1 in 3 bites of food we eat is dependent on pollination by the honey bee
Honey bees pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops which constitute 1/3 of everything we eat. An estimated $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the U.S are pollinated each year by honeybees. If honeybees die off so might many of our insect pollinated plants. Commercial bee keepers report 29%-36% annual losses of bees since 2006, more than double what is considered normal.
Commercial/migratory bee keepers, also on the decline, have been key service providers to the agricultural industry. Without the yield increases made possible by commercial pollination services, food prices would rise, our farm sector rapidly become less competitive globally, and the security and variety of our food supply would diminish. With the wild insect pollinator populations already in serious decline, commercial/migratory beekeeping is more than ever a vital piece of our agricultural economy. This industry faces collapse for reasons having little to do with the great recession – their bees are dying.
There are hundreds of species of pollinating bees in the mid-Atlantic region. Fox Haven is focusing its attention on growing more habitat, not only for bees but for pollinators in general; thus far we’ve planted 3 acres on the Chestnut Farm. In summer 2014 Hood College student placed “bee condos” there as well. Throughout the Fox Haven properties there are species of bees living healthily without threat of habitat loss or insecticide use. In the past we have experienced pesticide drift off other farms that we believe contributed to colony loss a few years ago.
Please read and share what we have learned about pollinators and neonicitinoids.We believe that more knowledgeable people paying attention to the problem and working to build bee populations and create pollinator habitat will help. Fox Haven can provide guidance, just ask us how.
Here are some places to learn more: