Nationwide bee numbers continue decline

07/11/2012 10:08:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

honeybeeVicky BoydNot only are managed bee populations declining, but bee numbers in general are on a downhill slide.

Those are the results of a nationwide bee survey conducted by every day citizens, according to a news release.

Gretchen LeBuhn, a San Francisco State University biologist, coordinated the survey.

She plans to take it a step further on Aug. 11 by urging residents throughout the country to count bees in their yards and neighborhoods as part of a great bee count.

LeBuhn launched a program dubbed The Great Sunflower Project in 2008 to collect information about the decline of pollinators and the related ecosystems.

Part of the project involved 100,000 volunteers, who annually tabulated bees in their gardens and yards.

What she found was urban gardens have far fewer bee visits—23.3 bees per hour compared with 30.4 per hour in rural areas.

Her next goal is to compare rural, urban and suburban areas to see their effects on pollinators.

Growers rely on managed bees to pollinate many crops, including almonds and melons. Without bee hives, the crops would produce scant yields.

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SANTA MARIA, CA  |  July, 12, 2012 at 06:52 PM

It appears to me the Europeans are way ahead of the game on the problems impacting the honey bee population. Without bees, the food supply is in grave danger. As an entomologist and worker in the bee lab, I have real concern that the agri-chemical companies are hiding the ball.

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