Bee Health - Background and Issues for Congress
Below is a Congressional Research Service Report on Bee Health
Extracts from the summary of the report follow:
Bees, both commercially managed honey bees and wild bees, play an important role in global food production. In the United States alone, the value of insect pollination to U.S. agricultural production is estimated at $16 billion annually, of which about three-fourths is attributable to honey bees.
Worldwide, the contribution of bees and other insects to global crop production for human food is valued at about $190 billion.
Given the importance of honey bees and other bee species to food production, many have expressed concern about whether a “pollinator crisis” has been occurring in recent decades.
The report indicates that In the United States, USDA estimates of overwinter colony losses from all causes have averaged more than 30% annually since 2006.
To date, the precise reasons for bee colony losses are not yet known. Reasons cited for bee declines include a wide range of possible factors thought to be affecting pollinator species.
These include bee pests and disease, diet and nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and other environmental stressors, agricultural pesticides, and beekeeping management issues, as well as the possibility that bees are being affected by cumulative, multiple exposures and/or the interactive effects of several of these factors.
Following heightened concern over honey bee colony losses in 2006-2007, Congress provided for increased funding for bee research, among other types of farm program support to protect pollinators, as part of the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246).
The 2014 farm bill (P.L. 113-79) reauthorized and expanded many of these provisions, addressing managed honey bees and native
pollinators as part of the law’s research, conservation, specialty crop, and miscellaneous title provisions.
In addition, outside the farm bill debate, H.R. 2692 would suspend registrations of neonicotinoids and ban new registrations of any pesticide for use unless EPA determines the insecticide would not cause unreasonable adverse effects on pollinators, including honey bees and native bees, as well as other pollinators.
It would be good for the environment to actively encourage legislators to support this Bill.
The full CRS report on Bee Health is at this link:http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43191.pdf