Kristine Lofgren

USDA Pledges Millions to Help Honeybee Populations Recover

by , 02/26/14
filed under: Animals, Conservation, News, Policy

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is pulling out the big guns to save struggling honeybee populations, pledging millions of dollars to help ranchers and farmers nurture bee colonies for food production. In the past, beekeepers have transported bees to the Upper Midwest during the summer to gather nectar and pollen, and then moved them in the spring to California in order to pollinate crops. But colony collapse, loss of habitat and pesticides have decimated bee populations, causing losses as high as 30 percent each year.

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According to Jason Weller, chief of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the program aims to curtail losses and hopefully rebuild bee populations by providing safe habitats to store up strength and food during the winter.The program will be focused in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota, where 65 percent of the country’s commercial hives reside for part of the year.

Related: Bazz the Beekeeper Sniffs out Bee Disease in an Adorable Custom Suit

Those states will be offered funds from the program to reseed pastures with cover crops like alfalfa, clover and other plants, which both bees and livestock thrive on. The program also provides for building and moving fences and installing water tanks with the goal of enabling ranchers and farmers the ability to move animals without destroying or damaging vegetation. Healthier crops make healthier bees.

Tim Tucker, president of the American Beekeeping Federation, says that even though the program isn’t a cure-all, he hopes farmers and ranchers will sign up to help provide a measure of support for honeybees and native bee populations.

Via Huffington Post

Images from Lars Ploughmann and Cygnus921

Related: High Fructose Corn Syrup May be Tied to Bee Colony Collapse

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4 Comments

  1. jrspinoza April 9, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    How can the USDA approve neonicotinoid laden pesticides on one hand, and on the other say they are going to help the farmers with bee colony collapse? Counter-productivity comes to mind. Constant vigilance of the actions of the usda is essential.

  2. msyin March 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    So, are the farmers and govt commited to end the use of the pesticides that are harming the bees as well as overseeding with food they can eat?

  3. Jenni Hoddinott March 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    now it only they would go after the pesticide manufacturers…..

  4. Tamara Bennett February 28, 2014 at 11:41 am

    How about fixing the biggest problem and outlawing the pesticides that are killing. Even lost bees here in our small town due to neighbors spraying their weeds with roundup. Take 30 minutes and use a hula hoe to weed. maybe the exercise could help the obesity problem we have too.

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