19 Crops That Would Disappear Without Bees
And the gaping hole they would leave on the dinner table
Keywords Bees, Environment, Fruit, Honey, Spring, Pollinators
However compelling any one theory may be, it is more likely though, that CCD is due to a confluence of factors.
Halter estimates that about one-quarter trillion bees have succumbed to CCD since it was first observed in France in 1994. And it is an ongoing problem. Halter says that prior to CCD, beekeepers would normally observe natural attrition rates of 11 to 12 percent. Nowadays, it is common to lose upward of 30 percent of the hive during transport.
Policymakers are beginning to act, however. In Europe, Halter says that neonicotinoids are starting to be banned. And the NRDC successfully sued the EPA in New York State in December 2009 over the questionable approval of a new systemic pesticide. Sales were halted nationwide in January 2010 pending further investigation. Similar actions will help bee populations from declining further.
Here are a few things you can do, however, to combat the problem.
1. Buy Organic. Buying organic fruits and vegetables keeps more pesticides from being introduced into the environment and helps encourage more sustainable farming practices that are beneficial to bees.
2. Buy Local. Shop at farmers markets when seasons allow to support smaller-scale farms that are less likely to engage in monoculture. When the choice is between imported, certified organic produce and local, non-certified produce, choose local first; chances are, smaller-scale farmers are already engaging in practices that comply or exceed the requirements of organic farming, but choose not to get certified due to high costs and other pragmatic barriers.
3. Host a Hive. Urban beekeeping provides a safe refuge for honeybees and in return, they help cross-pollinate the local flora. In 2010, New York City lifted the ban on urban beekeeping, following similar actions by Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago, and since then, it has become quite popular among city residents. Most recently, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel has set up a beekeeping operation on its roof to harvest honey. And they’re not the only ones to jump onto the beekeeping bandwagon; hotels around the world have started providing homes for bees as well.
We're serious folks — the foods that make America great are at stake here. Not just fancy-schmancy chef food, but all-time greats like cranberry sauce, peach cobbler, and apple pie. And the continued decline in bee populations would lead to the continued increase in world food prices.
To see all the recipes that you'd miss, click here to see the 19 Crops That Would Disappear Without Bees Slideshow.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.