TEXT OF STORY
Steve Chiotakis: Honeybee keepers in this country are reporting a crisis, and it seems to be getting worse. Some beekeepers are reporting extreme losses this year. And a new study out today suggests pesticides may play a bigger role than previously thought. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sarah Gardner reports.
Sarah Gardner: For several years now, a massive honeybee die-off has puzzled U.S. experts. They still don’t know exactly what’s causing it. Scientists meeting today in San Francisco will hear results of a new Penn State study showing “unprecedented levels” of pesticides in pollen and hives across the U.S.
Bee expert Eric Mussen at the University of California-Davis says certain combinations of pesticides may be helping to kill off bees already weakened by disease.
Eric Mussen: Right now, we’re more or less saying it’s sort of like the movie “The Perfect Storm,” where a number of stresses are all sort of ganging up at once and finally the bees are just giving in.
Honeybees pollinate about a third of all the food we eat. That’s roughly $15 billion worth of U.S. fruits and vegetables. An informal survey by the USDA found one-third of commercial bee brokers had a hard time finding enough beehives to pollinate California’s almond trees, the largest almond crop in the world.
I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.