Studies show that honeybee population has been reduced to 40% of its original size. Experts attribute the cause to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the occurrence in which a colony of bees are found dead. It has been declining for decades. In 1947, the population was 6 million. In 2014, it was reduced to 2.5 million.
CCD is when the colony either has no adult bees or has dead bee bodies and a live queen. CCD is divided into four known categories such as pathogens, parasites, management stressors, and environmental stressors. Common pathogens are fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Parasites like mites attack bees. Management stressors include poor nutrition, overcrowding, and problems created during transportation of bees. Environmental stressors are lack of pollen or nectar, access to contaminated water, pesticides, and low nutrition.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided $8 million to help boost honeybee population in June 2014. The initiative was a part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in five US states. Over 50% of commercial honeybees reside in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin during the summer. The $8 million grant went towards farmers and ranchers to create new habitats for the honeybees.
“American agricultural production relies on having a healthy honey bee population. In recent years, factors such as diseases, parasites, pesticides or habitat loss have contributed to a significant decline in the honey bee population,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release. “This $8 million is part of the Administration's ongoing strategy to reverse these trends and establish more plant habitat on Conservation Reserve Program lands to restore the bee population."
A decline in honeybee population negatively affects humans in dietary needs, food available at the grocery store, and health. Bees are responsible for pollinating plants that produce tree nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables.