Ever since the global collapse of honeybee colonies began in 2006, environmentalists have speculated that pesticides were to blame. Now there is mounting evidence, and the United States should join with other nations in banning the farm use of chemicals linked to destruction of hives.
The decline of honeybees is no ordinary ecological mystery; it’s a major threat to US agriculture. The bees have an economic value estimated by the federal government at between $15 billion and $20 billion, for pollinating the nation’s vegetables, fruits, nuts, and alfalfa, along with clover for livestock. Bees are involved in about a third of the human diet. Since the collapse began, beekeepers report, the percentage of bees that die off every winter has surged dramatically. While the nation still has 2.7 million colonies, the population has been dwindling every year.