corporate farming owns a stake as well which makes for an even bigger problem.  Overuse of pesticides may over decades start to ameliorate if that abuse stops but giving any land back is extremely unlikely.  Corporate farmers aren't behaving with any more regard for husbandry of the environment than the slash-and-burn natives who are whacking into the Amazon rain forest.

We have seen the science from various whizkids who present various ludicrous ideas for fertilizing the crops with robo bees and this is an exact example of Cat's problem with scientists who never leave the lab.  We need Carl Sagan to describe just how many billions and billions of honeybees are out there but maybe even that wouldn't penetrate to the labs making the robo bees.  Believe all you like in robo magic but that ain't goin' get it done.  Quite apart from their slowness and their awkwardness, there's just not enough close to enough of them to have any significant effect.

Ed:  we will make robos to make more robo bees!

Shut up.  Go back to your Rubix cube.

Ed:  you make it sound hopeless!

Nothing is hopeless unless you look for a solution from the corporate world.  That mission is to make money rather than to fix problems and they don't deviate from it.

We the People will whack the pesticides just as the same as we did with DDT.  It worked against DDT but extremely slowly and there are still trace effects from it decades later.  As soon as we get the money-for-nothing Republicans out of the way, there can be some progress with that but you can guarantee they will try to block any effort of that nature.  Nevertheless, eventually the pesticides will be banned.

Ed:  or we run out of bees.

See, there's yer threat politics which only annoys people.  We're not going to run out of bees because we will fucking fix the problem.  We need bees a whole lot more than we need selfish corporate clowns.

Rachel Carson may be the single most important name in the campaign against DDT and we miss you, luv.

Note:  Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring."

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