Rumbles in Beekeeping Industry Could Harm Agriculture Jobs

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Caledonia Spirits Owner Todd Hardie (photo courtesy Hardie)

By Michael Bielawski

As the bee industry struggles with dying bees, possibly due to
pesticides, GMO plants, and reduced forage, the rest of the food
industry should take notice. According to North American Pollinator
organization, at least $20 billion of agricultural crops are directly
dependent on bee pollination. This could potentially effect the 104,000
jobs just from California’s $11 billion almond industry.

Tim Tucker, Vice President of the American Beekeeping
Association stated, “the almond industry is completely reliant on bees
to pollinate the crop as well as most of the seed producing companies
that produce seed that needs pollination by bees.” He added, “about a
third of what we eat is reliant upon bees and pollinators of all types
to produce fruit and vegetables for human consumption so they are very
important.”

He also talked about the initial beekeeping industry. “While the
ranks of small scale or part time beekeepers are expanding in numbers,
the commercial numbers of beekeeping people is contracting,” he
said. “There are no actual numbers on how many commercial beekeepers
there actually are but the estimates are that there are 1,500 or so that
each runs more than 500 hives.”

According to Tucker, it is very difficult for people to grow to these levels because the bees are dying.

“We are losing between 40 and 50 percent of our colonies each year
and the cause as yet remains a mystery but we suspect that pesticides
play a large role along with poor foraging opportunities due to the lack
of weeds that used to grow in agricultural fields that are now deserts
for bees because of GMO practices.”

Read more here…

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