The American Farm Bureau (AFB) has declared that honey bee populations are declining, which is causing concern in the agricultural community, via a report released on Wednesday.
In the report they state that honey bees are a pollinator of 90 percent of crops that are produced in the U.S. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been reported among commercial beekeepers since 2006. While the exact cause is unknown at this time, it has led to some keepers seeing hive losses between 30 and 90 percent.
The main symptom of CCD is that adult drone bees are missing from hives, while the queen is present with immature bees. Some point to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides; however, in 2013 the EU suspended their use of these chemicals and reported little growth among honey bee populations. Without the use of pesticides, many farmers in the U.K. and Germany reported significant crop losses.
Other causes that play a part in the decline of bee populations include urbanization, which eliminates flowering plants that provide pollen and nectar, pests, viruses and other infectious agents.
A report from the National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health stated that Australian bees have not seen the losses that are present in the U.S. and Europe. They point out that the Varroa mite is not endemic to Australia as it is in the U.S. and Europe. This mite is considered to be a threat.
The AFB reports that conservation and pollinator habitat preservation have improved bee populations.