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.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.