In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Don’t Worry. Bee Happy. No pollination crisis, the new spin

Posted by smeddum on May 9, 2009

By Paul Anderson

May 9th 2009

“First of all, most agricultural crop production does not depend on pollinators. On top of that, while honey bees may be dwindling in some parts of the world, the number of domesticated bees world-wide is actually on the rise, their new report shows.

“The honey bee decline observed in the USA and in other European countries including Great Britain, which has been attributed in part to parasitic mites and more recently to colony collapse disorder, could be misguiding us to think that this is a global phenomenon,” said Marcelo Aizen of Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Argentina. “We found here that is not the case.”

says this recent report from Science daily

This plays down their earlier findings.

“Claire Kremen, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, is co-author of this new study.

“There’s a widely stated phrase in agriculture that you can thank a pollinator for one out of three bites of food you eat,” said Kremen, who is also a member of the Committee on Status of Pollinators that produced the NRC report and leader of a group at the National Center for Ecological and Analysis and Synthesis that co-sponsored the work. “However, it wasn’t clear where that calculation came from, so we set out to do a more thorough and reproducible estimate, and we wanted to look at the impact on a global scale.”

What the researchers found fell in line with the dictum to which Kremen referred. Out of the 115 crops studied, 87 depend to some degree upon animal pollination, accounting for one-third of crop production globally. Of those crops, 13 are entirely reliant upon animal pollinators, 30 are greatly dependent and 27 are moderately dependent.

The crops that did not rely upon animal pollination were mainly staple crops such as wheat, corn and rice.”. Science daily


The list of foods bees pollinate is here.

It includes alfalfa  primary used  as feed for dairy cattle—because of its high protein content and highly digestible fiber—and secondarily for beef cattle, horses, sheep, and goats.

Three quarters of food production (76%) is dependent on bees and 84% of vegetables grown in Europe depend on pollination.” 

According to a National Geographic report accepted by the European parliament.

We are told by Science Daily that despite the problems of the US and Europe, the rest of the world is fit for bees. Yet this contradicticts this report  from Argentina, which reports the problem is indeed global.


One wonders if the first piece of misinformation  on the extent we use pollination is as false as the  misinformation on how widespread the problem has become.

We are also in the last day of bee week in New Zealand.

2 Responses to “Don’t Worry. Bee Happy. No pollination crisis, the new spin”

  1. William said

    Very interesting article. I believe the official story here in Canada is the parasite/mite infestation. I have spoken to a couple of bee keepers and they are certainly aware of the electromagnetic radiation problem. Interesting enough, no one has really paid attention to any unintended consequences of insecticides or herbicides; or even fertilizer. I haven’t looked at any of the ingredients, but I’m guessing it’s not doing honey bees any favours.

  2. smeddum said

    Thanks, William. There many threats to bees but Colony Collapse Disorder, is by far the greatest. So far much has been ruled out by official bodies.
    All the things you have mentioned have a past with the bees, that indicates they re not the cause of CCD. As far as they maybe a source of pathogens, they may be a bigger threat to the bees with CCD, it appears that the bees immune system breaks down.
    This is consistent with Goldsworthy’s closing remarks.
    Another feature of CCD is that the vast majority of bees do not return to the hive. It has been shown that many animals contain a magnetic compass called magnetite or cryptochrome. Salmon another disappearing species use it as part of their guidance system. Bees can travel well beyond 10 miles from the hive. No other explanation explains the loss of direction adequately.
    There has not been much study in the relative intensities of electrosmog in our atmosphere. Yet there is enough out there growing daily that it would be surprising that if did not have any affect on the bees. The aforementioned study verifies these affective relationships: so far they have been ignored by State scientists.
    As the years go by, perhaps months, I believe more and more people will point out that the Cell phone companies and perhaps the military have
    used their influence to curb and distort questions and research, into the matter. Whatever the reason there is little positive action to unearth already existing research and these concerns should be investigated thoroughly, by the established authorities.

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