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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Popular Progressive: Where Have All the Bees Gone - Iowa Angle

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive
... * Billions of bees have mysteriously vanished since late last year in the U.S. * Disappearing bees have also been reported in Europe and Brazil * One-third of the U.S. diet depends on pollination, mostly by honeybees ... According to the Iowa Honey Producers Association, "honey bees are an important part of Iowa's agri-ecosystem. Currently, about 1500 beekeepers in Iowa keep 30,000 colonies of honey bees. Less than 100 of these beekeepers operate bees on a commercial basis with the remainder being sideline or hobbyist beekeepers. These honey bees have produced an average of 3.1 million pounds of honey annually, valued at $3.5 million for the last five years. However, beekeeping is valued much more for the pollination of important plants in Iowa than for the honey that is produced. (see table below) Field and horticultural crops, home gardens and plants eaten by wildlife are dependent on bee pollination for the production of their fruits, nuts and seeds."

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