USDA Provides $4 Million For Honey Bees
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recenty announced it was providing $4 million in financial and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to improve honey bees food sources on private land. Read how Wisconsin cattle rancher is helping honey bees under this program.
Importance of Honey Bees
According to the USDA, honey bee pollination accounts for more than $15 billion annually in increased crop value. More than 130 fruits and vegetables rely on honey bees for pollination. Certain crops, like almonds, rely entirely on honey bees.
Here is a quick primer on how honey bee pollination works.
Honey Bees Health and Loss
In May, the Bee Informed Partnership, Apiary Inspectors of America, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),
released a preliminary report that annual average bee lose was 42.1 percent. This report covered the period between April 2014 and April 2015. The report was based on a survey of more than 6,100 beekeepers across the country. The most disturbing finding was that summer losses exceeded winter losses for the first time.
The good news is that total number of bee colonies remains fairly constant.
Honey bees health is affected by pathogens, parasites, pests, nuitrition and pesticides. Colony Collapse Disorder has been of great importance and concern since at least 2006.
How Can I Help
The USDA recommends:
- no indiscriminate pesticide use
- plant pollinator-friendly plants
Pollinator-friendly plants are those that are good sources of nectar and pollen. Plants like red clover, foxglove, bee balm, joe-pye weed, and regional native flowering plants. Here is a plant polinator guide to help you.
The Bee Informed partnership has programs to help collect information and also accepts donations.
Farmers, ranchers and farmland owners can find more information about the USDA assistance program by starting with a a local service center.
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