As Bees Disappear, So Do Your Favorite Foods

Staff Writer
The declining honeybee population may mean dramatic changes in available produce

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

If you can’t live without your favorite fruits and vegetables, then you should start paying attention to the welfare of honeybees. 

A new campaign from Whole Foods Market has revealed that the waning bee population may have a dramatic effect on the content of your grocery store produce section, particularly with regards to apples, carrots, and lemons. For the campaign, Whole Foods removed 237 items from its shelves to represent the incredible 52 percent of the store’s products that are dependent on pollinators.

The British Beekeepers Association’s annual survey has reported that last winter more than a third of all honeybee colonies died in England, the highest death rate in the survey’s records. Researchers have various theories about the causes of this dramatic spike in colony death rates, spanning from the wet summer of 2012 to the abnormally late spring of 2013 to the industry practice of feeding corn syrup to honeybees.

Those with a stake in the $30 billion crop industry industry are desperately seeking a way to fix the problem, regardless of its origin. While the EU members instated a temporary ban on purportedly harmful pesticides, a U.S. university has proposed a bee sperm bank to rebuild the dwindling bee population.

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If you’d like to do your part to save the honeybees, Whole Foods recommends “simple ways to bee a solution,” such as going organic, planting pollinator-friendly flowers around your neighborhood, and trying out beekeeping.